British animator Neil Williams (aka Stelos485) has created two of the coolest punk-related cartoons ever. The animation for the Bad Brains’ “Pay To Cum” is very much like the song and band itself: stripped-down, kinetic and as frenetic as a frog on a hotplate.
Williams’ animation for The Ramones’ “Chainsaw” is an ingenious mix of Saturday morning cartoon visuals, Tobe Hooper’s slice and dice horror films and beach party fright flicks. It’s perfectly in the spirit of The Ramones’ own obsessions and I wish there was one of these cartoons for every Ramones’ song ever recorded.
More of Neil Williams’ work can be viewed on YouTube channel. It is definitely worth a visit. Check out his Beatles’ stuff and an animated version of the notorious Orson Welles’ frozen pea radio ad.
Three aspiring musicians: Richard Hell, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd were looking for a place “where nothing was happening” for their band Television to play. If nothing was happening then the bar owner had nothing to lose. One day, down in the Bowery, Verlaine and Lloyd spotted a place initialed CBGB-OMFUG. They sidled across, went inside and talked to the owner a former singer and musician Hilly Krystal. As Lloyd recalled in Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s essential oral history of punk Please Kill Me, Hilly wanted to know what kinda music they played. They answered with a question:
‘Well, what does ‘CBGB-OMFUG’ stand for?’
He said, ‘Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gourmandizers.’
So we said, ‘Oh yeah, we play a little of that, a little rock, a little country, a little blues, a little bluegrass…’
And Hilly said, ‘Oh, okay, maybe…’
In fact, the only real stipulation for appearing at CBGB’s was to play new music, and although Suicide and Wayne County had already appeared at CBGB’s (after the demise of the Mercer Arts Center), it was not until Television, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads and The Dead Boys started taking up residency that CBGB’s changed from something where nothing happened to somewhere it all happened.
If you were disappointed by the shitty CBGB’s movie made a couple of years back starring Alan Rickman, then you will get a better sense of the energy, talent and musical revolution that took place at CBGB’s in the mid-1970s with this hour-long TV documentary Blitzkrieg Bop . Focussing on The Ramones, Blondie and the The Dead Boys, Blitzkrieg Bop mixes live performance with short interview clips and a racy newscast voiceover. It’s recommended viewing.
Joe Franklin died on Saturday. He was 88. The cause was prostate cancer. The world has lost one of TV’s weirdest and most wonderful wizards of the airwaves.
Joe Franklin was to late night cable TV in New York City what Papaya King was to hot dogs: Manhattan through and through. I watched his show religiously during the late 70’s/early 80’s. After a few shots of Jack Daniels and half a dozen lines of Peruvian flake, there was nothing more mesmerizing than the loopy surrealism of Joe Franklin. His stream of consciousness raps, fractured and deliriously deft, coupled with his vast knowledge of TV, music and movie trivia, was like listening to the Akashic Record of 20th century pop culture being transmitted through an Elf on meth. Franklin was a character in a David Lynch movie before David Lynch had even made a movie. He was a trip. And most of us punk rockers and downtown artists loved him.
My show was often like a zoo,” Franklin said in 2002. “I’d mix Margaret Mead with the man who whistled through his nose, or Richard Nixon with the tap-dancing dentist.
Here’s a wonderful clip from 1988 of Joey and Marky Ramone on The Joe Franklin Show. As you will see, Joey is somewhat in awe of the genius of Joe. And they respected him too much to correct his pronunciation of their name as The Raaaymones.
I gotta give props to Joe’s sidekick, bug-eyed deejay Paul Cavalconte, for being ultra-hip, despite The Smiths question.
It’s been a good decade-plus now, but at some point wearing faded band t-shirts from the 1970s and early 1980s started to become a trendy thing to do. Eventually celebrities got in on the act, and these days the very famous are frequently photographed sporting vintage (or faux vintage) band tees.
The t-shirt that’s all the rage amongst actors and pop stars is the one featuring the classic Ramones logo (seen above). The iconic tee has been worn with pride by faithful Ramones fans for nearly forty years, and that logo is so freakin’ awesome that its coolness couldn’t help but rub off on the punks who wore the shirt—partially due to the fact that even members of the Ramones could be seen in a Ramones t-shirt.
But now the rich and powerful want a piece of the hip pie, too. Knowing the group’s music doesn’t even seem to be a prerequisite for these celebs (does anyone really think Paris Hilton listens to the Ramones?).
Who knows, maybe Harry Styles from teen pop sensation One Direction actually likes the leather-clad punks from Queens, but he seems to over-compensating or something, as there’s a shit-ton of photos of him online dressed in the iconic t-shirt.
Like Harry, most opt for the classic logo, but really any Ramones shirt will do.
Megan Fox prefers Marky Ramone
Image-conscious celebrities co-opting cool isn’t anything new, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe they genuinely appreciate the Ramones and are using their platform to expose the masses to the band. Perhaps we should be thanking them for keeping the spirit of punk alive?
More celebrities in Ramones t-shirts after the jump…
Well here’s something kind of strange and wonderful: The Ramones playing on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in September of 1989. The choice of songs couldn’t be more appropriate: “I Believe In Miracles” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.” This was C.J.‘s debut gig with the band and it must have been a particularly surreal initiation for the newly adopted Ramone.
Nothing of any great consequence occurred during this 1988 interview with America’s then favorite surrogate TV husband and wife, Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford, but it’s fun to watch. The punk rock legends on their morning gabfest to promote Ramones Mania, their greatest hits album.
Regis and Kathie Lee ask them about working with Phil Spector, about whether their “cult” status has constricted them in any way, and about their Brooklyn/Queens background. Regis mocks the very idea of a song being called “I Wanna Be Sedated” or “Teenage Lobotomy” and even insists that Joey tell him the opening lines of the latter.
Eventually everyone ends up somehow agreeing that really Dee Dee ought to be the focus, and Kathie Lee asks him about navigating ten years of marriage when groupies are part of the equation. The Ramones seemed genuinely happy to be there, and Regis and Kathie Lee, pros both, seemed perfectly happy to have them there.
I gotta tell you—as a New Yorker, I could listen to those Ramones accents all day long.
Poor Dee Dee. He went through so much in his life! An erratic childhood with an alcoholic father, heroin addiction, working with Johnny Ramone—the list goes on! But nothing, and I mean nothing excuses his foray into rapping. Below is his single, “Funky Man,” recorded in 1987 as “Dee Dee King.” Listen, if you dare.
One thing in his favor, Dee Dee was a legitimate hip-hop fan, and he was really dedicated to trying to contribute something new and meaningful to the genre. Unfortunately, this also meant that he started to wear track suits and gold chains. According to legend, Johnny Ramone refused to board a plane with him until he changed back into his Ramones “uniform.” He even quit The Ramones in 1989, citing a focus on his rap career as the impetus for the decision.
Dee Dee later expressed regret at his rap venture, acknowledging the project was a bust.
In the ongoing debate (which shoulda been settled years ago) of whether 70s punk started in New York or London, I think Joe Strummer in this performance is sending the message that it started with four guys from Queens, New York. I know in the big scheme of things this ain’t a whole lotta much of nuthin’. But for some of us old punkers, it is a bone of contention. And punk is all about contention
And this should shut the mouth of the idiots who continue to claim punk originated in England.
Case fucking closed. The Ramones started it. The Clash took the energy and ran with it. The Pistols pissed it away.
Phil Spector produced the Ramones’ 1980 album End of the Century. At one point during the recording sessions in Los Angeles, Spector held Dee Dee Ramone at gunpoint, and forced him to play the same riff over and over again.
Perhaps because the King of Mono was still on the outside at the time this interview was filmed, one gets the distinct feeling watching it that the boys from Forest Hills were holding something back…
Joey was the biggest Spector freak in the band. Note how he doesn’t say a word..
Ferocious live footage of the Ramones at the State Theatre in Minneapolis from Wylde Rice, a super-hip Minnesota PBS show of the time. Backstage, the boys discuss the punk scene in England, dismiss the notion of punk “politics” and the reporting of violence at punk gigs as overblown.
They start off with a great “Rockaway Beach” and later rip through “California Sun” and “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Shot on January 21, 1978. The Runaways were the opening act!
‘We are. We are The Ramones. And you, you heard it first, right here,’ says Joey Ramone at the start of this gig from October 5th, 1981. The ‘right here’ was the Second Chance Saloon, Ann Arbor, which was one of The Ramones’ favorite clubs. The concert lasts just over an hour, and The Ramones get through 28 songs. Sometimes you need it hard and fast, so here it is.
01. “Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio?”
02. “Do You Wanna Dance?”
03. “Blitzkrieg Bop”
04. “This Business Is Killing Me”
05. “All’s Quiet On The Eastern Front”
06. “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment”
07. “Rock & Roll High School”
08. “I Wanna Be Sedated”
09. “Beat On The Brat”
10. “The KKK Took My Baby Away”
11. “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”
12. “You Sound Like You’re Sick”
13. “Suzy Is A Headbanger”
14. “Let’s Dance”
15. “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”
16. “I’m Affected”
17. “Chinese Rock”
18. “Rockaway Beach”
19. “Teenage Lobotomy”
20. “Surfin’ Bird”
21. “Cretin Hop”
22. “California Sun”
23. “Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World”
25. “Come On Now”
26. “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You”
27. “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker”
28. “We Want The Airwaves”
Then the tape cuts out before the last 2 songs, which were “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do” and “We’re A Happy Family”. But hey-ho, it was good while it lasted.
Among his many accomplishments, Joey Ramone also played a small but significant role in Bruce Springsteen’s musical career, as Bruce himself related in his liner notes for 1995’s Greatest Hits: “I met The Ramones in Asbury Park and Joey asked me to write a song for ‘em. I went home that night and wrote this. I played it for Jon Landau and, earning his money, he advised me to keep it.” The song in question? “Hungry Heart,” which in 1980 became the first Top Ten hit both written and recorded by Springsteen.
Joey Ramone’s own hilarious recollection of asking Bruce for a song, filmed during a 1995 radio interview, appears as part of a bonus video segment on the DVD of End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones, the great no-holds-barred documentary on the triumphs and tragedies of the band’s career. In grand punk tradition, Ramone humorously berated “that Landau guy” and remarked that Springsteen “owes us.” When the interviewer suggested that perhaps Bruce could sit in with the band sometime, Joey replied that The Ramones didn’t want to be onstage with “some Jersey boy screwin’ up our song” if he couldn’t keep up with their ultra-fast playing. Ramone did, however, conclude the interview on a slightly more serious note by expressing “admiration” for Springsteen.
Here’s Springsteen covering The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.” Boston, April 22 2009. Not bad, but Springsteen ain’t no Johnny Ramone.
While no one will mistake this for a historic meeting of the minds, it does have its odd charm. The Marshall McLuhan of punk Billy Idol chats with Timothy Leary about rock n’ roll, cyberspace and computers. “Pretty deep,” Joey Ramone observes while Television (the band) let old skool technologies like drums and guitars do the talking.