TOMMY RAMONE aka Thomas Erdelyi original drummer and producer of the influential founders of Punk THE RAMONES has gone to that great “Rock-rock-rock-a way Beach” in the sky.
Tommy passed at his home in Ridgewood, Queens on Friday after a long battle with bile duct cancer, Variety reported.
Tommy, 62 , was the last surviving member of the band joining Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone in Rock Heaven.
For those not in the know, The Ramones were not their real last names but played as a “family unit” and despite a long standing feud between Johnny and Joey (over a woman, natch), they blew out the house no matter where they were.
Tommy played drums on the band’s first three albums, “Ramones,” “Leave Home,” and “Rocket to Russia,” including some of the band’s more influential singles: “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Sheena IS a Punk Rocker”, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” and “Rockaway Beach.”
Tommy co-founded the band in New York City in 1974, their sound blaring out of a dingy hall on the Bowery known as CBGB’s and changing the shape of music history in the “disco sucks” era of the 1970s.
Ramone, whose real name was Thomas Erdelyi, was replaced in the band by drummer Marky Bell who had formerly played with Richard Hell and The Voidoids.
Tommy managed their fourth album, “Road to Ruin,” and produced their eighth album in 1984, “Too Tough to Die.”
The Ramones’ prescient “End of The Century” was produced by the infamous Phil Spector who allegedly held the punk rockers at gunpoint in his LA recording studio to lay down the perfect chord to their signature anthem “Rock And Roll High School”.
“It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea,” Tommy said. “It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different.”
“Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.”
The Ramones sans Tommy, never ceased touring, despite the lack of a U.S. mainstream breakthrough like Talking Heads or Blondie, influenced hundreds of garage bands across the world including Green Day and Nirvana among many many others.
Now their “1-2-3-4”s are heard everywhere – their tasty licks beating on the brats of a world awash in ceaseless mediocrity.
Adios, amigo – you’re outta here. R.I.P. TOMMY