Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The End of the Ramones Clones

What's your Ramones cut-off?

Some say it's all been downhill since Rocket to Russia.

Many more would say Road to Ruin killed them.

A die-hard minority (including Rhino Records) would say that the Ramones stayed strong till Too Tough to Die.

Finally, there are those ever-diminishing pockets of resisters who hold onto one of the later albums as the final Ramones triumph.

Animal Boy (hence the 12" pictured above) is my cut-off and while proponents of Halfway to Sanity and Brain Drain might have a point, fans of Mondo-Acid-Amigos just have a tough slog.

The full-album tributes to the Ramones also peter out at Too Tough to Die, which has been done twice! Neither version adds up to much. The unfortunately-named Jon Cougar Concentration Camp (who came to Joe King's aid in keeping the Queers afloat) make the whole album sound like "Endless Vacation". Canada's mighty Mcrackins bring none of their pop-smarts to bear and instead make the whole album sound like "No Go". (For some thin but rollicking Mcrackin-ness go HERE for their"Mickey and Mallory" e.p.)

Download Mcrackins

Download Jon Cougar Concentration Camp

Oh yeah, and as far as postscripts go you can't forget this gnarly-sounding live bootleg of Ramones covers by Operation Ivy. Berkley, California's Op Ivy only produced a single, an album and a few scattered comp tracks in their life (it all fits on one CD) but what a legacy. Critically written-off but still an inspiration to a million kids with guitars - including a few great bands and, one must confess, a few thousand derivative ones. Album recently re-issued by Hellcat. For more info on lead singer Jesse Micheal's two excellent post Op Ivy bands Big Rig and Common Rider go HERE (and scroll down a wee bit)


Did I mention Sonic Youth earlier? Did I discuss their Ramones covers bootleg (that sneaks in "Nic Fit" for reasons unknown)? Well, If I neglected that document, let us rectify our mistake here and now. Here is New York's noisiest take on a bunch of early Ramones classics.


Please look up and to your right at the survey with
the tiny title font
("Last Great Ramones Album?")
and make your choice.

If you're an American, you'll already
be in a democratic mood and
the rest of us will be able to ease our
voter envy with the click of a mouse.


  1. I really liked "Too Tough To Die", so that's how I voted.

    Hey, send me your e-mail address somehow (leave it in a comment or something), and I'll rip that other Chopper song for you.


  2. I voted for Animal Boy, which I admit is based a bit more on the prejudices of my age than on merit. I was surprised to see Pleasant Dreams do so well - I like that album but it still seems like a bit of a valley in their terrain.

    P.S. I left the e-mail in your Chopper post.

  3. As per our discussion, I too voted for "Animal Boy". I guess SOMEBODY put SOMETHING...in my drink.

    You know, this'll most certainly ruin my cred (BAW-HAHAHAHAHA!) but I don't think I've ever listened to "Brain Drain" in it's entirety. Or anything after "Brain Drain" for that matter...

  4. CPB

    Brain Drain is my second choice for the cut-off (no Dee Dee) and is actually apretty good record, if a little uninspired.


    sharp) point taken

  5. TTTD was the last good album so I voted for that, but R2R was probably the last great one (IMHO, YMMV, etc.)

  6. Aw Tipper C'mon - the quality of their albums might have dropped a bit over time, but all are listenable.

    I'd agree that the last great (as opposed to good) one was Animal Boy, which has some killer tunes on it, especially "Somebody..." Musically, I would argue that that version of the band was the sharpest.

    I was lucky enough to see and hear all four versions of the Ramones live, and the best and most energetic shows were with Ritchie on drums. Live recordings of this version of the band seem to be pretty scarce, unfortunately.

  7. john

    I can accept, grudgingly, that R2R does represent the end of something. But those who cut the Ramones off there miss so much.


    Yeah you're 'good as opposed to great' qualification is not unfair, though I cannot in good conscience say that "Acid Eaters" was a good record - but I have been known to recant...

    (Yeah, I have soft spot for Ritchie - he even wrote good songs!)

  8. iunex

    You're welcome and while we're being gracious mucho thanks to you for your work on skafunkrastapunk - a bountiful resource if I may such a phrase.

  9. Any chanceit be possible to re-up these?
    I would appreciate it very much.


  10. I love the Ramones, and there are great songs to be found on all their records. But if you're talking album-wise, I feel that TTTD was the end. Pleasant Dreams is underrated, IMO. Subterranean Jungle has 'Psycho Therapy' which is a killer song, so that's alright in my book. But, as I said, although their latter albums have a handful of great tunes each, TTTD was their last monumental record. Just my opinion. Sorry guys. =(


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