Friday, May 3, 2013

NOW I WANNA SNIFF SOME GLUE (demo)--Ramones 19

This thrilling track is one of the early demos which threaten being more satisfying than the final official take (see RAMONES: THE EARLY DEMOS ). All of the traits common with this batch of initial recordings are present. The guitar sound is crunchy and dense. The drums and bass display more bottom end, and are more prominently punched in the mix. The vocals are somehow more relaxed yet more pronounced in their brattiness. A slightly tempered tempo amplifies the bubblegummy swing of the brutal punk.

Much of this, of course, could be explained by the other ubiquitous trait not yet mentioned: This demo is in G, a step down from the eventual key of A. Without actual proof, the assumption of varispeeding's application to slow tracks down should not be made outright. However, indicative clues are present for the observant, especially for guitar players. In A--the true, final pitch-- the dominant progression of A-G-F-E is a sequence of obvious attractiveness to novice pickers, whether played on barre chords, or even strummed openly. That the RAMONES might experiment transposing these changes down to G-F-Eflat-D is extremely unlikely. The heavy drone is stunted by playing this pattern in the band's trademark movable-chord style, and it is considerably more unwieldy when played in the open positions (not that it's even remotely likely that JOHNNY would have approached it that way.)

JOHNNY also figures in the song's other noteworthy distinction. When the track reaches the guitar break (the closest thing to an actual 70's style hard rock riff on any of the first album's material) he gives it a normal go for the first two measures, and then unexpectedly swings up an octave to assertively wank the lick in a higher register. Not exactly virtuosity, perhaps, but certainly the most glaringly tangible moment of learned six-string ability present on any of their early recordings, up to and including the RAMONES LP. This move certainly magnified the similarity of this segment to the probable source material it is derived from-- BLACK SABBATH's Paranoid. Regardless, once the determined primitivism of the debut was codified, this exciting detail was unfortunately, but unsurprisingly discarded in favor a more relentlessly repetitive identical four bars.


Photo by Roberta Bayley

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