by Robert Bell
8 p.m., Downtown Music Hall. $15 adv., $20 door.
You could make a pretty solid case that The Ramones were one of, if not the, quintessential American rock bands. "Da bruddahs" from Queens rose from working class backgrounds and took the things they loved — buzz saw garage rock, AM bubblegum pop, lowbrow culture and self-aware, misanthropic humor — and wedded it all to some of the catchiest tunes ever written, in the process permanently altering popular music.
On July 4, 1976, the band went to England and more or less single-handedly upended the musical order of the motherland. As the band's first manager, Danny Fields, put it in "Please Kill Me," the beyond-essential oral history of punk rock, "On the two-hundredth anniversary of our freedom, we were bringing Great Britain a gift that was forever going to disrupt their sensibilities."
It's really hard to believe that 35 years later there's only one founding member still alive — original drummer and later producer Tommy Ramone. That leaves drummers Marky and Richie, and bassist C.J. Ramone, who replaced Dee Dee in 1989 and is now hitting the club circuit playing Ramones tunes with the band's former producer Daniel Rey.
This tour could be seen as a blatant cash-grab, if you want to be all cynical about it. Or you could go to the show and hear a bunch of your favorite songs played by some folks who shared the stage and studio with the founders of one of the greatest bands ever. After all, this is about as close as you're ever going to get to seeing The Ramones.
Northwest Arkansas can check out the show Thursday in Fayetteville at George's, 9 p.m., $13.