Blondie, Guns N' Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have paid tribute to Tommy Ramone of seminal US punk band The Ramones, who died on Friday.
“He was a lovely, gentle guy,” said Chris Stein, guitarist in Blondie, who played alongside The Ramones in 1970s New York punk venue CBGBs.
“We lost one of the greats,” tweeted Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith. Former Guns N' Roses' stars Slash and Duff McCagan simply tweeted “RIP”. Other tributes came from Motorhead, Billy Bragg and Garbage.
Ramone died on July 11 in Ridgewood, New York, while in hospice care suffering from cancer of the bile duct. He is survived by his longtime partner Claudia Tienan, brother Peter, sister-in-law Andrea Tienan and nephews Eric and David. The musician had been the last surviving founding member of The Ramones, whose bare bones and breakneck rock songs inspired legions of other musicians.
Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary, in 1949, he set up The Ramones with singer Jeffrey Hyman (Joey Ramone) and bassist Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone). He was initially supposed to be the group's manager - but took up drums after Joey Ramone became the frontman. His contribution to the band was vital, writing their debut single, “Blitzkrieg Bop”, in 1976. The band's songs - with blistering guitars, simplistic chord progressions and track lengths under two minutes - set a template for the punk scene, but they never cracked the US singles chart. “This is art,” Tommy wrote in the liner notes for a Ramones compilation. “Sometimes it doesn't sell at first. Sometimes it takes a while for the world to catch on.” Tommy Ramone left the band in 1979 but continued to work with them as a producer, notching up credits on the 1984 album “Too Tough To Die”, and the double live album “It's Alive”.
In 2002, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his former bandmates, in recognition of songs like “I Wanna Be Sedated”, “Rockaway Beach” and “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”. His influence on a generation of musicians was evident in the number of tributes on Twitter over the weekend. Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx and Bruce Springsteen's E Streen Band guitarist Nils Lofgren both paid their respects, while rock musician Andrew WK called Ramone “one of the most ground-breaking drummers ever.”
Film composer Clint Mansell - whose soundtracks include “Black Swan” and “The Wrestler” - talked about the band's impact on his Facebook page. “Without the Ramones I'm not sure what my life would have been,” wrote the former Pop Will Eat Itself musician. “They changed everything for me when I heard 'Sheena Is A Punk a Rocker' in 1977. There's a through line from that moment to this, right now. Everything I've done was born in that moment. I'm gutted that they're all gone.”