Tommy Ramone, drummer for the Ramones, died yesterday at the age of 62. Born in Hungaria, Tommy, whose real surname was Erdelyi, had been battling bile duct cancer. He passed away in his New York home, after receiving hospice care. Tommy was the last surviving founding member of the Ramones – Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee had all died by 2004.
A statement on the Ramones Facebook page announced his passing and published a quote from Tommy: "It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody."
The Ramones were a huge influence on music and fashion, setting the blueprint for punk and inspiring a generation of youth culture that would go on to be defined by leather jackets, ripped denim and rebellion.
Originally a guitarist, Tommy stepped behind the kit because the band couldn't find a drummer that could manage the simple, uptembo beat that they needed. Tommy's raw, tribal drumming complemented the band's ferocious speed-punk perfectly – he was a metronomic whirlwind.
Along with Talking Heads, Blondie and Television, the Ramones helped to embed the New York nightclub CBGBs into popular music's canon of reference; the Ramones playing countless, career defining shows at the venue.
Tommy stayed on for the first three Ramones albums, before swapping his role to producer for a further two, saying "I couldn't handle being on the road as the abused drummer. I had more control in the studio."