Here’s my joint favourite band ever, creators of my favourite LP ever, makers of my favourite 5 seconds of music ever, doing what they do best at the very height of their powers*:
Here’s my joint favourite band ever, creators of my favourite LP ever, makers of my favourite 5 seconds of music ever, doing their best at a real ebb in their powers:
It’s not fair to compare, like contrasting a young, fit, lippy ’67 model Mohammad Ali with the confused, shambling monolith that fought Berbick in ’81. Only eight years on from their debut LP life wasn’t easy for Ramones when they cut Too Tough To Die in 1984. They’d blown their chances of true stardom, in Johnny’s eyes, they’d flitted and flirted around Phil Spector, veered over to pretty undistinguished pop, sacked Marky Ramone for alcoholism and this was their chance to lurch back towards heaviness. The Ramones, as a band and individuals always had a very peculiar, very fragile mental ecology – it made them great and unique, then levelled them**.
The best thing about Too Tough To Die is the front cover, I used to have a great T-shirt with that image on it, that’s not me being snidey either, it really is a great cover. The second best thing is the black leather back cover – that is me being snidey. They try, ‘Mama’s Boy’, ‘Wart Hog’ and the instrumental, ‘Durango ’95’ all have a bit of bite, but it’ all ersatz Ramones to me. There’s far too much filler and a couple of real shockers thrown into the mix too – I shan’t name and shame them, but if you can get all the way through the second side without getting up and wandering off then you’re more tolerant than I am. The production by Tommy Erdelyi and Ed Stasium (not sure I’ve ever liked anything he’s ever produced) ain’t great either.
You can’t blame a band for not wanting to become museum pieces and they really weren’t operating on an even keel at this point in time – even so, don’t remember them this way, they deserve far better from you. They would even get to cut a few very good new songs again, but they’d have to wait until the next decade for that, closer to the end of the century.
Couldn’t keep a secret
Got a concrete skull
Couldn’t shut up you’re an imbecile
You’re an ugly dog there’s
Nothing to gain
You couldn’t shut up got a
Bad, bad brain
*I know someone who was there, lucky sod!
**if you haven’t yet, watch The End Of The Century – my favourite music documentary^. Even if you only have a passing interest, it’s well worth a watch.
^or rockumentary, if you will.