The Joey Ramone Birthday Bash is back:
- An all-star line-up has been announced for “LIFE’S A GAS – THE ANNUAL JOEY RAMONE BIRTHDAY BASH” 2004 to take place Wednesday, May 19th at Irving Plaza in NYC (doors open at 7:00PM). The legendary lead singer of the “Hall Of Fame” Punk Rock band The Ramones passed away from Lymphatic cancer in 2001. The annual non-profit bash marks the fourth year that JOEY RAMONE’s mother and brother will celebrate the late singer’s birthday by inviting thousands of JOEY ‘s friends and fans to join them.
“LIFE’S A GAS'” perpetuates JOEY’s tradition of presenting the amazing parties he began hosting on his birthday. The eclectic shows ultimately became a highly anticipated annual event that delighted New Yorkers for decades. People now come from all over the world to partake in the celebration of the late singer’s music and spirit.
The BIRTHDAY BASH honors JOEY by presenting the kind of music he loved, continuing his promotion of new talent and keeping NYC’s rock music scene thriving. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Lymphoma Foundation in an effort to combat the disease he battled until his death on April 15, 2001. May 19th would have been the 53rd Birthday of the solo artist and lead singer of The Ramones, known and loved worldwide as “The King of Punk.”
The line-up of bands performing at this year’s BIRTHDAY BASH include Alkaline Trio, The Dickies, Supersuckers, Bebe Buell, Sic F*cks, Slashtones and the all-star Friends of Joey Ramone – formed for the event – consisting of Marky Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys), Jeff Magnum (Dead Boys), Andy Shernoff (The Dictators), Richard Lloyd (Television), Walter Lure (Heartbreakers), Mickey Leigh, and Al Maddy (Joey Ramone’s Solo Record).
Entertainment will be provided throughout the night by the Lucky Devil Circus and Coney Island Sideshow. Special guests scheduled to appear include emcee Matt Pinfield (KROCK, MTV), actress P.J. Soles, (who starred with The Ramones in their film, “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”) and Little Steven (The Bruce Springsteen Band, “The Sopranos”). As in previous years, rare Ramones videos will be screened throughout the show.
Newly added is a Silent Auction of celebrity signed/designed T-shirts and special surprises, to be held during the event offering one of a kind commemorative items from artists such as The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, Blondie, Talking Heads, Bono, Steven Tyler, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck, Lemmy Kilmister/
Motorhead, and many more. All proceeds from the auction will go to The Lymphoma Foundation. Auction items may be previewed on the website and bidding will continue online until Friday, May 21, 2004.
….Admission to the event is 16 years of age and over. Tickets for the BIRTHDAY BASH are now available (with no service charge) at the Irving Plaza box office in person only, 17 Irving Place, New York City (between 15th-16th streets). Box office hours are Monday-Friday Noon-6:30 PM, and Saturday 1:00-4:00PM. Box office phone number is 212-777-6800. Tickets are $20 in advance/ $25 day of show. The Irving Plaza box office accepts cash or American Express charge only. Tickets are also available (with service charge) from Ticketmaster and their outlets or (with TM service charge) from the Clear Channel Entertainment website.
Man, that sounds great.
I picked the Ramones as the 7th most important band in rock history here:
- The Ramones — Dee Dee (bass, vocals), Joey (vocals), Johnny (guitar), Tommy (drums, later replaced by Marky) — were THE American punk band, an endless wellspring of noise, energy, attitude, humor, and (sometimes forgotten) great songs, who helped reinvent rock ‘n’ roll when it needed it most in the mid-’70s.
Working for indie Sire Records in the mid-’70s, producer/talent scout Craig Leon became involved with the percolating New York underground music scene. One summer night in ’75 he went to CBGB’s and saw two bands, the Talking Heads and the Ramones.
“I went to that show and there were literally four people in the audience besides me, but the bands were phenomenal,” Leon told me in an interview. “A lot of people didn’t even think the Ramones could make a record. There were weeks of preproduction on a very basic level: like when the songs started and when they ended. Their early sets were one long song until they ran out of steam or fought. You could see it as a performance art-type thing, where you had a 17-minute concise capsule of everything you ever knew about rock ‘n’ roll, or you could see it as 22 little songs,” he said. They went for the songs.
The Ramones’ first album (’76) is a roaring minimalist icon – the first real American punk record. Layers and layers of accumulated bloat and sheen were stripped away to reveal rock ‘n’ roll at its most basic and vital on songs like “Blitzkreig Bop,” “Beat On the Brat” and “Let’s Dance.” The Ramones’ sound was blazing early-’60s surf music played through the overdriven distortion of Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath. Yet, according to Leon, the Ramones saw themselves as a pop band. “In our naivete, we thought they were going to be bigger than the Beatles. They had even named themselves after Paul McCartney’s early stage name, ‘Paul Ramone,'” Leon said.
While most agree the Ramones’ astonishing first album — which cut through the competition like a 747 in a paper airplane contest — is their most important album, it isn’t my favorite. My favorite is one of the band’s most eccentric, “End of the Century” — produced by the enigmatic pop icon (and now murder suspect) Phil Spector — and the album that explicitly acknowledged such a thing as “pop punk” for the first time.
Recorded in ’79, the album made explicit the connection between early-’60s pop-rock and the punk band’s psyche, and holds up as both a Ramones and a Spector classic – Spector’s idiosyncrasies never overwhelm the roar of “Chinese Rock” or “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School,” and the Spectorish “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio” rollicks with just the right retro touches. The band’s remake of the Ronette’s “Baby I Love You” is as touching as it is fun, and shed a whole new light on singer Joey Ramone (who died in 2002 after a long bout with cancer – I sure do miss that guy).
The 2-CD set “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go” is a spectacular overview of the band, with all of the above songs (except “Baby I Love You”) plus “California Sun,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” “Cretin Hop,” “Rockaway Beach,” “Teenage Lobotomy,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “She’s the One,” “She’s a Sensation,” “We Want the Airwaves” and many, many more.