Back in the day when a lot of us had major issues with Ronald Reagan (I was wrong, but hey I was young) we all still got along. A great example of that was within the legendary punk rock band, The Ramones.
Johnny Ramone (real name John Cummings) was a born and bred Republican from Forest Hills in Queens, New York, one of a few conservatives in the rock music world. Cummings recalled growing up Republican in a union dominated, mostly Democratic, Irish Catholic community where he had his first political epiphany during the Nixon-Kennedy race in 1960.
Along with Tamás Erdélyi (Tommy Ramone), Jeffrey Ross Hyman (Joey Ramone), Douglas Glenn Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone), Cummings in 1974 founded the band that the readers of Spin Magazine would vote as the second greatest rock band of all time, second only to The Beatles (ironically, Colvin was inspired by an early pseudonym of Paul McCartney, Paul Ramone, in choosing the group's stage name).
The Ramones' 1986 album Animal Boy contained a track that Cummings didn't really like: Dee Dee Ramone, Jean Beauvoir, and Joey Ramone's My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg) a protest song against Reagan's 1985 visit to Bitburg Cemetary in Germany.
Cummings was outvoted by the rest of the band to include the track on the album and graciously went with the decision saying "The band is a democracy." Friends say he played that song "like the professional that he was."
Cummings died in 2004 of prostate cancer following Hyman's death in 2001 of lymphoma and Colvin's in 2002 of a heroin overdose.
campaigning for John McCain alongside his daughter Meghan in Nevada. The 24 year old McCain recalls that Beat on the Brat was the song playing when she had her first kiss.
Cummings tolerance of divergent views, particularly when he was under tremendous peer pressure as a minority in the entertainment world, is a lesson for all of us. Can't we just agree to disagree?