4 Rock Bands You Won’t Believe Started in a Garage

A garage is often a place where things go to be forgotten, where bits and pieces of life are crammed into boxes and pushed aside. But a garage is also a place where memories are found and beginnings are unearthed.

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In music, there is garage rock, a sub-genre known for its brash, high-energy sound, and then there are rockers who actually began in a garage. The below groups are the latter. It was in these dank dwellings that they and their music were born.

1. The Ramones

Before the Ramones were punk trailblazers, they were just a bunch of New York City punks getting their start in a garage somewhere in their native Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills.

It all started with John Cummings, who would eventually be known as Johnny Ramone, and Thomas Erdelyi, who would later go by Tommy Ramone, performing together in a garage band while they were in high school. The two would later recruit Douglas Colvin and Jeff Hyman—two players who would be better known as Dee Dee and Joey Ramone respectively—to form the Ramones. The band never truly shed those garage days, keeping their sound and style energetic and free.

2. Tommy James and the Shondells

While their sound is more polished than the aforementioned Ramones, Tommy James and the Shondells share the same humble beginnings as the punk rockers.

By the age of 12, a budding frontman Tommy James had recruited a band that would eventually evolve into the Shondells. It was in a garage in their native Niles, Michigan that the music happened. “We were literally a garage band; we rehearsed in a garage, we played in a garage,” James said, touching on the band’s early days in an interview.

3.  Creedence Clearwater Revival

Before they were Creedence Clearwater Revival, they tried on names like the Blue Velvets and the Golliwogs, but it wouldn’t be until the CCR moniker that the band began to gain traction. Their 1968 self-titled debut under the Creedence name offered up few hits, but among them was the track “Suzie Q,” a song that would set them on their path.

“I had kind of taken stock at the end of 1968, and looked around at my situation,” the band’s leader John Fogerty shared. “I said, ‘Man, I’m going to just have to do it with music.’ And I gave myself that directive and I stuck to it. I figured I had to do it, otherwise, it wasn’t going to happen.”

He soon found a rehearsal space for the band, an industrial garage in Berkeley, California, where CCR became the indomitable musical force we know them as today.

4. Weezer

For ’90s alt-rockers Weezer, a garage is a place that holds fond memories, memories they even sing about in their debut album’s deep cut “In the Garage.”

Through mentions of Marvel Comics, Dungeons & Dragons, and KISS, the band’s frontman Rivers Cuomo sings, In the garage, where I belong / No one hears me sing this song and I’ve got electric guitar, I play my stupid songs / I write these stupid words, and I love everyone. A garage played host to some of the band’s early days, giving Cuomo a space for genius to spark.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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