Everett True

the intro to my Ramones book

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Ramones book jacket

I’ve been struggling to write this introduction to a new Ramones graphic novel all day, and I still haven’t nailed it. In the meantime, I re-discovered this, from the opening pages of my Ramones biography (pictured above).

The time you discover there’s life outside school, outside your family, outside your immediate environs, that’s the real important time in your life. It’s when our tastes, your sense of being, your ideas and morals and sexual preferences coalesce and become real: adolescence shapes your future life . Yet it’s also a period that is rarefied to the extreme – and that’s why rock n roll bands always refer back to it, however old they become. Rock bands utilise the teen ideal in their lyrical imagery: see a girl, walk in the park and hang out – Carbona or soda pop, is your drug of choice. Ramone songs, too, hark back to that time.

“Wait,” says Joey Ramone confused. “Can you repeat that again? When you’re young and you’re in a structured situation and want to break away … which song in particular are you talking about?”

Your band’s oeuvre is shot through with classic teen angst in the style of te doomed Sixties girl groups – ‘My-My Kind of A Girl’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’, ‘All Screwed Up’…

“That last one is basically about … it’s about life.” Joey laughs. “It’s about fucking up. It’s fucking also about how you’ve got to live it the way you learn it, even though you might not even really learn it.” the singer pauses, considers the question. “It’s the story of my life. You never really know and you might never ever really learn. Relationships are the hardest to figure out. I don’t believe in giving up.”

“When you’re about 15, 16 that’s when you start to learn how to live and stay alive,” he continues. “You learn the ways of the street or else you get fucked. What they teach you in school doesn’t prepare you foe life. Textbooks don’t compare to living in the real world. Rock n Roll teaches you how to live. When it’s your money, and it affects you directly, that’s when you wake up. If you don’t know how to count and spell or read and write, you’ll get fucked with.”

*The photograph on that book jacket is a composite, by the way.

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