Tré Cool / Green Day The common misconception is that punk musicians aren’t very good at their craft. For the most part, that might be true — Dee Dee Ramone did get laughed out of an audition for Television in 1973.
But for a musical genre so driven by the beat, where lightning fast technique is a prerequisite for acceptance, the punk drummer rises above the rest. Unlike the guitar and bass players, drummers can’t turn down their instrument or increase the distortion. Sid Vicious relied on Steve Jones for direction, but Paul Cook (the drummer of The Sex Pistols) had his balls on the line every night; a lesson he first learned from Tommy Ramone, the original drummer of The Ramones.
Tommy, who passed away over the weekend, was the prototype of modern punk drumming. After him, the position of punk drummer meant you needed to be talented, machine gun fast, and in the case of Green Day’s Tré Cool, part human, part mutant — the secret weapon of a punk outfit.
So here it is, a short list of the most dangerous secret weapons in punk history. It’s an homage to the genre’s original drummer, Tommy Ramone, who remains the blueprint for every name on this list.