White paint is scratched and worn along the sides of Johnny Ramone’s electric guitar, the one he has used on stage for nearly 20 years to compose some of punk rock’s most distinctive chords with the legendary Ramones.
But this is no wonder. Johnny Ramone was known for his quick down chords – he never strummed up – and he played them aggressively on this guitar until he retired in 1996.
The black and white Mosrite guitar is now up for auction along with other punk memorabilia, including Johnny’s first amp on stage and a set of microphones from his teammate Joey. They have been collected over the years by a close friend of the group, musician and songwriter Daniel Rey.
Ramone, who was born John Cummings, purchased the 1965 Mosrite Ventures II guitar in 1977. After that, he played it in every performance of Ramones for the next two decades – around 1,985 shows, according to the auction house. at RR Auction. It was also used on the band’s 15 albums from that period, according to the auction house.
“Most guitarists have dozens of guitars that they play and they change every year on different tours,” Rey told CNN. “Johnny used the same guitar from day one to the end, and I think it’s pretty unique.”
And the guitar always plays “perfectly,” Rey said. “It’s indestructible. He’s played 2,000 shows with the Ramones, so he can handle it all.”
The Ramones started the punk rock movement in New York City in the 1970s with their fast pace, short songs, and loud guitar riffs instantly recognizable from songs such as “Blitzkrieg Bop”, “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and ” I Wanna Be Sedated “. “
The band members adopted the last name Ramone, with the same look of black leather jackets, canvas shoes, jeans, and long black hair on their faces.
They were practically the home group of the famous New York club CBGB, where they were joined by other legendary groups of the time like Television and the Patti Smith Group.
The signed amplifier from the auction was used by Johnny in some of the Ramones’ early CBGB shows, in 1974 and 1975, according to RR Auctions. And although it was only used for those early years – Rey said the band bought new amps as soon as they got a recording deal – the amp is said to have made a signature sound.
“It really introduced the world to the brutality of the Ramones ‘guitar sound, which was the nice balance between pop sensibility – the (type of) Beach Boys’ pop – and the brutal guitar sound that made that magic. operates, ”says Rey.
He recalled that Johnny, who died in 2004, had never liked playing minor chords, although he would if he had to.
“Joey would write songs with minor chords sometimes,” Rey said, “and Johnny always called them“ those funny chords. ”He would say to me, ‘Daniel, Joey’s song has one of those funny chords, doesn’t- isn’t it? ‘”
The auction is scheduled for September 25 at RR Auction in Boston, and online auctions are already open.
The original four members of the Ramones are gone now – Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, died in 2001, and bassist Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin, died a year later. Drummer Tommy Ramone, real name Tom Erdelyi, died in 2014.
Rey said now is the time to sell the items and share them with other fans. And he said he wasn’t surprised at the interest: “The Ramones are the greatest band of all time.”