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Gene Simmons’ opinion on The Ramones


Gene Simmons’ opinion on The Ramones

The Kiss co-founder, bassist and singer Gene Simmons helped to form the band in 1973 and had the chance to see the evolution of Rock and Roll music up-close. Just a few years after they started, Rock music had a new sub-genre, which was called Punk. Since then there is a debate about which band really created that kind of music and many people point out The Ramones as the group responsible for that.


They curiously came from New York City, the same place Kiss was formed and Joey Ramone reportedly went to see Kiss live many times before they became famous. Over the decades Simmons talked a lot about music and obviously, gave his opinion on Punk and The Ramones.

What is Gene Simmons’ opinion on The Ramones

The Ramones was formed in 1974, one year after Kiss, and had the chance to release their self-titled debut album in 1976. Although Gene Simmons likes the group, he doesn’t really feel like they were a Punk band, because of their lyrics. Gene believes they are more a Pop group that can’t really be compared to a band like Sex Pistols.

He said that in an interview with Planet Rock (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) in 2022. He listed some of his favorite songs of all time and one of them was “London Calling” by The Clash. It was after that choice that he mentioned the American Punk group.

“I think that anything that starts honestly and has integrity is authentic. It’s authentic in its own way. You don’t have to understand it. For me, Punk was authentic in England. In America it’s style. The Ramones were not Punk. We knew those kids when they were little boys and they used to come to all the shows.”

“That ain’t Punk, that’s Pop. Punk, the real anger, the frustration of being outcasted or filling the blanks, they didn’t fill part of the mainstream (and that) was authentic as you can get,” Gene Simmons said.

Curiously, Kiss covered The Ramones song “Do You Remember Rock N’ Roll Radio” in 2003. The version was featured on the tribute album “We’re a Happy Family”.

He said The Ramones were a fun band but they were not successful

In an interview with Noisey in 2014, Gene again said that The Ramones were not really a Punk Rock band. He noted that they didn’t represent in the USA a “class divisional statement” and also recalled that they were not commercially successful.

“When we first started it was glitter and glam. You would never play in a band and look like a punk. Well it did start in New York with The Ramones, but Joey and the guys used to come see us all the time and go ‘wow man, wow man.’ But Punk in America didn’t mean anything more than style.”

“Two of The Ramones were Jews, lived in middle class neighborhoods. Take the subway, go back home, and eat two meals a day. Punk in England was a cultural class divisional statement. Cultural. It meant something. Punk in America meant nothing,” Gene Simmons said.

During the same conversation, the musician compared them with the group Chicago, which was really successful commercially. He explained that there are bands who are not listed as influential by other artists often but sold millions of records worldwide. Meanwhile, there are groups like The Ramones who are extremely influential but were not commercially successful.

Gene Simmons continued:

“(…) There’s only success, and you can move out of your mom’s basement. So The Ramones, bless them. We’re a fun band, and everything else, and influential to you. It’s not a big band that plays stadiums that goes, ‘Oh yeah, I started because of them.” So you take The Ramones which is widely accepted by the media as the most influential this and that. They have one gold record after they died. The one they hated the most. Chicago had 22 platinum records in a row”.

“My point is, it doesn’t matter what I like or what you like. It doesn’t matter. It only matters what the masses like. Either that, or we can say, “We are holier than thou. My opinion is worth more than yours.” I don’t subscribe to that theory; I believe the masses rule,” Gene Simmons said.

As pointed out by Simmons, The Ramones was one of the most influential bands of all time but failed to reach the same commercial success of its peers. They sold only a few million copies of their entire discography. They were active from 1974 to 1996 and released 14 studio albums.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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