MY TRIP TO BERLIN IN APRIL, 2007

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Copyright 2007 -> : Text and photos: Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone.

This story of my trip to Berlin, Germany has lot Ramoniac elements. Beside the shows I got chance to visit finally the Ramones Museum Berlin etc.


Ramones fan and New York Waste writer called Thomas G wrote to me great news on February 28, 2007 how he and Dee Jaywalker were offered Walter Lure to do a mini tour in Europe in April. Walter Lure wasn't performed in Europe in 20 years! Walter gave a call to Marky Ramone who highly recommended Dee Jaywalker. Tour got confirmed!
Walter Lure is a legendary musician. The most well people remember him from the Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers. I have been surprised that many punkrock fans doesn't seem to know that in how big role Walter was in The Heartbreakers. He wrote and sang many great tunes.
Like many of you knows, Walter has been performing also in many Joey Ramone Birthday Memory Bashes in New York. He has nowadays a band called The Waldos. During the last few years I got to know with him and we have been E-mailing regularly. I have been doing long interview with Walter Lure of his Ramones memories, experiences, opinions etc. to my third book. He has told me lot great Ramones stories.
(Update in 2009: After reading his interview on my third book Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives you will discover what Walter Lure's role was on three Ramones albums. It was bigger than what most Ramones fans could have realized. In addition, Walter never received full credit despite having played guitar on many Ramones tracks... )

Dee Jaywalker has played for example in Marky Ramone & The SpeedKings group. Marky Ramone & The SpeedKing split up on March 13, 2004. Jaywalker has been playing punk since late 70's. He is still active musician. His solo album was released by Nicotine Records (Italy) in 2006. It contains for example great surf version of the Ramones song Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment.
Thomas G and Dee Jaywalker wrote to me that together with Walter (vocals and guitar) and Jaywalker (guitar and vocals) will play in this tour Paolo Serlino (drums), Rina Regina (bass and back vocals) and Annette Gucci (guitar and back vocals).

Dates and venues of the tour:
April 6, 2007, Deep Inside, Dijon, France.
April 7, 2007, Cscs Valdegour, Nimes, France.
April 8, 2007, Le Local, St-Etienne, France.
April 10, 2007, Mondo Bizzaro, Rennes, France.
April 11, 2007, Le Reve D'Herbert, Lille, France.
April 13, 2007, Chemiefabrik, Dresden, Germany.
April 14, 2007, Wild At Heart, Berlin, Germany.

I was E-mailing with Walter Lure, Thomas G and Dee Jaywalker before the shows. They wrote that the show in Orleans, France was cancelled at the last minute unfortunately. Walter told that they will perform songs by the Heartbreakers as a tribute to the band and to celebrate 30 years of punkrock. As well Walter and Jaywalker wrote to me that they will play Chinese Rocks as a tribute to Dee Dee Ramone on every night on this tour. I got information that the Ramones tribute band called Commando is playing in Berlin. I added info of it to my page as well.
After I put infos of this tour to my site I got many E-mails from people who were excited of the shows in advance. I also naturally informed my Finnish friends who are huge fans of the Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers etc. Like Johnny Thunders is one of the main idol for the Arde (Arska). Currently he does play in The Voodoo Nights. Arde is also in my first books Heaven Needed A Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone and Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone. Of the friends of me and Arde for example Simo "Simppa" Wilberg got interested of the tour. Simppa's current bands are Strikin' Case and Sister Manik. Soon we three started to make plans to travel to the show in Berlin, Germany. I booked our flights and hotel on April 2, 2007. Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue was while before touring in Germany together with the Negative. Then one of the shows was at the Wild At Heart in Berlin, at the same place where Walter Lure was playing now. I also confirmed with Walter that Arde would play guitar in Chinese Rocks. Sadly it didn't then happen at the show because stage was too small.


MARYSLIM DAY BEFORE WALTER
I travelled to Tampere where Arde lives. We went to see show of the Rendez-vous on April 12, 2007. Also Parasite City and Dear Superstar played then. Next day had our flights. Our hotel was great and also cheap. It was called The Mercure Berlin Tempelhof Airport. Few weeks later I E-mailed with Frederique Collard (Ramones fan from French), she was also going to Berlin and she was as well happily shocked of the hotel prices in Berlin.
We decided to go the Wild At Heart also on April 13 because Swedish band called Maryslim was playing there then. I was happy to enter finally that club where Marky Ramone & The SpeedKings recorded their live album on December 31, 2001. You can catch live spirit of that show also from the That's Life At The Wild At Heart Vol. 1 collection released by club and from Rawk Over Scandinavia! EP by Woimasointu. I was so happy to see there after some years Maryslim members. With bassist Urrke and singer Mats I talked most. Last time I was met them at the release party of the Ramones tribute album called The Song Ramones The Same in Sweden on April 15, 2002 (exactly one year after Joey became an angel). The Song Ramones The Same was released by White Jazz records. Also White Jazz released for example albums by the Hellacopters, Nomads, Backyard Babies etc. Nowadays it's owner Calle von Schewen run label called Wild Kingdom Records. Wild Kingdom Records released third Maryslim album titled A Perfect Mess in spring 2007. I should have known that Calle von Schewen also tour with the Maryslim, so it was time to change more hugs. I was happy to introduce Calle to Arde and Simppa. Calle introduced me to nice lady called Pia And (yeah, her surname is And) who is their manager and booking agent. I asked from the bartender who are the owners of the Wild At Heart. Soon I was discussing with Lea and Uli Reise. I found out that they were also really friendly person. I, Arde and Simppa talked with them of the show in next day and got many things confirmed. I also did show to them my books, Lea wanted to buy copies for herself and as well to the Wild At Heart store. Uli plays in a band called Church Of Confidence which combines punk'N'roll and rock'N'roll.
We met during that night Marianne "Maly" Baar and her friend Magali Herzog. We had fun time with them. Maly did show to us her extra cool tattoos, in her back was huge dragon and also she had big dragon tattoo in her leg etc.


COMMENTS BY WALTER LURE
We were back in our hotel around 3-4AM. Next day was that show by Walter Lure, Dee Jaywalker etc. We met Walter, Jaywalker, Paolo, Regine, Annette and Thomas around 6:00PM at the Wild At Heart. It was big moment for Arde and Simppa. They met a man who has been writing many songs from their all-time-favourite list. Walter is really friendly as a person and with him is easy to speak first time. I was taking some photos of Walter, Arde and Simppa together and of Walter, Jaywalker, Paolo, Regine and Annette as a band.
Walter told us that he enjoyed the tour very much.
- The shows were good for the most part with the exception of Strasbourg where they pulled the plug on the amplifiers after four songs because the club owner said we were too loud and the police wanted to shut the club down. The tour was good but some of the hotels could have been better. The shows could have been booked in cities a little closer to one another but sometimes that cannot be avoided. The travel time in a van sometimes makes you bored to death just sitting and staring out windows. At least the weather was good and we didn't have any major problems, explained Walter Lure.
- The tours back in the late 70's and early 80's were a lot different than the one I just did. The Heartbreakers drew a lot more people to the shows and we were a hot band at the time. Europe loved us, especially Paris where we played Bataclan and Gibus. Holland wasn't as crowded as France and Britain was - I guess the Dutch weren't into punkrock that much at the time - I think they caught on later. The British kids also went crazy over us. There are still people who like Heartbreakers and Waldos music in Europe but I think a lot less than before - so many new bands have come and gone since then that people's tastes change as time goes on. It's natural, said Walter.

Of course Arde and Simppa asked from Walter questions and opinions of Johnny Thunders as well. I did with Walter newspaper interview and for it I asked if he want to mention some things why he think that Thunders was so especial as a musician?
- Johnny Thunders was special as a musician because he was unique in the way he played. He didn't know a lot of technical music stuff but the little he did know was used very well. Nobody else ever played like him or got the same sound as he did. His songs were also very solid and rocking. He was very difficult as a person and often didn't complete projects he started on but when he did finish something it was usually very special, said Walter honestly.
Like many of you knows, Johnny Thunders passed away in 1991. One year earlier Dee Dee Ramone recorded songs together with him Stiv Bator, Kris Dollimore, Neil Larsen and Stephen Ritchie (Vom of the Die Toten Hosen) in Paris in 1990. 8 tracks were released on CD under the name Stiv Bator: Last Race in 1996. One of the songs was Poison Heart which Ramones also recorded later on for Mondo Bizarro.


SALMIAKKIKOSSU AND COMMANDO
I wasn't met with Dee Jaywalker for a long time, not since I toured another time with the Marky Ramone & The SpeedKings in Scandinavia in 2001. Before this tour he had one wish for me: "Make sure you have some of that black-liquer with ya..." Jaywalker did remember Finnish strong alcohol called Salmiakkikossu from those Marky Ramone & The SpeedKings tours in 2001. It is really sweet salmiac liquer. I had then six years ago brought them with me as a gift to the guys. You should have seen happy face of Jaywalker after I took another Salmiakkikossu bottle from my pack now in Berlin. I also wanted to offer some shots to Lea and Uli Reise. They knew already that. Lea told me how her Finnish friend was promised to bring few times Salmiakkikossu for her from Finland.

The Ramones tribute band Commando climbed on stage soon and of course we were watching them in first lines. I was talked with the Commando members shortly before the show. I wasn't met them before. Their first four songs were Durango 95, Teenage Lobotomy, Commando and Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. They were pretty great. Especially singer was good and energetic, he had a black wig and black leather jacket in eight first songs. Then it was probably too hot... Singer put himself into the show well for example in You're Gonna Kill That Girl. Commando guys were changed lyrics a bit in some songs. Set had many songs which had mentions of the Germany.
They played lot songs from first albums, like many Ramones tribute bands does. I was pogoing for example in a rhythms of I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement, Rockaway Beach, Suzy Is A Headbanger and We're A Happy Family. During the Pinhead also Pinhead appeared on stage with the Gabba Gabba Hey sign. Stage was pretty small. It was only negative thing in the Wild At Heart. Last songs were Blitzkrieg Bop, Somebody Put Something In My Drink, Beat On The Brat and Glad To See You Go. I was pretty satisfied to the show of the Commando.


WALTER LURE ON STAGE
People got more and more excited, Walter Lure was going to enter stage. Wild At Heart was well crowded. Walter, Jaywalker, Paolo, Regine and Annette started their set around 10:30PM. One Track Mind again did show it's power, how catchy it is. Too Much Junkie Business and Get Off The Phone made me pogoing. I had seen Walter at live in past few years many times. Simppa and Arde were so happy to discover that his guitar playing skills were still in top level, he really is a living legend and one of the finest punk guitarist ever. Also Jaywalker, Paolo, Regine and Annette were doing great job. They played some Waldos tunes too.
I had tears in my eyes when Chinese Rocks started. So Dee Dee wrote it and they dedicated it to our angel. A while later day changed, it was April, 15. I was sending hugs to Joey, I was thinking how Joey Ramone passed away in that day six years earlier... A while after the show I was talking with Walter and Calle (who also attended this show) of the Joey. We had some drinks in a memory of Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny. Lea and Uli Reise were also so friendly through the night.

(Updated in November 2008: From this show was published live CD titled Live In Berlin in November, 2008. CD version is released by Nicotine Records (Italy) and LP version by Tornado Ride Records (Italy). CD has fourteen songs.)


RAMONES MUSEUM BERLIN
Next morning Arde and Simppa had a flight back to Finland. I forwarded to the Ramones Museum Berlin. I found it pretty easily. Day was Sunday. Florian Hayler run the museum, he was E-mailed to me that he's in the USA until Monday. We had plans to meet in Monday, but it didn't happen. Mareike Meyer was taking care of the Ramones Museum Berlin when I entered it. I had excited. So Ramones Museum Berlin is first real Ramones museum in a world. When you go there, you can be sure that you see items that you hasn't seen before. Like I wasn't heard before of this item: "In 1986, the Swiss record label of the Ramones decided to promote the release of Crummy Stuff single with this roll of cookies, that was sent out to journalists and record shops throughout the country. One of these packs survived and ended up here."
How many of you has seen promotional T-shirts of the first albums or of the Subterranean Jungle album or scarf of the Animal Boy tour or shorts of the Australian tour in 1989 and 1991? Even through Ebay you have to be really lucky to get them.
Promotional baseball bat is one of the most famous Ramones promo item, you can see it on museum as well. There is made USA and UK versions of the bat, bats promoted debut album of our heroes.
Personally I was surprised of it how well Florian had got to his collection different promotional Ramones shirts. There were also tour T-shirts, like from the first tour in Japan in 1980 and from the last South-American show in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 16, 1996.
Through setlists you can return for example to the show in Hartford, Connecticut, USA on December 2, 1995. Four days later Joey, Johnny, Marky and CJ Ramone signed leather jacket in Binghampton, New York, USA which is now at the museum.
CJ's stage used bass strap and Joey's stage glove were also in museum.
Max's Kansas City drink menu from 1976 was great to see, that venue had then own drinks to each band that performed at the venue on a regular basis. So there was also one Ramones drink.
From early days there were many magazines, like Finnish Soundi magazine from 1977.
You can buy some products in museum, like you can purchase there T-shirts of the museum, my Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone book and Todos Somos Ramones tribute album.

Some people were wrote to me that the museum is small. I think it was well done and there was enough space. If it would be bigger, then rent expenses etc. would be also higher. Information papers tell well of the items to the people who doesn't know the Ramones so well. From the guest book you got chance to see that there has been visitors widely.


THE 69 EYES
I was sending SMS's with guitarist Bazie of The 69 Eyes in Saturday. They had show at the Postbahnhof, Berlin in Sunday. Bazie put me to the guest list and also he gave me an photo pass. I met with Maly and her another friend Monique Otto before the show. I had to look again her cool tattoos closer, they were so special. Maryslim and Wednesday 13 were playing before The 69 Eyes. I enjoyed Maryslim show again. For many Ramones fans it will be a surprise that there's really a big Ramones fan background within the members of The 69 Eyes. I have been fan of them since their debut album was released in 1992. The 69 Eyes used to play Ramones songs during their shows back in the mid 90's. Material by The 69 Eyes is also in my books. Before the tour in Germany they were touring long time in the USA together with the Cradle Of Filth. Texas Terri was special guest at the show in Postbahnhof. Also some Wednesday 13 members were on stage, it was good kind of chaos. We had really great after party on backstage. Then we headed from backstage to the official after party which was held at the Wild At Heart. It was a long night...

Next day I travelled to the zoo which was founded in 1844. It presents the most diverse range of species in the world (1 400). There's in all 14 000 animals. Berlin Zoo has been lot in different medias in 2007 because the little polar bear called Knut, it was born on December 5, 2006. Knut is the first polar bear to be born in Berlin Zoo in over 30 years. But then I found out that zoo got closed at 6PM!! So early!! So I missed it. During the day I was sent SMS's with Maly and I met her and Monique at the Wild At Heart (surprise). When we were discussing, Salomon, Carola Marquardt and Doro Seifrt asked us to join their table. They were also having fun night. One of them wanted to offer for me sambuca drink with flames. To the drink was put coffee beans and then it was put to the fire. It was cool experience.
Soon it was time of long hugs with Maly and Monique. I had to return to the hotel and pack my items.


NOMEANSNO
Next day in airport I met with a really great Finnish punkrocker called Jukkeli. We both laughed because we have met also before in foreign countries. Jukkeli told me that NoMeansNo were going to play in Tampere, Finland in next day. I couldn't understand how I wasn't heard of their mini-tour in Finland. I was planned to stay few days in Helsinki, but after that news I headed to Tampere in a same bus with Jukkeli. I was staying again in a house of Arde.
NoMeansNo has no deal with any label at the moment in Finland. So I decided to call to Tero Viikari who is another main man behind of the Klubi venue where NoMeansNo were playing in Tampere. I know with Tero in advance. One release party of my first book was also at the Klubi. My mighty Ramones friends Randy Wisebrod and Shazz Carrington were told of me to the NoMeansNo guys in past in Canada and they were tried to organise book interview. With a help by Tero Viikari I got confirmed interview with NoMeansNo singer-bassist Rob Wrigh. So it comes to my third book. NoMeansNo played more than 1,5 hours, people really enjoyed of the show which had songs like Two Lips, Two Lungs And One Tongue, Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed, Big Dick and Now.
Next day I had another book interview, I did it with Negative singer Jonne Aaron. After that was time to return to my city Kauhajoki.

(Update in 2009: You will find both interviews, Rob Wright's and Jonne's from third book Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives

Copyright 2007 -> : Text and photos: Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone.

1) BACK TO INDEX OF CONCERT REPORTS.
2) BACK TO FRONT PAGE OF MY RAMONES SITE.