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Why the Ramones Matter

Why the Ramones Matter

Series: Music Matters

October 2018
Active (available)
168 pages | 5 x 7 |

The central experience of the Ramones and their music is of being an outsider, an outcast, a person who’s somehow defective, and the revolt against shame and self-loathing. The fans, argues Donna Gaines, got it right away, from their own experience of alienation at home, at school, on the streets, and from themselves. This sense of estrangement and marginality permeates everything the Ramones still offer us as artists, and as people. Why the Ramones Matter compellingly makes the case that the Ramones gave us everything; they saved rock and roll, modeled DIY ethics, and addressed our deepest collective traumas, from the personal to the historical.

  • Preface
  • 1. The Mission
  • 2. Ministry
  • 3. PAF
  • 4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Acknowledgments
  • Sources

Donna Gaines is the author of Teenage Wasteland and A Misfit’s Manifesto.


“Gaines delivers on several fronts. Part sociological exploration, part fangirl gush, Gaines' book offers a multifaceted exploration of the band and their effect.”
First of the Month

“[A] treatise that is both a weighty and breezy read.”
Long Island Weekly

“Donna Gaines has taken the lightning-fast songs of the Ramones' oeuvre and welded her own brainy spin on their songs, their personalities, their impact, resulting in something unequivocally fresh and engrossing. Even the biggest fans will find something new to enjoy here.”

“As a seven-year veteran of the Ramones and a lifelong fan, Donna speaks for me and every one of us who found our salvation in the only band that really mattered to the outsider in us all.”
C. J. Ramone

“The Ramones were an answered prayer, the antidote to mellotron solos and stadium power ballads. . . . This book explains why they not only mattered, but were a vital, inspirational, earth-shattering force.”
Anthony Bourdain

“Gaines whips up a literary three-chord meal that she baked in her five-borough heart, and serves it with side orders of grit, wit, and grace.”
Mickey Leigh, musician and author of I Slept with Joey Ramone

“Who better to tell us why the Ramones saved rock and roll? Donna hits the nail right on the head with this wonderful book.”
Monte Melnick, Ramones tour manager and author of On the Road with the Ramones

“What’s best about Gaines’s vision of the Ramones is that it extends into the present. No one has written better about pure punk and resurgent fascism.”
Robert Christgau, author of Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967-2017