December 4, 2006

ramonesSo there I was, grocery shopping at my local Fry’s, minding my own business, carting my way around aisle to aisle like some Stepford husband, workin’ down my shopping list item by item to the usual sounds of god-awful ’80’s / 90’s pop and techno-pop, interspersed with the usual listless renditions of popular Christmas songs.

Then suddenly, a pounding beat! The familiar “Hey ho, let’s go”!, a thrumming bass, and an explosion of late ’70-s punk. It was none other than the Ramones, singing – if you can believe it – “Blitzkrieg Bop”:

Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go!

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop
They’re piling in the back seat
They’re generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The Blitzkrieg Bop

Hey ho, let’s go
Shoot’em in the back now
What they want, I don’t know
They’re all reved up and ready to go

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop
They’re piling in the back seat
They’re generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The Blitzkrieg Bop

Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go!

The Ramones. At a supermarket. Man, and I thought I had heard it all one day when I heard Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” played between Anne Murray‘s “Snowbird” and U2‘s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”! Rolling my way past the bakery counter, this took the cake.

To me it seemed as if it was The Day The Music Died.

I dunno what it was that bothered me about it. It sure wasn’t the music – hell, I LOVED the Ramones. No one put on a concert like them: raucous, ear-splitting punk played in a constant stream of 2-minute songs punctuated only by a Dee Dee four-count, everyone jumpin’ up and down, punked out in their torn blue jeans and black leather jackets, ’cause, after all, it was the Ramones you were seeing. This wasn’t angry, hardcore punk like Dead Kennedys or X, or sophisticated punk like Blondie, this was New York street punk, their songs almost as cartoon-like as their creators, who took the joyous hooks from early ’60s bubblegum, pounded and distorted it, then combined it with a cynical view of the world to thumb their nose at polite society and the overblown arena-rock of the late ’70s.

But I wasn’t jumping up and down, fisted arm raised in the air in celebration of the kick-ass music pulverizing everything and everyone around me. Nope. I had a roll of paper towels and two boxes of tissues in my hand. Pushing a shopping cart. In the middle of the afternoon. In a suburban Phoenix supermarket.

I think what bugged me about it most is that I realized nothing is sacred anymore – rock music has been swallowed and devoured completely, not unlike a hamster by a snake, by the very culture it was originally intended to buck all those years ago. Like when “Elvis the Pelvis” was thought to be ‘dangerous’ to teenage morals, and Lennon said the Beatles were “more popular than Christ”, and bands like the Ramones tried to reign in rock from its post-psychedelic era excesses. I mean, if today I’m hearing “Blitzkrieg Bop”, what’s next? Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”? The Stones’ “Out of Time”? Zeppelin’s “Living Loving Maid”? Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water”? (Rob would like that.)

What’s even more distressing to ponder is what supermarket shoppers 25 years from now will be hearing while poking through the produce. Will it be Ludacris? Bone Thugs-N-Harmony? N.W.A.?

To think about it is enough to send me straight to the potato chips.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:02 | Comment (1)
1 Comment »
  1. I’ve heard a Muzak version of SOTW and I’ve heard a bluegrass version of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. I’ll see you in the chips aisle. Look for me near the family sizes.

    Comment by Rob — December 4, 2006 @ 11:51 am


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