the-ramonesTo me, Queens is synonymous with the Ramones.  On one of many trips to New York, we took the train from Manhattan out to see the Mets play at Citi Field.  We had great seats, and sat right behind us was a working-class guy with a hotdog and a beer in each hand.  Sat beside him were 2 kids enjoying hotdogs as well.  Me, being the righteous Canadian that I am, said hello – fully expecting an ear full about shutting the hell up or something like.  Nope.  Instead, one of the kids looked at me, smiled, and asked if we were “enjoying the boullgame.”  With a shit-eating grin on my face I politely said yes and we all had a great time – talking about all kinds of shit throughout the game.  As soon as I heard that Queens accent, I couldn’t help remember how much I love the Ramones.  Next time I’m in New York, I’m going to make a special trip to honor this dudes – maybe hit Rockaway Beach or something.

Ramones_Toronto_1976Being a huge Beach Boys fan since I was a kid, and learning to really love the heavier music, it were these maniacs that took that great sound I grew up with and turned it into something mesmerizing.  It may be simple, but most of the best stuff recorded is.  It’s sad that all four original members are gone now.  I’ll never forget the time I was walking through the downtown core of my city, being bummed out that I missed the Ramones show that night – just too fucking broke to make it happen.  Well, with enough scratch to get me a beer at the tavern, there I was crossing the street and it was if time slowed to a snail’s pace.  Walking by me was the this very tall, very skinny, mop-headed man that looked like a warped version of the son from Wait ‘Till Your Father Gets Home.  I initially thought to myself, “what a weird looking dude”, but realized half a block away that it was Joey Ramone.  I turned back to look, and I could see his head above the crowd bobbing along.  I stood silent for a second, contimplating running back to see if it was really him, then looked at the crumpled pile of money in my hand and turned back toward the tavern – I needed a drink.  I will, and always will, love this band.  Feck’n Right!