Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Encounter with Joey Ramone

I have 3 bands that I totally worship: the Plasmatics, the Stooges and the Ramones. I was fortunate enough to have seen the Ramones way back in 1981 in San Antonio TX. They played a little country and western dive called Randy's. The owners of Randy's didnt know the Ramones from Hank Williams Sr and were clueless enuff to serve beer in BOTTLES!! Uhhhh...not a great idea. At any rate, as I prepared to face the aural assault of the Ramones I made a very odd decision. I decided that I would wear my Tae Kwon Do belt tied around my waist (???). Yeah, I was Mr Punk Rock with my spiked hair, earings, torn jeans and my...uhhh...Tae Kwon Do belt. At any rate, when the Ramones came out there was already broken glass EVERYWHERE. Whenever you stepped you stepped on glass shrapnel! At one point, in a total ballistic trance, I decided to untie my TKD belt and began to swing it over my head wildly. Then I flung it right at Joey. At first startled, Joey quickly reached out and grabbed the end of the belt as I held tightly to the other end. What followed was a tug-of-war between me and Joey for about 20 seconds. I laughed hysterically and let go and Joey started swinging the belt over his head and flung it out into the thrashing crowd. What an epic night!! Broken glass galore and electric Ramones energy!

I reminisced today because as I was out cruising on my bike I found myself at Borders in Greenwood. Initially my intention was to find the latest issue of "Blood and Thunder". Then I saw that ALL DVD's were 50% off as a result of trying to make more room for books. Then I spied a copy of "Its Alive", the great 2 disc Ramones video collection. It was marked at $20 and so it was actually $10!! Unbelievable. I had intended on buying this set ages ago but kept holding off because I just knew I would be able to find this DVD cheap. And so I did.

At the end of the first disc is a live set in London in 1977. I was totally blown away by the sheer chaotic energy of the set. There was a huuuge crowd and the Ramones were absolutely genius...every song incredibly tight. The sound and video quality is top notch and at one point during "I Dont Wanna be a Pinhead" huge piles of confetti began falling from the ceiling on the crowd and the moment couldnt be more perfect. That has to be the most amazing Ramones footage I have ever seen! DeeDee is bouncing around the stage crackling with energy and Joey is leaning as far forward as humanly possible with his mike stand. Johnny is spinning and pogoing up and down and the vibe IS the Ramones in all their glory! Get this DVD if at all possible...its worth it just for that London '77 set. I miss those guys so much. RIP Joey, Johnny and DeeDee-you will never be forgotten.

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