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Randall's Island, New York, USA 1996 (Lollapalooza tour)

Did you get the record?
— Yeah, it’s good. I like it.

I heard somewhere that the “Ramones” never had a gold record. Is that accurate?
They had a gold record for “Ramones Mania” the greatest hits package.

What was Joey like on a personal level, as a friend?
He was complex, but he was all around a fun guy, he had a great wry sense of humor. He was very optimistic. He looked for the best in people. He was a cynical optimist.

Why did it take years to do this record? I heard it was started in ’96 or ’97 after the “Ramones” broke up.
Well for one thing there was no deadline to it, no pressure. Joey wanted to take his time with it and do it right. And the “Ramones” records always had to be done really quickly, you know in like a two or three week period and Joey always felt rushed.

As far as the recording situation, was it just you two guys when you started or did you have a full band the whole time?
Well first we just made demos at my house, just me and him, and then when it came time to record we recruited a bass player and a drummer then we went in to the studio and recorded. We did a few batches of songs at different times.

There’s a couple different drummers?
Yeah we did some tracks with Frank Funaro and then Joey wanted to try some tracks with Marky because he was accustomed to his playing so we went back in and cut a few tracks with him. And then there's one song that the guys from the “Misfits” backed him up on.

Now when you brought Mark in, did you guys have to rehearse?
Yeah, we rehearsed for a couple weeks just to get everything the way Joey wanted to hear it. And everyone did the songs really well. The recording of the music didn’t take long at all. Just a few days. What took time was the vocals.

With Joey’s ailing health condition, did he expect to be around for the completion of the album and the release and everything?
Definitely. Joey never thought, well maybe to himself but not outwardly, about death. We talked about touring for the record. Even when Joey was at his worst in the hospital we wanted to get out and maybe rock a bit, you know?

Now, as far as the “Ramones” band I heard it put as such that they retired. Was the split a planned thing or what?
Yeah, I think they just felt after 25 years they didn’t want be 50 years old up there doing it and they wanted to quit while they were on top. Like a boxer or some sports people, you know?

How much did you work with Joey after the split as far as gigs and so forth?
I’d get with Joey whenever he was doing anything, I’d play guitar for him if he was doing something live. We did a Ronnie Spector record.

How did that go?
Great. She did a couple of his songs and those guys were always fans of each other so it was pretty exciting all around.

Recoil Magazine

 
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