Johnny Ramone

From Academic Kids

John Cummings (October 8, 1948September 15, 2004), better known as Johnny Ramone, was the lead guitarist for the punk rock group The Ramones. Along with vocalist Joey Ramone, he remained a member of the band throughout their career.

Besides his high-energy, three-chord guitar, he was also known for his ability to keep everyone on task. Though often times it was thought he over-worked everyone, his focus kept the Ramones a cohesive unit, and his personal and musical style seem to have provided the motive power for Ramones songs.

Missing image
Johnny Ramone's gravesite marker at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Southern California.

The Ramones song "The KKK Took My Baby Away" was written by Joey Ramone after his then-girlfriend, Linda, left him for Johnny. Embittered, the two would not speak to each other for the rest of the band's career. Johnny Ramone refused to call his former bandmate Joey, even when Joey was dying of cancer.

Alongside his music career, he appeared in nearly a dozen movies (including Rock and Roll High School) and documentaries. He also made television appearances on such shows as The Simpsons.

As a kid, he played in a band called the Tangerine Puppets. When he was older, he was known as a "greaser", though was later described as a tie-dye-wearing Stooges fan.

Johnny was noted for his cool, reserved attitude that he kept at (mostly) all times. This does not serve him well in the interviews he conducted after Joey's death, when he speaks of Joey as though he were an abstract idea.

Although never a "closet Republican" (many around him said he was vocal about his opinions), Johnny made his political affiliation known to the world in 2002, when the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After thanking everyone who made it possible, clad in his trademark T-shirt, ripped blue jeans and leather jacket, Johnny said "God bless President Bush, and God bless America," [1] ( He said in an interview, when questioned on his conservatism, "I was a Nixon man." His insistence on the band uniform of bowl haircut, leather jacket and white tennis shoes grated on some members, but his authoritarian style ultimately served to focus the Ramones. Johnny's hardcore attitude seems to have been balanced out by Joey's love for bubblegum pop, surf rock, love songs, and lefty political subversion.

On September 15, 2004, he died in his Los Angeles home after a five year battle with prostate cancer.

External links

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