10 Bands That Owe the Ramones a Round
How, you might ask, can we limit this list to 10 bands? Pretty much every rock ‘n’ roll group formed since 1976 — or at least every one worth listening to — has been influenced by the Ramones, and in that sense, 10 is a pretty small sample size. But what this list lacks in scope it hopefully makes up for with a few left-field choices. We could have gone with all pop-punk bands (Green Day, Screeching Weasel, etc.) or included, say, Pearl Jam, whose singer, Eddie Vedder, inducted the NYC punk legends into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Instead, we included among our more obvious picks a few artists you might not think of as disciples. But make no mistake: They all owe the Ramones a round of thank-you drinks. Too bad there’s only one surviving original member — drummer Tommy — to collect.
During the Garage Rock Renaissance of the early ’00s, the Strokes reigned supreme, bringing their late-’70s-NYC stylings — which borrowed heavily from the Ramones — to a whole new generation of young fans. The Strokes even sort of dressed like the Ramones, what with the black leather jackets and purposefully disheveled haircuts. Sure, Albert Hammond, Jr. shreds a little more than Johnny Ramone ever did, but we’re not faulting him for it.
Kings of Leon
Sharing the spotlight with bands like the Strokes and Jet in the ’00s rock revival, Kings of Leon rumbled onto the scene with straightforward, driving rock — with a touch of a Southern accent. The Dixie-bred Kings hailed from another world, but they looked and sounded a whole lot like the Ramones, the Kings of Queens, if you will.
It’s hard not to hear the Ramones’ influence on the nascent version of Lodi, N.J.’s most famous monsters, the Misfits. The guitar riffs on ‘Attitude,’ ‘Skulls,’ ‘Last Caress’ and pretty much everything else leading up to the groundbreaking hardcore album ‘Earth A.D’ are undeniably Johnny Ramone. And all you have to do is look at any of the band’s early promo or live photos to see where they got their fashion sense.
The So So Glos
Brooklyn’s latest addition to the retro-punk scene, the So So Glos have rocketed into the public eye thanks to the rave reviews they’ve received for ‘Blowout,’ released earlier this year. Their sound harks back to the heyday of punk — the Germs, the Necros, etc. — but we hear a kinship to outer-borough forefeather the Ramones, the first to make sounding like a bunch of slackers cool.
The White Stripes
The White Stripes made things look so simple onstage — just a chick sort of bop-bop-bopping away behind the drums and a dude playing chunk-chunk-chunk on his guitar. Sound familiar? The Ramones were the first band to make it look easy, and that’s because, for crying out loud, it is. All you need is a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, four chords and a dream.
Nirvana is on this list because the Ramones basically invented punk rock — they were the chicken and the egg — and Nirvana wouldn’t have caused the stir they did without them. You can also hear the influence throughout their albums — especially their first one, ‘Bleach.’
Fellow Queens boy Jesse Malin lands on this list primarily for his work in the glam-punk outfit D Generation and for his exceptional solo debut, ‘The Fine Art of Self Destruction.’ Both records remind us of the Ramones, and the latter’s acoustic-punk gems ‘Wendy’ and ‘High Lonesome’ should give an indication why.
Dinosaur Jr. are another group whose tuneful bashing was made possible by punk progenitors like the Ramones. Sure, J. Mascis is riff master general of Indie Nation, but strip away the guitar heroics, and you have yourself a slacker-punk trio that listened to a lot of the Ramones growing up.
Welsh heroes Stereophonics have a lot in common with the Ramones. They’re both from working-class neighborhoods, and like their American predecessors, the ‘Phonics avoid wordiness whenever possible and get right to the four-chord point with their guitars. And in Kelly Jones, Stereophonics have themselves a kickass lead singer.
When the Arctic Monkeys broke out in England, many in the hyperbolic U.K. music press deemed them the Second Coming of Britpop bands like Oasis and Blur. But we’d suggest that they took what the Ramones did in the late ‘70s and put a British spin on it — weaving a web of slacker punk mixed with street-smart realism.