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Natasha & Joey Ramone

— You’ve done “Ramones” covers with your bands “The Intruders” and “The Speedkings”, but until now, never an all-“Ramones” set.
— No, but this is like what Ringo would do when he went out with his band. It’s not a tribute; it’s just a nice thing to do for the fans. Plus, there’s a whole new generation that likes the “Ramones”, so that’s why we wanted to do an all-ages show.

— Is that why you picked “Safari Sam’s”?
— Yes. I’ve played all the Hollywood clubs, and I wanted to play somewhere fresh and new and where everybody could come.

— What else have you been up to?
— I have a radio show on “Sirius” called “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg”, and I just re-released “Punkthology”, a two-CD set featuring my post-“Ramones” solo material, and “Ramones” material with people like Lars Frederiksen, Joan Jett and David Brooks, who I’m playing with now.

— You also played drums with a cartoon-themed band called “Osaka Popstar”.

— Yeah, it’s got Jerry Only from the “Misfits” on bass, Dez Cadena from “Black Flag” on guitar and John Cafiero, the brainchild behind the project, is on vocals. And Ivan Julian from “Richard Hell and The Voidoids”, who I played with on “Blank Generation”. It’s a really cool album and the videos are great, all Japanese-animation inspired. Mostly, though, I’m focused on finishing my book, “Faith and the Back Beat”. It’ll be the ultimate “Ramones” book. It’s from the inside, and I’m telling it all.

— You seemed to be the one Ramone who never had any problems with the other guys.
— Yeah, I was always in the middle. I was best friends with Dee Dee. I played on Joey’s solo album, and I was the only Ramone to visit him in the hospital. And the last thing that Johnny did professionally was the “Raw” DVD that I did with my own footage. We did the commentary together.

— Does David Brooks, your singer, sound like Joey?
— No, I made sure that he didn’t. He has his own style. I would never allow that. There’s so many tribute bands that do that already.

— Is it bittersweet playing these songs?
— I feel that the songs are too good not to be played. I want to do it for those who weren’t old enough to see the “Ramones” together. It’s something that I will continue for the legacy. (Original “Ramones” drummer) Tommy’s not touring. He doesn’t play the drums anymore. So who’s gonna do it? Just some other punk band?

Lina Lecaro, www.laweekly.com

 
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