Being punk rock and right-wing is seemingly one of the greatest juxtapositions possible but, somewhat remarkably, the late Johnny Ramone was an outspoken supporter of the Republican party, even going as far as naming his 10 favourite politicians associated with the political group.
The Ramones, along with The Sex Pistols, helped create a punk shaped revolt on both sides of the Atlantic but, as they grew older, Johnny Ramone and John Lydon’s politics were a world away from the anarchy they were preached as youngsters. Lydon has publicly spoken about his disdain at same-sex marriages in an interview with the BBC in 2005, shortly before describing Nigel Farage as ‘fantastic’ in 2017.
Johnny Ramone hid his political persuasion to the masses until 2002 when the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a stage in which he decided to end his acceptance speech by stating,’ God bless President Bush, and God bless America’.
He was alone in his band with his views and, on President Reagan, he was appalled at their track ‘Bonzo Goes To Bitburg’ which was a political song critical of Reagan and written in protest of his visit to a Nazi cemetery in Bitburg, Germany. Johnny disagreed with his bandmates on the song title and, eventually, forced them to change the title to ‘My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down’.
Following this incident, Johnny was no longer keeping his political persuasion a secret. However, now the world now knew that he was a staunch right-winger, the guitarist felt compelled to expand on his political beliefs. “People drift towards liberalism at a young age and I always hope they change when they see how the world really is,” he later told the Washington Post.
“It was in 1960, the Nixon-Kennedy election,” Ramone told the publication, explaining that he first realised he was a Republican aged just 12-years-old. “People around me were saying, ‘Oh, Kennedy’s so handsome,’ and I thought, ‘Well if these people are going to vote for someone based on how he looks, I don’t want to be a party to that.”
“Johnny was always a leader, never a follower so he wouldn’t care if everyone he knew is a Democrat it didn’t matter,” Linda Ramone once noted to Billboard. “He was a Republican. He worked hard and saved. That was his thing. The Ramones didn’t really ever have a bit hit single so do you want to get out of The Ramones and what, get a regular job,” she added.
Ramone even went as far as naming his ten favourite Republican politicians of all time which, ironically, included Rush Limbaugh who was the muse for his nickname that his bandmates gave him as ‘the Rush Limbaugh of rock and roll’.
Check out his full list, below.
Johnny Ramone’s 10 Favourite Republicans:
- Ronald Reagan
- Richard Nixon
- Charlton Heston
- Vincent Gallo
- Ted Nugent
- Rush Limbaugh
- Sean Hannity
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Bob Barr
- Tom DeLay