Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joey Ramone's lugie. Punk Rock & Trailer Parks item-of-the-month!

I just ran across this gem, the (almost) complete boot recording of a Ramones show I attended with my roommate, Infidel, (yes, that's what we called him) at the Columbus (Ohio) Agora in 1980! It was maybe my 3rd or 4th Ramones show, I shot it for the Ohio State University newspaper, The Lantern. It was my first quarter on staff. I started as a photog, because they wouldn't publish my cartoons! But the stupid editors chose not to run the photos (or the story). I should try to find those photos.
What I remember. Some poor slob tried to dive off the Agora stage, which, as locals who remember this venue know, was a preposterous 10 feet off the ground. Highest stage I've ever seen. Made for great viewing from the floor, but lousy diving. He landed with a thud on the concrete floor. I don't remember what happened to him, but I remember some blood. The opening act was a local punk band, Screaming Urge, who opened for virtually every touring punk band. There wasn't a lot of opening choices in Columbus. The highlight of their set was the lead singer pulling out his dick and wagging it at the crowd. Ah, memories.
This concert happened in March 1980, which was only a month after the release of End of the Century, their unhappy collaboration with Phil Specktor. Strangely, according to the playlist, they didn't do the best cut off that album, Danny Says.
I also remember Dee Dee and Johnny were yelling at each other during songs throughout the set. It was a great show.

Most importantly (to me, anyways) is that this concert produced this scene from PR&TP! This was a lasting memory.

UPDATE 7-12-2014:

And two days after I post this, comes the news that Tommy Ramone has died. The last of the four original members. All are now gone. That's hard to grasp, because they seemed so invincible when they were together. They just went on and on and on, toured relentlessly, always looked the same and always. always sounded great. An unstoppable rock-n-roll force. But Tommy was the only one who made it to his sixth decade, dying of cancer at 62. 

He was the oldest of the original four and he's the one who formed the band. He and Johnny had been in a high school band together, The Tangerine Puppets. Originally, Tommy was to be the Ramones manager and producer. Joey was the drummer! That didn't work out and Joey became the frontman. Tommy took over the drum kit, as DeeDee recalled "because nobody else wanted to."

Other little known factoids. His parents were Holocaust survivors. Tommy was an assistant engineer on Hendrix's Band of Gypsies. Tommy didn't write many songs– DeeDee was the primary songwriter– but Blitzkrieg Bop, the greatest punk song every written, was penned by him. He quit as the Ramones drummer in 1978, preferring to produce the band. He only performed on drums with them two times after that, at benefit shows in 2004 and 2007.  he was regarded as the most "together" of the four, and DeeDee, in particular, resented him for it. He has some success as a producer after he stopped working with the Ramones in 1984, for example with the Replacements classic Tim. Later he formed a folk duo, Uncle Monk.

Said Tommy of his bandmates, "They gave everything they could in every show." And they all died before their time.