Unsolicited Notes / Thoughts On We’re A Happy Family
Yes, the Ramones tribute album that came out in 2003, featuring such heavy hitters as Metallica, Garbage, Green Day, and Pete Yorn. Picked up a copy for my birthday after a decade of not really listening to it.
– wish I could say I read / enjoyed Stephen King’s liner notes but it’s four center-aligned pages with no paragraph breaks and he uses the phrase “tuff titty” in line three
– the ratio of artists who perform the songs in the style of the Ramones to artists who perform the songs in “their own unique interpretation” breaks down roughly 40/60; this is fine, as I didn’t expect Rancid to add tuba to “Sheena IAPR” and I sure didn’t expect Marilyn Manson to just plug into a Marshall to play “The KKK Took My Baby Away” at its normal tempo
– the top gun here is Tom Waits’s repurposing of “Jackie & Judy” as greasy juke joint blues howl (which has extra glow b/c it feels like Tom’s thank you note for the brilliant cover of his own “I Don’t Want To Grow Up” the ‘Mones slapped on Adios Amigos); second best is any cut where the artist commits to the melodic genius of the source material (Rooney’s “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” the Eddie Vedder / Zeke stuff)
– how do you sexualize “Havana Affair?” I don’t know, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers found a way
– Rob Zombie’s “Blitzkrieg Bop” is just as awkward and ham-fisted as my memory suggested; speaking of precious moments, I remember VH-1 did a special on Johnny Ramone while he was co-producing this album and the cameras were a’rollin’ when this Zombie-fied version of “Bop” first hit his ears…Johnny’s face wore a perfect mix of deer-in-headlights confusion, faint disgust, and slight arousal
– Eddie Vedder’s decision to do “Daytime Dilemma (Dangers of Love)” with America’s best punk n’ roll band is why he’s Eddie Vedder; the Offspring’s decision to turn in a copy of “I Wanna Be Sedated” they recorded five years earlier for a Seth Green comedy is why they’re the Offspring
– I don’t think U2 could do a more “U2” version of “Beat On The Brat” but I won’t bust on them because I know Bono’s heart is in the right place when it comes to Da Bruddahs
– the inclusion of Kiss is curious, not just because they were contemporaries of the Ramones (and not part of some subsequent musical generation) but also because Johnny Ramone made a big point in his autobiography about how much he never liked the music of Peter, Paul, & the Demon; whatever the reason behind it (tax write-off?) Kiss transforms “Do You Remember Rock n’ Roll Radio?” into the Best Buy jingle you always knew it could be
– surprisingly, the tender rendition of “Something To Believe In” by the Pretenders is not the most recent thing that band has done; they had a record out in 2008!
– leave it to John Frusciante to turn “Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World” into a hippie hymnal (and a fucking good one at that)
– no photos of Richie Ramone in the booklet 😦
Tags: Eddie Vedder, John Frusciante, KISS, Metallica, Rancid, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Richie Ramone, Stephen King, The Offspring, the Pretenders, the Ramones, Tom Waits, U2, We're A Happy Family: A Tribute To The Ramones, Zeke
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