God Only Knows My Butt

Five reasons this is the best album the Ramones never made: (1) Kickass Mike Love vocals top punk-rock Peter Noone any day. I don't care if poor fuckin' Joey's dead, sorry. But the obvious point is that what the fuck's Joe King got to do with Joey Ramone (vocally)? Not to mention that '64 braggart M-Love (as opposed to basketball pro Stan Love from the really bad side of the family) would have made a much better 1977 Ramones lead singer. (2) Short songs, great '64 Beach Boys/'77 Ramones-derived hooks (à la the "Sheena" prototype, but harder, tighter, punchier), and the flow of this album (beats, BPMs, variations of tempo from track to track) plays like one great long 31-minute song. (3) Killer drumrolls all over the place (in the old previously missed mid-'90s style of Hugh O'Neill, R.I.P.)—they came up with a drummer doing the exact type beats/rolls the old dead drummer had perfected, and he rocks like holy fuck. Since I always dug the Rancid drummer (hired because he looked like someone who'd make a great drummer once he learned the instrument, remember) I have a slight trainspotter track record in this category. The Clash couldn't play their axes for shit, so they needed a drummer who also couldn't play, so as not to upstage them. And I think we can count the number of drumrolls in the entire early Ramones discography on less than one finger. (4) When "Babysitter," "I Wanna Be Your Boy-friend," and "I Remember You" weren't hits, the Ramones got confused and never made the album like this one that they should've. (5) In actual truth, Rocket to Russia is half snooze city.

The Queers and their shoes
photo: Courtesy Lookout Records
The Queers and their shoes


The Queers
Pleasant Screams

So hey, take your Grammys, and Bammies and Wammies and Mama Wama Kin-or-Can't Jammies, and forget 'em. I've got my own award to give out. Joe King/Queer: the Ralph Stanley of American punk rock, timeless and ageless.

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