In 1976, before playing their first show in Britain, the Ramones’ guitarist Johnny Ramone was talking with Paul Simonon, the Clash’s bassist. Johnny asked Simonon if he was in a band, and Simonon said he is, but they just rehearse, they’re not good enough. Here’s Johnny’s reply:
“Johnny asked him, ‘What do you do? Are you in a band?’ Paul said, ‘Well, we just rehearse. We call ourselves the Clash but we’re not good enough.’ Johnny said, ‘Wait till you see us—we stink, we’re lousy, we can’t play. Just get out there and do it.’”
That’s Johnny Ramone, the guitarist for one of the greatest bands of all time. And he thought they were trash.
The Clash, after watching that show, released their title album less than a year later. And it was fantastic. Imagine if Simonon believed they weren’t any good, couldn’t do anything meaningful and they never tried. We would never have heard the Clash.
I titled this site “TightWind” as a homage to the Ramones—it comes from their song “Blitzkrieg Bop.” I did so precisely because of this attitude. The Ramones were never afraid to be who they were or afraid of what people would say. They just did it, no pretention, and they made incredible music. No shame, no fear, no sugarcoating. They were who they were, take it or leave it.
That’s why they’ll always be my favorite band. They made the music they wanted, everyone else be damned. That’s exciting and energizing, the honesty of it. We should try to do the same with our own work.