Album: Road to Ruin
Probably the toughest-sounding song on Road to Ruin — though that might be just because it was in the center of the pure pop “I Wanna Be Sedated” and the acoustic guitar based “Questioningly” — “Go Mental” juxtaposes an utterly diamond-hard riff from Johnny with Marky and Dee Dee continually smashing the beat against your head.
Joey, meanwhile, starts with the chorus. I love how he’s holds out each syllable of “I’ve gone mental” like it’s literally the only the he has left. “Ooiiiiiiiivvvvvve goooooonnnnnnnnne mennnnnnnnn-tilllllllll”, especially since the lyrics in the verses come across more dark than funny.
I’ve killed my family
They thought I was an oddity
Life is so beautiful
I am a vegetable
Yeah, OK, they’re still pretty funny.
Though, not as funny as when I pulled out my copy of Road to Ruin a couple of weeks ago, and discovered that at some point in 1979, I’d joined the rest of the Ramones in signing the inner sleeve of the album. Now, I never like the diminutive “Jimmy,” but I would have been totally fine with that to be a Ramone.
Why is this Ramones song different from all other Ramones songs?
Ladies and Gentlemens, “Go Mental” features an honest-to-gods guitar solo! Not a lick, or a lead, or anything like that — there there’s a pretty cool repeating lick on the choruses. No, I mean an actual guitar solo, which has a beginning and a mid-section and an end. Not played by Johnny, of course: he had no interest in such mundane things, but rather by either Tommy or engineer Ed Stasium. It’s not like it’s a great solo, but the fact that it existed at all — and of course, back then, I thought it was Johnny who played it — seemed to be a sign that the Ramones were continuing to grow, even if the lyrics of “Go Mental” contradicted that.
“Go Mental” live in Germany, 1978
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