"Rights? What are rights? Um, I think we have them."
Despite or because of this level of naive idealism, a documentary about the Ramones may finally come out this summer:
- OVER the last 15 months, "End of the Century," a documentary about punk rock's founding fathers, the Ramones, has been shown at major film festivals in New York, Toronto and Berlin. It has attracted a following among influential figures like Nicolas Cage and the director Jim Jarmusch. It has been praised in Variety, Entertainment Weekly and The Los Angeles Times for its unflinching portrayal of the dysfunction that both fueled and undermined the Ramones.
....The filmmakers, Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields, say the movie has not been released after nearly seven years of work because of the very same tenuous relationships they hoped to document.
With their super-fast, two-minute, three-chord songs, the Ramones almost single-handedly created punk rock in the mid-70's, inspiring bands from the Clash to U2 to Pearl Jam along the way. But while the Ramones presented a united front on their album covers — black leather jackets, canvas Converse sneakers and bowl haircuts — the band was fraught with tension and jealousy among its members. Johnny Ramone, the guitarist, ran the band like a dictator. Dee Dee Ramone, the bassist, was a heroin addict (he died of an overdose in 2002). A cast of drummers came and went because they were either too drunk, too opposed to constant touring or too upset over not getting a larger share of the money from T-shirt sales. And Joey Ramone, the singer, was dumped by his fiancée, Linda, for Johnny in the early 80's. Joey and Johnny did not talk to each other during the 15 more years the Ramones toured until they retired in 1996. Joey and Johnny, in fact, never reconciled before Joey died of lymphatic cancer in April 2001.
....When Mr. Fields and Mr. Gramaglia, now both 40, began the project in 1998, they were novice filmmakers, full of passion and completely lacking in any real sense of how to make a movie. They had met in 1980 at Mamaroneck High School in Westchester County and bonded over cars and the music they both loved — outcast rock like the Buzzcocks, Clash and, of course, the Ramones.