With tattered jeans, grungy black leather, long unruly hair and three fatal chords that reverbed round the world, The Ramones made as much of an impact on the punk movement in the '70s as Louis Armstrong did for jazz in the '20s, or as The Beatles did for pop-rock in the '60s. While Iggy Pop and The Stooges may have carved the ten commandments of punk into the sternum of late '60s youth, it was these four misfits from Queens that preached it to the downtrodden masses in the '70s with crude anti-anthems like "Beat On The Brat," "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Teenage Lobotomy" and "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue."
Sadly, despite a recent new wave of punk, with the somewhat watered-down but still spirited likes of Green Day, Blink 182, and Rancid spreading the saliva-stained word to the kids of today, the Ramones lead singer and fountainhead of punk, Joey Ramone, has recently left us after a fatal bout with lymphatic cancer last April.
In the wake of this devastating loss to the music world ConcertLivewire contributor Maggie St.Thomas has interviewed the three remaining Ramones - Marky, Johnny and CJ., unearthing many human elements (loss, bitterness, sorrow and hope) from them.
In Part Two of our three part series of Ramones interviews, guitarist and founding member Johnny Ramone, who despite his economy of words, opens up a bit to discuss what's been keeping him busy since the departure of his former band.
Maggie- What have you been up to since the Ramones disbanded?
Johnny- The Ramones stopped in '96. I have been retired, but I still have work with certain Ramones related projects. There are always new products to be dealt with. I'm also very busy with my hobbies, which include baseball and films.
Maggie- What do you collect?
Johnny-I collect movie posters and baseball related items.
Maggie- Any favorite films?
Johnny- As far as film goes, I enjoy all Hollywood films and all horror films like "The Bride of Frankenstein," which also might be my favorite. I like '60s and '70s Italian and Spanish horror films.
Maggie- Who are your favorite artists?
Johnny- My favorite artists have always been Elvis and The Beatles, and they still are!
Maggie- What's your favorite Ramones album?
Johnny- My favorite album would have to be "Rocket To Russia." I feel this album has the most classic Ramones songs.
Maggie- What songs do you most enjoy performing live?
Johnny- As far as my favorite songs to perform live, most of the songs we did live were my favorite. If they weren't, I would have gotten rid of them.
Maggie- What's one thing you've learned in being with The Ramones that you'll never forget or leave behind?
Johnny- I learned very early on to try to never let your fans down. It is the fans that have given me a lot of my happiness.
Part One of "The Ramones Confidentials" with Maggie St. Thomas' interview with drummer Marky Ramone.
Part Three with CJ Ramone