Jeremy Gluck (Barracudas) : my top 10 favourite albums : number 10
Leave Home – Ramones
(For number 1 in Jeremy Gluck’s top 10 favourite albums please go here)
When I was still in Ottawa, after the Ramones album had changed my life, I was hanging in Arthur’s Place, a used record and book store run by two hippies where I glommed bootlegs and comics and crap. I remember that day because I was poking around and pawing a Ramones boot’ and one of the owners sniped, “Curiosity killed the cat.” I bought it, a real old bootleg with a plain white sleeve and mimeo inlay. The sound stank: I had a better concert at home on a cassette tape I’d lovingly sneaked into the Ramones Toronto debut, two sets in under under an hour. I had that tape a long time and I wish I had it now. I didn’t have “Leave Home” yet when I heard “Glad To See You Go”, which is I guess my top Ramones record. In a way, and I’m hardly unique in this, my whole music story ripples from the Ramones. My life led up to and from them. It’s corny but true. Some people find God – I found the Ramones. (Well, I found God, too, but He proved unreliable. Whereas “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” has yet to disappoint me.)
Before I heard the Ramones, I saw them in pictures in Richard and Lisa Robinson’s grainy, great Rock Scene magazine wherein, month by month, it became obvious that in New York something was happening as big as the Sixties. I was sixteen, seventeen and I cut out and taped pictures of the Ramones to my wall and door…and I had never even heard them. But I knew. It’s like the centurion thing in the Gospel: I knew. My story: Go home. Leave home.
The first time I did hear the Ramones was an epiphany. I got back from school and heard, emanating from my older brother’s room, a strange buzzing, pulsating racket. I knew. My brother David had brought me up the right way in music taste and we had for some weeks been in vigil mode waiting for the Ramones debut to arrive. I walked in and asked and he shot me a beatific look of joint validation. I then spent weeks playing the album over and over again, and then ditto “Leave Home”, which latter album to this day I find perfect and the band’s best by far.
“Glad To See You Go” always in its impact reminds me of what Dave Marsh said of “The Real Me” as it opens The Who’s “Quadrophenia”: “…the sound of a hobnailed boot kicking in a plate glass window”. And it gets better from there as the Forest Park freak frat pile up songs only The Beatles of their time could. The sound of it – made possible by drummer Tommy – is magnificent, all clean and shiny and brutal. Joey sounds amazing, his mannered Merseybeaten bleatin’ renting the heart asunder just as Johnny’s demented Mosrite deconstructions turn all in their wake to the mush worthy of an invading army. In essence, an American classic, and frankly pissing on its imitators even now. Ramones happen only once in a generation. If that often. Mark it well, wannabe’s…