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Danny Sage & Joey Ramone

With tattered jeans, grungy black leather, long unruly hair and three fatal chords that reverbed round the world, the “Ramones” made as much of an impact on the punk movement in the 70’s as Louis Armstrong did for jazz in the 20’s, or as “The Beatles” did for pop-rock in the 60’s. While Iggy Pop and “The Stooges” may have carved the ten commandments of punk into the sternum of late 60’s youth, it was these four misfits from Queens that preached it to the downtrodden masses in the 70’s with crude anti-anthems like “Beat On The Brat”, “I Wanna Be Sedated”, “Teenage Lobotomy” and “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”.
Sadly, despite a recent new wave of punk, with the somewhat watered-down, but still spirited likes of “Green Day”, “Blink 182”, and “Rancid” spreading the saliva-stained word to the kids of today, the “Ramones” lead singer and fountainhead of punk, Joey Ramone, has recently left us after a fatal bout with lymphatic cancer last April.
In the wake of this devastating loss to the music world “ConcertLivewire” contributor Maggie St. Thomas has interviewed the three remaining “Ramones” — Marky, Johnny and C.J., unearthing many human elements (loss, bitterness, sorrow and hope) from them.
In “Part Two” of our three part series of “Ramones” interviews, guitarist and founding member Johnny Ramone, who despite his economy of words, opens up a bit to discuss what’s been keeping him busy since the departure of his former band.

— What have you been up to since the “Ramones” disbanded?
— The “Ramones” stopped in ’96. I have been retired, but I still have work with certain “Ramones” related projects. There are always new products to be dealt with. I’m also very busy with my hobbies, which include baseball and films.

— What do you collect?

— I collect movie posters and baseball related items.

— Any favorite films?
— As far as film goes, I enjoy all Hollywood films and all horror films like “Bride of Frankenstein”, which also might be my favorite. I like 60’s and 70’s Italian and Spanish horror films.

— Who are your favorite artists?
— My favorite artists have always been Elvis and “The Beatles”, and they still are!

— What’s your favorite “Ramones” album?
— My favorite album would have to be “Rocket to Russia”. I feel this album has the most classic “Ramones” songs.

— What songs do you most enjoy performing live?
— As far as my favorite songs to perform live, most of the songs we did live were my favorite. If they weren’t, I would have gotten rid of them.

— What’s one thing you’ve learned in being with the “Ramones” that you’ll never forget or leave behind?
— I learned very early on to try to never let your fans down. It is the fans that have given me a lot of my happiness.

Maggie St. Thomas, www.concertlivewire.com

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