Local news stories about underground music can always be counted on to cluelessly pander to the paranoid grandparent demographic, which makes this 1978 Minneapolis public TV segment on the Ramones such a gem—it takes punk’s aesthetic merits seriously and keeps to a minimum the then-typical hysterics about audience violence. An announcer calls punk “the theory of minimal art applied to rock ‘n’ roll,” right there much more gravitas than the subject usually got from hinterlands journos.
The interview segment sees the band talking about the punk bands in England (the voice-over announcer misidentifies England as punk’s “ancestral homeland,” apparently not knowing the Ramones were Ur-punks who beat the Brits to the punch by a couple of years). Dee Dee dismisses them with a blanket “they stink,” and Tommy downplays that scene’s vaunted political engagement, singling out the Clash & Sex Pistols as exceptions, while heavily qualifying the latter group. Johnny handwaving the British punks’ political leanings as “a bore” and lumping them in with Joan Baez is funny in hindsight, as most of us know by now what an arch-conservative he turned out to be.
The performance footage is fantastic, and there’s plenty of it crammed into the 11-minute feature. Enjoy.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Cocteau Twins fever hits Ohio town, 1985
Earnestly square local news series on punk rock, 1983
How Low Can a Punk Get? Bad Brains in a cheesy local TV segment, 1981
‘Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City’: Iggy Pop rocks the Cleveland local news, 1979