CNN's Alisyn Camerota On Why The Ramones Are Required Listening

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

May 16, 2024

Photo: Getty Images North America

Before being established as a renowned journalist and television news anchor, Alisyn Camerota was a real deal punk rocker.

While the former anchor of New Day, cohost of CNN Newsroom and host of CNN Tonight says she never had a facial piecing or a shocking hairstyle, Alisyn began going to punk rock shows in New Jersey and New York as a young teenager in the '70s and bonded with many players in the rock scene at the time.

In conversation with the music show-and-tell podcast At First Listen with Andrew and Diamond, Alisyn explained how the Ramones became such a formative influence on her middle school years. The band's third album, Rocket to Russia, with its mixture of pop, surf punk and social commentary, was the subject of the latest episode.

"If I can use the term ouvre with the Ramones (laughs) ... and they're rolling over in their graves right now — but [the album] does cover everything, from the surf punk and the upbeat 'Rockaway Beach' to 'We're a Happy Family,' 'I Don't Care,' 'Why Is It Always This Way?'... there's a lot of the despair and the poverty of their neighborhood and them growing up captured in these songs," Alisyn says.

"This is an important album — and the Ramones are certainly important, as a building block of music — so you just need to know about them, you don't need to love them," Alisyn continued. "This was a seminal bit of music that so many other bands drew from. And the fact that the Ramones have had staying power for over 40 years tells you something."

Music from restless, vulnerable or disaffected young people gripped Alisyn as an adolescent, in some part, because she herself came from an unstable home, where she was raised by a loving but preoccupied parent.

She chronicles her experiences in her candid, funny and often shocking memoir, Combat Love, the title of which is borrowed from a song by one of her first musical loves, the little known New Jersey punk band Shrapnel.

"As anyone who has ever made it to the other side of survival mode knows, it's nice to pretend that all's well and always has been," Alisyn writes in the 'Author's Note' of Combat Love. "Writing this book gave me a chance to return to the imperfect past, to find the scattered pieces and try to make sense of them, putting them together to make a whole."

The wide-ranging At First Listen conversation starts with the Ramones and revolves around Alisyn's memoir, Shrapnel, punk rock and how it shaped the journalist and person she is.

Listen to the full conversation with iHeartRadio via the player above or find At First Listen wherever you get podcasts.

Go here for more information on Combat Love.

Advertise With Us
Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.