End Of The Century-The Story Of The Ramones is one of the very best DVD career documentaries I have ever viewed; it is the type of project that deserves consideration for an award.
The Ramones where the heartbeat for a generation of punk rockers and inspired so many bands, it goes beyond words. Ironically, they never really made it when it came to album sales. Sadly, the people that they inspired left them in the dust in that respect. I can see why the band had such a bitter attitude towards the music business and the entire process of getting their music out. They did it their own way and created some of the best rock music every recorded. I emphasize that, it was not just punk – they recorded some great rock-pop songs. They never compromised their ideals and beliefs, they just played.
While I was fascinated watching this story, I was at the time very saddened how it ended. Dee Dee, Joey, and Johnny are all gone now and all that remains is the music, thank God for that. Nobody can ever take that away from us.
This was a crazy group of guys with a lot of fighting going on all the time. There is some early footage of them on stage arguing about what song to play. Members of the band and people associated with them discuss all of the drugs and drinking stories – the typical scenarios in most rock groups – piece by piece. The fact that they were a bunch of street kids from NYC made their chemistry even that much more volatile, and their music was a reflection of their personalities.
This is a snapshot of life, its does not get any more real and honest than this. Everyone interviewed is right up front about everything that happened during the development of the band.
Dee Dee, visibly strung out throughout the interviews, seemed totally whacked out and ended up dying of an overdose of heroin. It is amazing he lasted as long as he did. Johnny was very bitter and painfully honest about everything, many times answering questions with a straight face and a blank unfeeling stare. The head-to-head confrontation between Johnny and Joey really heated up when Johnny stole away Joey’s girlfriend, yet they remained together. Their music was a bond that could not be broken regardless of anything else that happened in their lives.
The legendary nightclub CBGB is discussed at length, Joey talks about how the floor was like a minefield of dog shit and sawdust and the audience was miniscule at the time, yet that is when the buzz about the group started. Of course, as they say, the rest is history, and it is all on this DVD.
There is a lot covered here. I think I will have to watch it again as I am sure I had to miss some points of interest along the way. It is just like a good movie, it has substance, length, and it holds you spellbound through its entirety.
I am one of the guilty people that did not acknowledge this band while they were making their music, all of my realizations of how great they were came long after the fact. Well, I did not miss the boat entirely; I just was not there to see it set sail. Their legend and music lives on and this documentary is surely full of some jolting stories. As Johnny said before he passed away last year – “It’s accurate. It left me disturbed.”
Well, I concur, it left me the same way.
March 13, 2005
-Deleted Scene: “Clem Burke as Elvis Ramone”
-Joey Ramone radio interview from FM 106.3
-Johnny Ramone interview excerpts
-Richie Ramone interview excerpts
-Marky Ramone drum techniques
-Joe Strummer interview excerpts
-Tommy Ramone interview excerpts
-Debbie Harry and Chris Stein interview excerpts
-“Who Wrote What On the First 3 Albums” by Tommy Ramone