I’m still taken aback when people act surprised when they find out that Johnny Ramone was a Republican. Make no mistake; John “Johnny Ramone” Cummings, the down-strumming, ax-slingin’ guitarist for what many consider either the first or the most influential punk rock band of all time, was an unabashed Nixon and Reagan supporter, a staunch proponent of the death penalty (“they should put it on TV for everyone to see”) and a practicing Catholic, and he wore “Kill a Commie for mommy” and “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” t-shirts under his black leather motorcycle jacket; all while playing the often copied guitar riffs that appear on every Ramones album and were played at every Ramones gig. He even admitted he played his guitar as if it were a Commie blasting machine gun.
People are even more surprised to learn what Johnny Ramone’s OTHER obsessions were; baseball cards, comic books, horror movies and serial killers. Okay, they’ll concede that, between going to church, attempting to outlaw abortion and finding ways to screw poor people, all while hypocritically preaching about family values and the need to quell inner city crime, members of the GOP CAN be fans of baseball cards, comic books and horror movies… but serial killers?! What would Sean Hannity think? Or Pat Buchanan? How does one allegedly support God, mom, apple pie and family values while obsessively reading about the exploits of Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy?
When Johnny Ramone started the Ramones, he said very plainly that the group’s formula was to write two minute songs with loud, buzz-saw guitars, catchy pop melodies and “sick” – as in morbid, twisted, weird, unusual, dark, disturbing – topics. And did they accomplish this task? Let’s see: “Glad to See You Go” is about Charles Manson; “Chainsaw” is about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; “Today Your Love/Tomorrow the World” is about a Nazi fighter pilot “fighting for the fatherland”; “Loudmouth” is about beating up an annoying girlfriend; “53rd and 3rd” is about a young punk who makes money by sucking the cocks of middle aged businessmen on skid row (presumably Dee Dee wrote from an autobiographical perspective, but I’m guessing the part where he kills the guy is made up); “We’re a Happy Family” is about a family where “daddy’s telling lies/ baby’s eating flies/ mommy’s on pills/ baby’s got the chills… no Christmas cards to send/ daddy likes men”; “Warthog” is about “drugged out visions of Commies and queers”; “Pinhead” is about Todd Browning’s 1932 grotesque horror classic Freaks; and songs such as “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”, “Teenage Lobotomy”, “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment”, “Go Mental”, “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Cretin Hop” sorta speak for themselves.
On top of that, before punk was dwarfed by Clash-inspired Marxist populism, Crass-inspired anarcho-leftism or Dead Kennedys-inspired generic liberalism and anti-capitalism, other punk bands were also into being “sick.” The Sex Pistols sang about a psycho fan of theirs who had an abortion in “Bodies” (some say “Bodies” has an anti-abortion message couched in its cuss-word filled lyrics; certainly “a gurgling, bloody mess” is something people see often in the back rooms of Planned Parenthood Clinics), not to mention calling the New York Dolls “poor little faggots” in “New York”; the Dead Boys sang about serial killer David Berkowitz in “Son of Sam”; the Vibrators sang about some kind of twisted love affair in “Nazi Baby”; Eater angrily tells some offensive bitch to get raped in the confusingly titled “Get Raped”; the Adverts sang about a guy who wakes up from eye transplant surgery to find that he’s had his eyes replaced with those of murderer Gary Gilmore in the cleverly titled – not to mention super catchy! – “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”; and, of course, songs like “Orgasm Addict” by the Buzzcocks and “Bring on the Nubiles” by the Stranglers speak for themselves as well.
Oh, and if you’re a punk neophyte, google the lyrics to either “Bullet”, “Attitude”, “Last Caress” or “Skulls” by the Misfits. They sure as hell ain’t about saving the planet!
And JUST to belabor the point by using too many examples – because using too many examples is fun! – the Mentally Ill from Chicago have songs with titles like “Gacy’s Place”, “Stalag 13” and “Tumor Boy”, Legionnaire’s Disease from Houston have a song called “Rather See You Dead” that goes “rather see you dead/with a bullet in your head” and both the Child Molesters and the Hollywood Squares, who are both from Los Angeles, have a song about the Hillside Strangler; the former call theirs “(I’m the) Hillside Strangler”, and the latter use the shorter title “Hillside Strangler.”
All of these examples of early punk rock are part of a greater culture of morbidity, that seems to have all but been lost in the last, I dunno… ten, fifteen, twenty years? A quarter century? There are still bands who keep things twisted and weird, such as Rectal Hygienics, but they either get criticized for their “misogynistic” lyrics like in this article asking “Why Are Misogynist Lyrics ‘Entertainment’ in the Current Year?” or ignored entirely for deeply silly crap like War on Women, none of whose members, I’m thinking, have ever heard of Jim Goad.
Speaking of Jim Goad, I asked Dan, the owner of the PATAC record label, if I could use a song by one of his bands on the Sounds of Marshabaloosh segment on the Savage Hippie podcast and if he’d heard of Jim Goad. Not only had he NOT heard of Jim Goad, he explicitly said that he didn’t want any of the stuff from his label – the same label that put out an album by Anal Cunt, known for their racist humor, rape and Holocaust jokes and regular use of racial slurs – played on the evil, racist Savage Hippie podcast that’s hosted by two Jews and a Shiksa. His label also has bands with names like Fistula and Panzer Bastard and often uses blasphemous, horrific and grotesque imagery on their album covers, flyers and press releases. In other words, covering your album with inverted crosses and images of ripped out organs is acceptable, but advocating for immigration reform to keep a certain religion, known for its hatred of gays and women and whose name translates to “submission” and which has been the source of 30,000+ terror attacks since 9/11, out of the United States to keep its citizens safe, is backwards, wrong headed and racist. Did I mention that it’s also racist?
Anyway, when all four issues of Jim Goad’s ANSWER Me! zine were reprinted by Nine-Banded Books, Goad said that the new volume is bound to cause a stir considering the reaction it received a quarter of a century ago. I believe this is wishful thinking. When the Goads’ (Jim and Debbie, that is) zine made them the “top dogs of the zine world”, as he said on the Savage Hippie Podcast several months ago, hipsters, weirdos and freaks were cooler, more open minded and more into morbid and bizarre culture, and only the earliest strains of stifling and sensitive political correctness and cultural Marxism began to poke their ugly heads into the underground world. The people who will see and read the ANSWER Me! volume released in 2017 are already his fans from Takimag, The Redneck Manifesto and Shit Magnet and are primarily on the nu-right/AltRight, and there’s a good chance it won’t see the inside of a “hip”, independent book store.
However, back, during the golden era of the slacker, hidden away in small, “alternative” book stores, cult video stores and even dinky, independent record stores, were groups of people whose interests included, but were not limited to, anything that was bizarre, weird, excessively ugly or just downright unusual. These underground hipster freaks enjoyed watching cult films by Russ Meyer, Ray Dennis Steckler, Al Adamson, Barry Mahon and Herschell Gordon Lewis; they enjoyed watching Faces of Death videos and mondo films which showed primitive African tribes spearing elephants to death and Chinese villagers eating snakes; they read RE/Search magazine, the ANSWER Me! zine and anything put out by Feral House books to learn about bizarre cults with weird rituals or to look at disturbing pictures of botched surgeries and gawk at autopsies and body modifications; they read pieces by Ted Kaczynski and about various mass murderers, serial killers, cannibals and other assorted human detritus; they searched local comic shops for rare issues of the 1980s Japanese comic Rapeman; and, like me, they took their girlfriends to see Cannibal Holocaust, which has animal killing, rape and torture in it, only to have said girlfriend say, “did they at least EAT the turtle after killing it?”
And they enjoyed all of these odd pleasures without feeling guilty about or having to rationalize them. I still cringe when I remember reading about modern day film students looking at Russ Meyer films through a feminist lens. WHAT FEMINIST LENS?! Meyer was a tit-obsessed pig who filled his movies with sex and violence; sometimes the chicks got beaten up, and sometimes the chicks did the beating. And when the chicks did the beating, the guys who watched the movies still beat off to them because the chicks’ tits were huge.
And don’t you DARE consider certain customs practiced by certain tribes in far away lands to be primitive or backward, you racist bastard!
Oh well, just like punk rock, weirdo culture as a whole has all but been ruined because of the SJWs’ need to reassess everything from a politically correct, cultural Marxist angle. Nothing can just be enjoyed at face value anymore. Unfortunately these new school kids, who are obsessed with self-righteousness and virtue signalling, won’t be able to watch footage of primitive tribes spearing elephants to death, listen to songs with the word “faggot” in the lyrics or read about Nazi cults run by Jews who think Hitler is Jesus without thinking, “am I going to get yelled at for this?”. Sucks to be them.