28 April, 2013

Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone by Johnny Ramone [Aimee, Howick Library]

Johnny Ramone is one of my all-time guitar heroes.  I aspire to play Ramones songs as expertly as him (seriously - nobody wants to hear my excruciatingly slow version of Do You Wanna Dance).  But when I heard of this posthumous autobiography, I realised I knew nothing about him as a person.  It turned out to be a rather interesting and illuminating read.

Turns out, yeah, he was a hard nut.  But a lot of that was necessary.  Without Johnny being the tough guy the other band members tended to flake out a bit.  What disillusioned me a little at first was learning he viewed the Ramones as a business.  Of course the art of making awesome music was incredibly important to him, but he also wanted them to be successful.  The more I read though, the less I cared about that.  If he hadn’t pushed everyone along they may not have become the great, influential band that fans know and love.  What it really came down to was a strong work ethic and an idealistic goal to be the best.

The constant theme in this book is his brutal honesty.  It seems partly because he was a straight-talking guy, and also maybe because he knew he was dying and therefore just didn’t care what anyone thought?  Whatever.  He seemed like a guy who cherished his loved ones, and was truly cool to the fans.  And that’s pretty awesome.

Gabba gabba hey!

Title: Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone
Author: Johnny Ramone
ISBN: 9780810996601
Published: 2012
Publisher: Abrams Image

- Aimee, Howick Library

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