• Robert Scovill

The Ramones "Live at The Roxy"

Simply put, live rock music in it's purest form.

"For me, they were this pure spark of relentless rock energy mashed against the absolute joy of melody tangled up in three bar chords. Genius."

December 6th, Welcome to “Throw-Back-Thursday” here on the Live Vinyl Lovefest. Today we’re going back to a time where the first seeds of the first backlash against contemporary rock and pop music were being planted and nurtured. It’s an age old adage isn’t it? “When the counterculture becomes the main stream, it’s time for a new counterculture.” Hit the reset button. “The King is dead, long live the King!” Live long enough and you get to see the cycle over and over again.

So in that spirit, ladies and gents I give you The Ramones “Live At The Roxy”.

This live gem was recorded by Gary Ladinsky with the Record Plant Mobile Unit. Side 1 was mixed by the great Shelly Yakus and Craig Leon at the Record Plant New York. Side two was mixed by Sam Okell and Craig Leon at Abbey Road Studios in London. Stellar!

So, today instead of recounting some key Ramones history, I’m going to share a little back story of my own. Now, if I’m being totally honest with you here, I would freely admit that the Ramones were NOT my thing while I was in high school. Even though they formed in 1974, at that time I was into big rock. I was into southern rock. I was into country rock. I was into blues rock. The Ramones were just not on my radar or apparently any of my friends radar in high school. But as I exited high school and made new acquaintances in the world, suddenly there was opportunity to expand my vision.

Around this time I met a guy named David Molton who turned out to be a really good friend and fellow music lover. We were both fledgling sound geeks at the time, and the thing was, we each listened to VERY different music. We always talked music — actually music, pro audio and girls are all that we EVER talked about — but it was apparent from the get go that he simply loathed nearly all of the music that I listened to at the time. If I brought up a band he would relentlessly challenge me about them and offer up an alternative. It was annoying, terrifying and challenging. Frankly, I needed it.

As our time together wore on, I realized David’s identiy was not just a trend driven convenience for him. He truly loved and admired these bands just as dearly as I loved and admired mine. And his passion began to sway me and encourage me to let down my guard and open my mind to this “other” music. David was a fervent fan of the Ramones along with many other acts in the vein of musical anarchy. It was the new counter culture that was just on the horizon that I mentioned earlier and he saw it clear as a bell. He turned me on to artist like Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, The Sex Pistols, XTC, The Clash, The Stranglers, Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees and on and on and on. Suddenly my record collection was taking on a very different blend of music.

Now understand, I had in no way abandoned what I loved in the artists that I followed. Hell, if anything this dive into punk and new wave gave me a much more refined appreciation of music creation and music production styles in total. As I look back on it, I’ll be forever in debt to David for introducing me to music that was not in the mainstream of the day. It was empowering and refreshing to have my tastes in music challenged and broadened, and in so doing it opened me up to relentlessly exploring and accepting ALL kinds of music and not giving into to the unnecessary conflict and shallowness that comes with “tribalism”.

And as history has shown now, just exactly as David assured me would happen, The Ramones are recognized as a vitally important band. The band that clearly defined the Punk “sound”. For me, they were this pure spark of relentless rock energy mashed against the absolute joy of melody tangled up in three bar chords. Genius. Absolute Genius. I will forever love the Ramones and there are regularly days when I just need to put on one of their records and let the speakers bleed. Long live the Ramones!

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