Born in Portland, Maine, United States back in 1947, Stephen King started his career in the early 60s and is probably the most prolific horror writer in history. He has released more than 60 novels and more than 200 short stories over the decades. His stories became movies, TV shows and influenced millions of fans worldwide, including musicians.
King himself is a huge music fan and loves especially Rock and Roll music. He has been involved with musicians during his career and even said once which was the band that in his opinion saved Rock and Roll.
The band that Stephen King said that saved Rock and Roll
It’s common to see Rock and Roll fans who are also horror fans, so that relation between the two things always existed. During his career, Stephen King had the chance to meet many famous groups and one of them was The Ramones, which he said was the band that saved Rock and Roll.
Besides mentioning the band in several novels, he even hired them to perform in his hometown, in a concert promoted by King’s own radio station in 1982. A few years later the band ended up writing “Pet Semetary”, which was featured on the famous 1989 movie.
In 2003 “We’re a Happy Family“, a special tribute album promoted by Rob Zombie and Johnny Ramone was made and King wrote the liner notes (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). It was in that text that he said that The Ramones saved Rock and Roll, because at the time Disco music almost killed the music genre.
(…) The Ramones were about screaming until your lungs popped out your nose and just sort of hung there pulsing on your upper lip and banging your head until your f***in’ ears bled. And the Ramones had more than a little range. Yes they did. There’s no rock and roll ballad ever written that’s more straight from the heart than ‘Danny Says’. (Not on this record, so solly, Cholly.)”
“And what about ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend?’ Sweet little girl, I wanna be your boyfriend.’ There’s nothing in the entire slick, big-bucks Disco catalogue as affecting as that one line. Do you love me back? What do you say? I say that maybe the Ramones, who never had a Top-10 hit, saved rock and roll when it needed saving. And I miss them.”
“I never knew how much until I heard the songs on this record. And one other thing before I go. You heard a Ramones song and you wanted to play that song. Most people never get a chance. I did, because I happen to be in a band (of writers). The Rock Bottom Remainders, we call ourselves. At a gig in early 2002, I got to sing ‘Rockaway Beach,'” Stephen King said.
King had dinner with The Ramones and they wrote “Pet Semetary” a few years later
Stephen King and his wife had dinner with the Ramones after the show promoted by his radio station in 2014 in his hometown. It was a few years after that meeting that the group wrote “Pet Semetary”.
King told Rolling Stone in 2014, that he lost about 400 dollars booking Ramones and Cheap Trick that night. “My station manager John Marshall said to me, ‘The Ramones are touring with Cheap Trick. We can get them here. I think we’ll only lose $400.’ I said, ‘Book the show.’ They then played one of the arenas in Bangor and just blew the fucking house down. We didn’t even stay for Cheap Trick, and we heard later they were pissed about that.”
In the liner notes for the 2003 tribute album, the author also recalled that special night that he not only got to see one of his favorite bands but also have dinner with them. (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) “Once my radio station in Bangor put on a Ramones concert (well, Cheap Trick headlined, but to me it was a Ramones concert). My wife and I went out to dinner with the band afterward. Joey ordered ‘Beef tornadoes,’ and when the waiter went away, he (Joey) turned to me and said ‘F** him if he don’t get it.'”
“But Joey got his beef tornadoes and left the guy a $20 bill under his plate. And back in 1983 that was twenty dollars, son. They were a great band, and I miss them one hell of a lot more than I do Harry “K.C. Casey and Donna Summer. Because some music is harder to make than other music, and in the end it means more.”
“I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you, but it makes sense to me. It makes sense to my heart. Some bands are tough enough to make it on 3 chords & an attitude. Some bands are tough enough to be tender (“Sweet little girl, I wanna be your boyfriend”). (And) Some bands are too tough to die. The Ramones were one of those. This record is the proof. The people who play on it showed respect and made what’s almost a Ramones record. I bet they liked doing that, I bet they had fun. (Well) I know I did, playing “Rockaway Beach” and eating beef tornadoes with Joey Ramone. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” Stephen King said.
Stephen King loved Disco and said that The Ramones made great Rock music
In the late 70s there was a lot of rivalry between music genres and inside Rock music, Punk was in the spotlight fighting not only with Prog, Metal and Hard Rock, but also with Disco music who was the main thing around the world.
Stephen King also loved many Disco songs and was sincere when writing the liner nother for the Ramones tribute album “We’re a Happy Family”. He said that he loved Disco but also that it was the American Punk band who saved Rock music from being killed by dance music. Although he always hated tribute albums, because in his opinion they were always bad, he said in the liner notes that this one made by Rob Zombie and Johnny Ramone was actually really good.
“First of all I want to say that I liked Disco. If you have a problem reading quote/unquote Liner Notes from someone who liked Disco, then it’s a bona fide case of tuff titty said the kitty. Second of all I need to say that I didn’t agree to do these quote/unquote Line Notes because I thought ‘We’re a Happy Family’, the CD you know hold in your sweaty little hands, would be particularly good.”
“I agreed because I loved the Ramones from the first time I heard them. Gabba-gabba-hey and all that. But even more importantly because Rob Zombie asked me to do it. One rule of my life is NEVER SAY NO TO A MAN CALLED ZOMBIE.”
“But tribute albums? Oh god, I thought. Usually just an occasion for recording artists to cover songs they could not have thought up in their wet dreams (you know it’s true). Also an opportunity for the record companies to do what they do best, which is to Rake in the Long Green. Johnny Cash tribute album?”
“Piece of sh*t (Except for Johnny Cash himself). Elvis Presley tribute album? Totally piece of sh*t (Elvis ain’t on it). Chuck Berry tribute album? Not too bad, as it was from the movie ‘Hail Hail Rock and Roll’. Little Richard tribute album? Not a piece of sh*t because it hasn’t been made yet. When it has been, it will probably be a piece of sh*t,” Stephen King said.
But after saying all that, the author actually said that he liked the tribute album and that it was really good. Were part of that album Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rob Zombie, Eddie Vedder, Metallica, U2, Kiss, Green Day, The Pretenders, Tom Waits, Offspring and more.
“But, I thought I have to give this thing at least 1 token listen, then I can write maybe 500 words (about The Ramones, not the record. I never thought I’d write about the record) and I might get to see Mr. Zombie’s movie. And at least, I thought, there are some good people on this record and it will be interesting to see how the f*ck up the 3-chord majesty. (Okay, sometimes 4 – of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, Marky and Tommy (Plus C.J. and Richie).”
“(…) This is the kind of record you play until you’re sick of it. Then put it away and find it five years later in the trunk of your car or under a pile of crusty skivvies and wipe off the dried beer-scum and buff it up and stick it in your player and it sounds just as good as it did the first time. The reasons are two-fold.”
“First, the Ramones made great rock and roll music. From ‘Ramones’ in 1976 all the way to ‘Adios Amigos’ in 1995. Second, almost all the players on this record stuffed that artists business where the sun does not shine and just made great rock and roll. I think they did it because they respected what the Ramones were. (Also) what the Ramones did, which was to sort of save rock and roll. At least for a few more years,” Stephen King said.
Called the “King of Horror”, Stephen King is one of the best-selling authors of all time. His books have sold an estimated amount of more than 350 million copies worldwide until 2006. Most of his novels and short stories had been adapted into films, tv shows and comic books. Some of his most famous stories are “The Shinning“, “The Stand”, “Stand By Me” and “The Shawshank Redemption”.