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Why the Ramones Matter
Donna Gaines

Not yet released.
Publication date: October 2, 2018

Music Matters

2018 • 176 pp. 5 x 7"
Music History & Criticism / Rock Music / Music - Punk

$14.95 Paperback, 978-1-5126-0179-4
$12.99 Ebook, 978-1-5126-0329-3

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Hey Ho, Let’s Go! A musical, cultural, historical argument for the centrality of the Ramones

The central experience of the Ramones and their music is of being an outsider, an outcast, a person who’s somehow defective, and the revolt against shame and self-loathing. The fans, argues Donna Gaines, got it right away, from their own experience of alienation at home, at school, on the streets, and from themselves. This sense of estrangement and marginality permeates everything the Ramones still offer us as artists, and as people. It’s why we need them, and why they will always matter. Why the Ramones Matter compellingly makes the case that the Ramones gave us everything; they saved rock & roll, modeled DIY ethics, and addressed our deepest collective traumas from the personal to the historical. They showed us the urgency of staying true to who we are, no matter what. In songs like “I’m against It” and “I Don’t Care,” the Ramones offered up an anthem a day, a soundtrack for everyday life in a ridiculous, punishing, amusing world. Whether writing about suburban dislocation, anomie, deviance theory, faith, or three-chord power punk, Donna Gaines offers us a subterranean guide to the Ramones and the world they made. Throughout, she writes about the Ramones with intelligence, sensitivity, and style, while at the same time reminding us that hey, it’s only rock ’n’ roll, and that Rock ’n’ Roll High School is our only true alma mater.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Dr. Donna Gaines uses her own love of the Ramones, as well as the stories of die hard fans, to prove definitively the lasting impact the band continues to have 22 years after retirement. She not only relies on personal testimonies, but subjects the band’s legacy to a full diagnoses through the lens of her own chosen discipline, sociology. As a seven-year veteran of the Ramones and a life-long fan, Donna speaks for me and every one of us who found our salvation in the only band that really mattered to the outsider in us all.”—CJ Ramone

“The Ramones were an answered prayer, the antidote to mellotron solos and stadium power ballads. . . . This book explains why they not only mattered, but were a vital, inspirational, earth shattering force.”—Anthony Bourdain

“Gaines whips up a literary three chord meal that she baked in her five-borough heart, and serves it with side orders of grit, wit, and grace. As it should be, this meal is fat and gluten free. Donna is smart, and she’s tough, and she’s family. But, more than even most of their own family members (yours truly excepted), she knows why the Ramones matter!!”

—Mickey Leigh, musician and author of
I Slept with Joey Ramone

“Who better to tell us why the Ramones saved rock & roll? Donna hits the nail right on the head with this wonderful book as she tells us in Why the Ramones Matter.”—Monte Melnick, Ramones tour manager and author of On The Road with the Ramones

“What’s best about Gaines’s vision of the Ramones is that it extends into the present. No one has written better about pure punk and resurgent fascism.”—Robert Christgau, author of Is It Still Good to Ya?: Essays on Music 1967–2017

DONNA GAINES is the author of Teenage Wasteland and A Misfit’s Manifesto, as well as a contributor to many anthologies on music, pop culture, and sociology. She has written essays on the Ramones for various publications and anthologies, as well as the essay for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. She holds a PhD in sociology from SUNY Stony Brook. Gaines has taught sociology at Barnard College of Columbia University, and the Graduate Faculty of New School University. She is currently a full time social science professor at Empire State College of the State University of New York.

Click here for author's website.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:51:09 -0500