BY OLIVER KOGOD//
I wrote this a few months ago, back in August. It comes from my fascination with artists/albums/songs that change your life. I often ask others which music has changed them the most. I enjoy hearing about the impactful ones and why they had such an effect. For me, the Ramones were the first band that I fell in love with, and the first group to change my life. This is a memory I have (that I wrote to myself) and that I want to share. I hope you all have comparable memories/experiences with the music that has shaped you.
A random memory. Do you remember? You were far from home on that teen summer trip. Your friend Will invited you and your parents signed you up. On the trip, the camp counselors asked the teens to not use phones/electronics but you held onto your iPod secretly. It was light blue, a nano. No buttons, just a screen. Small and square and so darn small. You wonder how you could ever use a screen that small. At night when others were falling asleep you would hide under your sleeping bag, back then still afraid of rules and getting in trouble, and listen to music. Mostly stuff your dad had showed you- The Clash, DEVO, Talking Heads. You inherited that music from him and secretly kept it alive under that sleeping bag.
Towards the end of the trip, when screens were permitted, the “annoying” girl Sara asked what you were listening to. She was weird, no one really liked her. Here comes the real memory; the rest is kinda made up.
You remember seeing the ipod held in your eighth-grade hand. The blue metallic outline was circling the screen, on the screen there was greyness. The name of the band and the album in block letters across the top, with four leather-jacket-and-ripped-jeans-wearing guys standing, leaning, posturing along a grimy brick wall.
“I’m getting into this band called the Ramones,” you told her. Ok, you’re not sure if you said that exactly, but it sounds right. And it is something you’d say even today. Your memory doesn’t include which song was playing, just that album. You were surprised when she said that she knew them.
And that was it, that’s all you remember. Looking back at it feels funny, it makes you laugh. But there’s a reason that memory remains. At that time you had no idea the Ramones would change your life. You had no idea they would shape your life. You had no idea they would transform your identity.
The memory that recollects you “getting into a band called the Ramones” is an impactful one. Thinking about it now, you realize it’s a monumental one. Since that moment you’ve grown to only see the world through music. And it all circles back to the summer before high school, getting into the Ramones, falling in love with them, and seeing your whole world get reshaped.