Why the Ramones Matter

The central experience of the Ramones and their music is of being an outsider, an outcast, a person who’s somehow defective, and the revolt against shame and self-loathing. The fans, argues Donna Gaines, got it right away, from their own experience of alienation at home, at school, on the streets, and from themselves. This sense of estrangement and marginality permeates everything the Ramones still offer us as artists, and as people. It’s why we need them, and why they will always matter. Why the Ramones Matter compellingly makes the case that the Ramones gave us everything; they saved rock & roll, modeled DIY ethics, and addressed our deepest collective traumas from the personal to the historical. They showed us the urgency of staying true to who we are, no matter what. In songs like “I’m against It” and “I Don’t Care,” the Ramones offered up an anthem a day, a soundtrack for everyday life in a ridiculous, punishing, amusing world. Whether writing about suburban dislocation, anomie, deviance theory, faith, or three-chord power punk, Donna Gaines offers us a subterranean guide to the Ramones and the world they made. Throughout, she writes about the Ramones with intelligence, sensitivity, and style, while at the same time reminding us that hey, it’s only rock ’n’ roll, and that Rock ’n’ Roll High School is our only true alma mater.

University of Texas Press


A Misfit's Manifesto

A Misfit's Manifesto is a raucous I never promised you a rose garden for the millenial generation. Fusing recovery, ethnography, cultural criticism, spirituality, feminist theory in an irreverent gonzo style, A Misfit's Manifesto is a sociological memoir, a personal narrative that fulfills C.W. Mill's Vision of Sociology as biography in history, spirituality within cultural context."

Rutgers University Press

Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia's Dead End Kids

Teenage Wasteland provides memorable portraits of "rock and roll kids" and shrewd analyses of their interests in heavy metal music and Satanism. A powerful indictment of the often manipulative media coverage of youth crises and so-called alternative programs designed to help "troubled" teens, Teenage Wasteland draws new conclusions and presents solid reasons to admire the resilience of suburbia's dead end kids.

The University of Chicago Press

Teenage Wasteland rev2 book