We’re a Happy Ramones Fan

Last month, I mentioned that I was anticipating We’re A Happy Family – A Tribute To The Ramones with some trepidation. While some of the acts (like Garbage, Green Day and Rancid) looked right, I wondered how U2, the Pretenders and Tom Waits would handle the humor and three-chord power without looking stupid.

What was I thinking? With Johnny Ramone and Rob Zombie at the helm, the first band that started to get preachy would have been tossed out on their artsy-fartsy asses.

In other words, I loved it!

There is a good mix of acts that tried to sound as close to the original as possible (without making you wish you’d just gone ahead and listened to the original in the first place) like: “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio” (Kiss), “I Just Wanna Have Something to Do” (Garbage), “Outsider” (Green Day), “I Wanna Be Sedated” (Offspring). And unique interpretations that come off well: “Havana Affair” (Red Hot Chili Peppers), “Blitzkrieg Bop” (Rob Zombie), “Return of Jackie and Judy” (Tom Waits). Marilyn Manson’s cover of “The KKK Took My Baby Away” grew on me after a few listenings.

The only weak spots are the aforementioned U2 and Pretenders. U2 is trying so hard not to be U2 that you can hardly tell it is them. “Beat on the Brat” is ok, but kinda boring. The Pretenders “Something to Believe In” is a complete snooze-fest.

One of the best things about the album, too, is the liner notes. Stephen King wrote four pages on the Rob Zombie, the Ramones, disco, and how he expected this album to suck and was pleasantly surprised it doesn’t. What was really cool for me, however, was this:

Once my radio station in Bangor put on a Ramones concert (well, Cheap Trick headlined, but to me it was a Ramones concert).

Ric the Schmuck and I were at that concert (as I’m sure you’ve heard me mention over and over and over), and thought the same damned thing.

Well, I thought it was cool.

Bite me.

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9 Responses to We’re a Happy Ramones Fan

  1. Ric The Schmuck says:

    But perhaps even cooler than actually seeing the Ramones in our hometown, was the fact that we came out of the concert appreciating Cheap Trick, too. Something we certainly did NOT expect…
    Fun memories. I still have my Rick Neilsen guitar pick, somewhere.

  2. kat says:

    Thanks for the awesome review! I was going to try and grab this one but thought naw, it might suck…lol Thanks. 🙂

  3. wSpacebran says:

    i think it’s cool. you were there–historical and all. u2… now there’s a can of worms.

    and i’ve never liked the pretenders. NEVER.

  4. Ric The Schmuck says:

    Funny, The Pretenders used to be among my favorites, but after the guitar player and bass player both died, and it was pretty much just Ms.Hynde (OK, Martin Chambers still plays with her to this day, and he is an AWESOME drummer) the music has pretty much sucked. But the first 2 albums (and the EP, remember them?) were quite good. Oh, they rocked. That must be the difference.
    U2, on the other hand. Wow. It was pretty much as I feared, once they got popular, they, too, began to suck. I just wish he would finally Find whatever the hell he is Looking For, so I don’t have to hear about it anymore!

  5. Dania says:

    Who the hell are The Ramones? I must too young to know who they are…bahahaha

    ok, i’m kidding, now I have “I Wanna be Sedated” in my head…

  6. Domino says:

    OK, so baby leave is over and I’m back to work, so first priority is of course to write a review of “We’re a Happy Family” and post it on Solonor’s web site.

    1. Havana Affair – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Peppers are a good band, they make this song sound like one of their own, which isn’t a bad thing.

    2. Blitzkrieg Bop – Rob Zombie
    I’m NO Zombie fan. His version of this song seems to go on and on. Loud drums plus loud guitar does not always equal exciting music, which Zombie doesn’t seem to understand. I didn’t think it would be possible to make Blitzkrieg Bop boring, but Zombie found a way to do it.

    3. I Believe In Miracles – Eddie Vedder & Zeke
    OMG, I am a born again Vedder Fan. This song rocks and Eddie Vedder completely makes it his own song. This is what tribute albums were meant to be like. I Believe in Eddie Vedder.

    4. 53rd & 3rd – Metallica
    I do like Metallica most of the time, and this song rocks. They make this song their own and add a liberal dose of Metallica brand anger and snarl to the song, which makes the song work even better (given the lyrics).

    5. Beat On The Brat – U2 Listen Listen
    Love it. The Edge rocks. He is IMHO one of the finest rock guitarists ever. See them live or watch a concert video of U2. They are a guitar band, which doesn’t come through in a lot of their studio work. The Edge is a not a Clapton type of player but a rhythm genius and sound/tone specialist. Bono’s vocals are so low key here that he must be singing tongue in cheek. He knows he’s not a strong in your face rock vocalist, so he sings the song almost pretty, and I think it works. I saw U2 in concert the day Joey died. In fact I found out he died when Bono announced it from the stage. The band seemed genuinely sad. Bono dedicated ‘One’ to Joey Ramone and segued directly into Amazing Grace. They then played The Ramones’ ‘I Remember You’. It was moving.

    6. Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio – Kiss
    This was the biggest surprise for me on this album. I like this version of the song a LOT. To me it doesn’t sound like the Ramones version. Given the lyrics of this song I think Kiss was the perfect choice to sing it, since they are the only band on the album who’s members are old enough to understand what this song is about. I think this version rocks and Paul and Gene spit out the lyrics with more passion and rage than I’ve heard on any Kiss record in decades. It sounds raw and angry but Spector-ish at the same time (Phil Spector produced the Ramones version of this song). This song makes me think Kiss might know a thing or two about rock n’roll and not just marketing. But isn’t this really ironic? Didn’t bands like Kiss create The Ramones?

    7. The KKK Took My Baby Away – Marilyn Manson
    Maybe the KKK will take Marilyn Manson away. I’ve never understood why this person was given a recording contract. Probably the only reason he’s on the album is because he gives Zombie BJ’s.

    8. I Just Wanna Have Something To Do – Garbage
    Good song, good band, good singer. They seem smart enough to know they have nothing new to add to this song so they just perform it with a lot of energy.

    9. Outsider – Green Day
    They make this song sound like a Green Day song, but not a particularly good one. I think Green Day is past their prime.

    10. Something To Believe In – The Pretenders
    This is OK, a real mellow treatment of a Ramones song. It seems out of place on this album, but it’s not bad. It’s just mellow, like all Pretenders stuff since the guitarist and bassist died.

    11. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – Rancid
    Awesome. I never liked the Ramones version of this song, but Rancid rocks.

    12. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend – Pete Yorn
    Not my cup of tea, almost sounds like a country song.

    13. I Wanna Be Sedated – The Offspring
    Great band, but uninspired read of a Ramones classic. Sounds like they ripped this out during a sound check, by the end it runs out of gas.

    14. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow – Rooney
    This just bores me.

    15. Return of Jackie & Judy – Tom Waits
    Well, it makes me laugh, but I have yet to listen all the way though.

    16. Daytime Dilemma (Dangers Of Love) – Eddie Vedder & Zeke
    Vedder ROCKS. This song and the other Vedder/Zeke song are my two favorites on this album.

  7. Solonor says:

    Quick retort:

    1. Agree
    2. Disagree
    3. Agree
    4. Agree
    5. Disagree
    6. Agree
    7. Agree sorta, but it’s like a frickin’ trance and is stuck in my head
    8. Agree
    9. Agree sorta
    10. Agree but dislike it more than you
    11. Agree about Rancid, but BLASPHEMY!
    12. Disagree mildly
    13. Disagree mildly
    14. Agree, since it left such little impression I don’t remember what it sounds like…
    15. Agree sorta, but I like it
    16. Agree totally

  8. Domino says:

    Retort retort:

    2. Disagree –

    This surprises me. Just because I think this is one of the weakest tracks on the CD. I re-listened to it a couple times and I’ll upgrade it from “sucks” to “bad”. Zombie to me is such a poser/fake that I can’t take anything he does seriously.

    5. Disagree –

    I don’t understand this either, this tracks just ROCKS to my ears. Sure Bono’s vocals are unusual. I think it’s kind of funny how he sings it like a tender love song, with the hushed breathy vocals. I was surprised that U2 choose this song to begin with, how could anyone but the Ramones really perform this song? I do know I’m in the minority on this one, nobody that I’ve played this cut for liked it much either.

    7. Agree sorta, but it’s like a frickin’ trance and is stuck in my head. –

    Listen to it and think about how his version is a total Bowie rip-off, that’s what I thought the first time I heard it.

    9. Agree sorta –

    I just expected more energy/uniqueness from Green Day.

    10. Agree but dislike it more than you –

    Well, I dislike it too, but I can’t bring myself to say anything bad about Chrissie Hynde.

    11. Agree about Rancid, but BLASPHEMY! –

    I just never liked this Ramones song, not sure why. But I like the way Rancid does it.

    12. Disagree mildly –

    As with the Pretenders song, it just sounds out of place here.

    13. Disagree mildly –

    Like “Beat on the Brat”, how could anyone cover this song? The Ramones version is perfect. The Offspring gave it a good shot (they are one of my favorite bands), but who could live up to the original?

    16. Agree totally –

    YES, Vedder is my new rock’n’roll hero.

  9. Ric The Schmuck says:

    Geeze, I guess I gotta fire up KaZaa tonite and get caught up. So at least I can properly retort (retort retort, retort retort retort)

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