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Can You Really Get By on Three Chords and the Truth? by Ace Boggess

Can You Really Get By on Three Chords and the Truth?

by Ace Boggess

I like to think of the Ramones as the Schopenhauer of punk

in dirt of the psyche boldly shouting about wanting

to be sedated, sniff some glue, be somebody’s boyfriend.

Theirs was the fatalistic music of half-believing,

self-entrenchment of a kind that would’ve inspired Dostoevsky

to dance or pound his rugged fist in the air. Of course,

Joey Ramone couldn’t be called an attractive man,

so perhaps he better fit the bill as Nietzsche,

quick-witted in catchy aphorism. Saying What we do for love

is beyond good & evil has the same eviscerating charm

as Beat on the brat with a baseball bat. Music, meaning, &

mayhem—our philosophers thrummed power chords &

faced down the abyss. Isn’t it fun to explore profundity

of simple songs? Doesn’t it leave our lives a little lighter?

We could add the Sex Pistols as punk rock’s Sartre—

a cult of personality (which he was, despite turning down

the Nobel Prize to prevent it—fighting fate

like Oedipus really not wanting to murder his father &

sleep with his mother). Picture the band on stage

strutting through obnoxious, self-indulgent riffs,

professing a powerful faith in nothing at all.

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