Johnny Ramone died in his sleep last night. Ben Weasel, one of my favorite punk rockers, has a tribute to the late, great pioneer.
Johnny Ramone was never recognized as a revolutionary guitarist. Chuck Berry gave us rock and roll guitar playing. Hendrix showed us what the instrument was capable of in the hands of somebody with the ambition, vision and tenacity to bend it to his will. But what Johnny Ramone contributed to rock and roll guitar playing was just as important – maybe even more important – because he took the instrument away from the rock gods and handed it back to the rest of us. Johnny turned the guitar back into a brutal, primal, stunningly effective tool. He proved that you didn’t need to be a virtuoso to be a great guitarist. He reminded the world that rock and roll was supposed to be fun.