Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Love/Hate You. . .

Johnny Ramone.

I mean, your guitar philosophy helped revive rock 'n' roll when 1/2 the audience consisted of fucking dogs in bandanas and the songs were interminable expositions of muscle memory and scale patterns.

But you were the prime Reaganite of your gang, and a racist.

That's right. A racist.

Now, I admit I never read anything derogatory you said about non-whites. Except that it was your motivation to remove all blues elements and do pure, white rock 'n' roll music, as if such a thing ever existed. I kind of love and hate the idea.

Taking out the blues meant eliminating the guitar solo - a good and a bad thing, depending on your point of view.

But it also neglected the primary element of the music, the root of the whole thing: that fusion of the races that happened in the fifties, that youthful, devil-may-care attitude that brought black kids and white kids onto the dance floor, that put beautiful black artists - and the many white artists that rode their coattails, imitating their sounds - at the top of the charts.

I love you, Johnny. And I hate you. I hope you're in rock 'n' roll purgatory. Not hell. Because I know you can be forgiven. But damn, son, you need to burn away Reaganomics if nothing else before you meet St. Peter.