Sunday, June 29, 2014

California Suns

There's a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in trying to imagine the four guys in black leather jackets and blue jeans on the cover of »Leave Home« showing up at the Pacific sands and, for punks from Queens, a line like "Well, I'm going out west where I belong..." perhaps applies better to CBGBs than California. But the songs on the first Ramones' albums constantly play with the line between gritty realism ("Beat on the Brat", "Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment") and cartoonish fantasy ("Chain Saw"). Also, as heard on "Let's Dance", '60s rock'n'roll is real "place" for the band—a place much more real than sunny California—and one which they can reduce to their own NYC-urban-punk formula as necessary. Cover as escapism.

With "Rockaway Beach" on the next album, the band would bring together all of these threads—a new late '70s, East Coast surf spot characterized as much as by "hot concrete" as sun and sand.

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