The Ramones appeared on Nickelodeon’s Livewire in 1981, on the cusp of the release of their Pleasant Dreams LP. It could have just been a cool artifact of an important punk band incongruously showing up on a kids show. But no, some self-satisfied little weed decided to ask a wiseass question about producer Phil Spector’s involvement with the End of the Century album, not to actually find out the answer, but to show off how all “insidery” he was and to belittle the band.
To their immense credit, The Ramones answered the smartass’ pitifully thrown gauntlet with a great deal of class. Joey starts strong, and though he drifts off-topic, Johnny saves the moment with a succinct and thoughtful statement of purpose.
An amusing aside: when you go to the YouTube page for this video—which you’ll have to if you want to watch it, as embedding, unfortunately, is disabled—the uploader makes the claim that the smirking brat is a young Marilyn Manson. I think the differences in appearance outweigh the admittedly striking similarities. Not only is this trying-too-hard little fistpuppet’s facial structure not quite like Manson’s (cheeks and chin are both much wider), Manson spent his childhood and teens in Ohio and Florida, and the eminently punchable, way-too-proud-of-itself assface of the smug little taintbreather in the video is emitting an accent that’s pure New York. Plus, Manson would have been 12 then, and this kid seems more like 14 or 15 to me. Not ruling out the possibility altogether, and I certainly don’t fancy myself the last word on it, but my best educated guess/hunch is “nuh-uh.”
Behold: a wasteland where proper awe in the presence of genius vanishes like flatus into a squall.
Behold: actual young Marilyn Manson. I say “very close but no cigar,” but judge for yourself.
Lastly, what might have been a fine money-shot fades out too quickly, but stay attentive at the end, and you’ll catch Joey’s answer to the question from the girl in the awesomely Welcome Back Kotterish outfit. She, her question, and Joey’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it answer are all fantastic.