Long Live Joey Ramone

Joey's Birthday Bash 2006
@ Irving Plaza

Words & Photographs by Lucky Lawler ©2006

This day should have been Joey Ramone’s 55th Birthday. But, just because he ain’t with us anymore, doesn’t stop punk rock’s finest from celebrating one of the Punk Rock’s biggest influences.
Proceeds go to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research, raising awareness and money to help find a cure for the form of cancer. This is a new foundation created by Charlotte Lesher, Joey’s mom, & brother Mickey Leigh.

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Joey Ramone died of Lymphoma on April 15, 2001 to the sorrow of many a fan across the globe.

The Ramones were the biggest release any kid had had for a long time. Their timing onto the scene was a godsend. They started out with all the basic American teenager sounds, drawing their influences from as early as 60’s surf & hotrod sounds (think Surfin’ Bird & Jan & Dean) bringing it into the [sic] end of the century with a purity & energy that only a true punk could.

Mickey, Charlotte & Tommy Ramone

The Ramones had a style of music in which traditional sounds are stripped down to their elemental musical form, and presented in an impersonal manner.

Theirs was a minimalist form of music which developed as a reaction against the values that had been exalted by the previous generation of musicians - self-expression, subjectivity, emotionalism, and what seemed to be at the time, total self indulgence. They brought music back to the kid on the streets where it belonged. Brought back the “I wanna do that” feeling. The stadium days of ‘classic’ rock was getting boring and way beyond the pocket of most kids of the day.

The Ramones frequently removed all intros, extros and solos. Removing all the sentimentality that those moments bring leaving pure rhythm and energy and expressing all frustrations that everyday life brought with it to the modern day kid.

The Ramones’ ability to disregard all the rules of songwriting was the stepping stone into the lives of street kids and into CBGB’s where Hilly Kristal had the vision to put the Ramones & a bunch of other musical & social misfits up on a stage where they belonged. This fast became a movement known as Punk, spreading fast it’s attitude, or lack thereof, both sides of the Atlantic, joining NYC & London as sister cities. Bands crossed the Atlantic either way to get to where they were going.

This movement took music away from the sentimental narratives to the basic everyday dealings in life that kids had to go through, drugs, lack of money, no job, from “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment”, “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” to the nonchalant lyrics in “I just want to have something to do” anticipating total rejection in a world full of kids with a “nothing to do and nowhere to go”. All feeling totally pissed off, isolated and alienated.

Mick Stitch & Mickey Leigh

Who played at this birthday bash of one of the world’s most celebrated “punks”-

From the UK:
Mike Peters newly reformed The Alarm with James Stevenson (Chelsea, ex-Generation X), The Philistines, Glen Matlocks (Sex Pistols), Ray McVeigh (The Professionals), Chris Musto, (The Subterraneans), Koozie Johns (Sinnerstar)

From this side of the Pond:
the Strokes, & newbies to the scene Star Spangles, Mindless Self Indulgence, The Threads, The Bullys, The Slashtones
From the old school, jamming together for a great send off:
Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys), Richie Stotts & Jean Beauvoir (Plasmatics), processor to punk Wayne Kramer (MC5), Bebe Buell, Richie Ramone, Tommy Ramone, members of the Bullys and Mickey Leigh.

Giving the ears a break, but the eyes extra visual delights, Tyler Fyer’s Lucky Devil Circus Sideshow, grabbing ones attention with superb exotic freaks. Using the body to hammer, drill & contort. Exhilarating!
The strangest act came from Tracy Thornton, who played Ramones songs on the steel drum, Trinidad style!! If you could decipher the songs… very interesting…

Incidentally, don’t believe for one minute that this type of cancer is so far removed from your life. It just so happens that The Alarm’s Mike Peters, has it too. It first came about in 1995 which he beat, but now has just returned.
So do consider giving a helping hand to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research. One way is to buy merchandise or bid on the gear for auction on JoeyRamone.com Every little bit helps and it could save a rock star, let alone your best mate!

Tell me, wots the worst job you ever had?


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