Drummer and producer Erdélyi Tamás, better known to the world as Tommy Ramone, died on Friday from lung cancer. He was only 65.
Tommy's story began in the mid-'60s when he and school mate, John Cummings (later known as Johnny Ramone), played together in a high school band, the Tangerine Puppets; I bet they took the name from the Donovan song "Tangerine Puppet." Anyway, the band went nowhere and Tommy moved on to an apprenticeship at the famed recording studio, the Record Plant. A few years later, as the Ramones were coalescing, Tommy became their manager, but when Joey Ramone, who was drumming, couldn't keep pace, Tommy got the tap shove - and that was that, they were the Ramones.
Turns out his involvement in the band ran deep, like, he wasn't JUST the drummer. He wrote a couple of their best-known songs, both singles off the first album, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" AND "Blitzkrieg Bop." Also, owing to his audio-engineering experience, he helped producer Craig Leon dial in the Ramones' sound. He didn't like touring, so he left his position as drummer after their third LP, Rocket to Russia, and returned to work on the back end as a producer and manager. In the '80s, he produced a couple of indie rock's highly regarded albums, the Replacements' Tim and Redd Kross's Neurotica. (sigh) I hope he's laid to rest dressed in those shades, his leather jacket, and that half shirt.