I had the opportunity to speak with the now deceased punk rock guitarist Johnny Ramone (nee John Cummings) of The Ramones in early 2004, when I was active in New York City politics. A long time conservative, he told me when he was a construction worker in Queens, New York, he used to physically stand up to Vietnam War protesters who would hang around his work sites.
A fan of not only the Gipper but also talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, he said that he and his friends would watch Mr. Limbaugh’s 1990’s television show from the studio audience and cheer on the conservative commentator.
Johnny was certainly alone in his views on President Reagan among the punk rock community and his own band-mates. For example, “Bonzo goes to Bitburg” was a Ramones song critical of President Reagan. Johnny disagreed with his liberal band mates on the song’s name and the title was eventually changed at Johnny’s insistence to “My brain is hanging upside down,” with the original title in parenthesis.
A few months before he succumbed to prostate cancer in September of 2004, Johnny told The Washington Times’s Steve Miller in March of 2004 his thoughts about Ronald Reagan:
“I remember in 1979 doing an interview for Creem magazine with [famed rock and roll scribe, now deceased] Lester Bangs and telling him that Ronald Reagan will be the next president. He was really mad that I liked Reagan, who was the greatest president of my lifetime. So I turned it around on him and asked to see his commie card. In fact, ever after that, I would ask him for his card. I think he had one, really.”