When Tommy Ramone passed away, The New York Times wrote in the obituary headline, “he gave punk rock its pulse”. This simple line is enough to describe who Ramone was and what he was able to accomplish throughout his life.
There are many great drummers that have come up throughout history, but very few have left as big a footprint as The Ramones. His real name was Thomas Erdelyi, but he was mostly known by and referred to by his stage name, Tommy Ramone. Since he was always inventing a new style to achieve the best performance, it did not take long for him to become an icon even during his age.
Ramone was an inventor of new drumming styles. Whenever a new task came along, he would use the existing styles to create something that surprised those who listened to him.
Perhaps it was his many years of experience that fueled his passion. “Ramone’s drumming is like nothing I have heard in my life,” wrote one fan of a music platform. “I have been listening to his records, and I just can’t seem to get enough; they sound new every time.”
He knew what each song needed, and it did not take him long to build the songs. But it was his speed that got more attention.
He played the eighth note furiously, with a metronomic precision that gave out his abilities. And when he added the tribal-floor toms, he delivers a speed-freak beat that defines the Ramones’ groundbreaking three albums.
They came with tracks that could not be compared with any other in terms of rhythm and time. Ramone did not need a metronome; he played as if the timekeeper was in his blood. When he picked a rhythm, he did not let it go to the end.
Even if the song changed, he gave it such a smooth transition that would change the industry completely.
Playing first tracks calls for great mastery of different music genres. Ramone would take on the challenge of a delivery as though he owned it. From thunderous hard-rock beats to slow, intermediate speeds, he was in the best forms to give his best.
It was Johnny Ramone’s buzzsaw guitar that amplified everything the drummer did. It was always as if they were trying to elevate each other as they transitioned through different songs. His mind was not only on the drums but on other members of his group as well.
As if that is not enough, Ramone contributes to major songwriting projects as well. The bands’ immortal cannon has his footprints. He even penned “Blitzkrieg Bop,” which Joey Ramone referred to as a signal “for everyone to launch their own bands.” Any band that has played Warped Tour, including the Clash and Metallica has been influenced by Ramone.
He came up with different styles that would go on a feature in the performances of the preceding generations. His metronomic speed has been a great inspiration for those who play punk rock, using it as a reference for delivering precision in entertainment. Erdelyi’s signature thumb continues to flow as loud as ever.