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Tommy Ramone

With heavy heart, The Crowgrrl wishes a fond adieu to Tommy Ramone – aka Tom Erdelyi – one of the founding members of the legendary Ramones. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1952 to Jewish parents who were in hiding during WWII, he crossed into the next word – a victim of bile duct cancer at his home in Queens, NYC – on July 11, 2014.

Tommy joins his bandmates – Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman), Johnny Ramone (John Cummings), and Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin) on the other side of the veil (what a jamming party that’s gotta be!) The founding members grew up together in the Forest Hills section of Queens, NYC. Although “The Ramainz” (aka surviving members) of this legacy – Marky Ramone (Marc Bell), Richie Ramone (Richard Reinhardt), Elvis Ramone (Clem Burke of Blondie & Romantics fame), and CJ Ramone (Christopher Joseph Ward) are still with us, they’re not part of the Mount Rushmore of Punk’s Founding Fathers.

Joey Ramone was the drummer in the embryonic stages of The Ramones, but quickly proved he was more suited as a charismatic frontman. The band was auditioning many drummers, and then Tommy threw his own hat in the ring. Tommy was then the percussionist for the band, providing a cohesive heartbeat for The Ramones’ musical projects.

Since touring was not to his liking, Tommy decided he was happiest staying at home, and serving behind the scenes in the studio. His skins-kicking duties were taken up by Marky Ramone (Marc Bell), Elvis Ramone (Clem Burke of Blondie and Romantics fame), and Richie Ramone (Richard Reinhardt). Tommy did, however, move into the producers’ chair and still was part of the Ramones family in a behind-the-scenes role.

The Ramones were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. The band’s last official album was “Adios Amigos” in 1996, followed by a live farewell album and tour entitled “We’re Outta Here” in 1997.

Tommy was happiest in the studio, and was even the assistant engineer on Jimi Hendrix’s “Band of Gypsies” album.

Tommy is survived by a brother and Tommy’s longtime partner, Claudia Tiernan (who he performed with in a bluegrass duo called Uncle Monk).

Although the founding members are not here with us physically, they are immortal on the strength of their iconic music, which will be with us and inspire us and future generations for eternity.

~Athena Schaffer