DEE DEE RAMONE TRIBUTE CONCERT AT CONTINENTAL IN JULY 2, 2002 BY MARKY, CJ, TOMMY ETC. ETC.

Copyrightł 2002 : Linda Iorio, Ida S. Langsam and Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone.

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REVIEW BY: LINDA IORIO
PRESS RELEASE BY: ISL PUBLIC RELATIONS/ IDA S LANGSAM


These photos of the Marky, CJ and Tommy Ramone and more of the evening have been posted on the Continental website and can be viewed at http://www.continentalnyc.com/deedee.


REVIEW BY: LINDA IORIO

Tuesday nite, July 2, I went to the Dee Dee Ramone tribute at the Continental Club. It was fantastic. $15 to get in, and the money went to UNICEF in Dee Dee's name. They were handing out FREE copies of Lobotomy and Chelsea Horror Hotel, 2 of Dee Dee's books. I already have them but took 'em anyway to give to a friend. There was a big black and white photo of Dee Dee hanging from the Continental sign on the wall behind the stage, right above the drum kit. It was a photo of Dee Dee you may have seen before, he's shirtless, looking down as he's playing a guitar, with a crucifix on the wall behind him. I thought this was a great choice of a photo to hang. I'm not sure, but I think the photo was taken when he lived at the Chelsea Hotel. I just say enough how I thought it was such an appropriate photo. The drums and Marshall amps stayed on stage all night, as various bands plugged in their guitars for their sets. Good organizing on Trigger's part (he's the owner of the club). Each band played 2 songs, all Ramones songs, but I think The Toilet Boys did an original; I can't remember. Only about a 10 minute break between each band.
I didn't know all the bands, but those that I remember were the aforementioned Toilet Boys, who I thought were great. Loud, fast, and full of aggression. However, I didn't like their lead singer and I don't mean his voice. He was a man dressed as a woman, with makeup and the whole bit. While I am respectful of people's sexual preferences, I do have a slight problem with people who can't make up their mind which gender they are. Then again, I love The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whatever. Jerry Only of The Misfits was present, decked out shirtless, in black spandex pants, knee-length gothic boots, trademark black patches under his eyes and a black spike of hair coming down between his eyes. He played and sang with 2 different bands, one which I think was the Misfits but I'm not sure since I've never seen them before. He was great, and a totally sincere, down to earth guy who pleaded with the audience to live a clean and healthy life in honor of Dee Dee. He said he was tired of burying all his friends. Can't blame the guy.

The Bullys played, minus a band member/firefighter who died at the World Trade Center on September 11. Mickey Leigh (Joey Ramone's brother) played, and he acknowledged the Forest Hills High School T-shirt I was wearing. The shirt belonged to my friend Ritchie - it was his old high school gym shirt - yes he went to Forest Hills High, but when he showed it to me last weekend, I informed him that the shirt now belonged to me, thank you. Walter Lure played (of The Waldos), formerly a cohort of Johnny Thunders if I have my facts straight. Jesse Malin did a really great version of Questioningly. A few singers who I didn't know guested on songs here and there, including some blonde girl with a great voice. I think it's really cool for a girl to do a Ramones song, and do it good. Trigger spoke from the stage telling us how the event came together. He wanted to have a tribute to Dee Dee, so he called Marky Ramone, who agreed. Marky said, "If we're gonna do this, let's do it right.". CJ Ramone was quoted as saying "Dee Dee was like a big brother to me. Just tell me when and where and I'll be there."

Barbara (Dee Dee's wife) was consulted on the event, and it was her suggestion to have the money go to UNICEF in Dee Dee's name. Trigger said that none of the bands wanted money to play - very very cool indeed and their hearts were in the right place. He said he had to turn bands away because so many wanted to play, so perhaps that's why each band only did 2 songs. Daniel Rey, the "fifth" Ramone, according to Trigger, seemed to be the "musical director". Trigger said that Joey Ramone always advised him to "call Daniel" when arranging an event. Daniel sure gets around - I saw him 2 weeks ago playing lead guitar in Ronnie Spector's band at the Stone Pony, and I also spotted him at a Roy Wood show at the Underground back in April.

After Trigger's speech, they played a video on the TV above the bar of some interviews with Dee Dee. The sound went through the club's PA so everyone could hear it. I was at the front of the stage so I couldn't see the TV, but afterwards I moved to the back of the club and they were still showing the video most of the night, minus the sound. It was a little surreal and sad to see live footage of Dee Dee. Monte Melnick, longtime manager of the Ramones, was there. I spotted Marky in the audience and it was pretty cool how the musicians were mingling with us regular folks. At one point, Marky came on stage and said a few nice words about Dee Dee and thanked everyone for coming, then settled behind the drum kit to bang away with various bands. The house drummer, so to speak, for the last half of the night.

I might have left out a band or two. The highlight of the night was when Daniel Rey, CJ and Marky did a blistering, blasted set of Ramones tunes. CJ and Daniel took turns on lead vocals. At this point I moved to the back of the club, because the claustrophobic feeling of being at the front, in the 90+ degree heat was too much to bear, and I had it with the bimbo in front of me constantly flipping her hair in my face. It was a thrill to be up that close to see Marky playing the drums with Jerry Only's band. Marky had on dark sunglasses, and faded jeans with holes in the knees. No Converse tho. He makes playing the drums look so effortless. I've never seen a drummer with such tight arms, with nary a movement. It think he once said "It's all in the wrist.". I do think he's one of the best drummers in music, period. As if it couldn't get any better, it did. Tommy Ramone came on stage, and sang a great version of I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. Who knew he could sing so well. It was great. I had never seen the Ramones with Tommy, so this was a huge thrill for me. When the band blasted into Blitzkrieg Bop (the Punk National Anthem in my opinion), I went nuts with excitement and dancing fever. I was already drenched from the stifling heat of the club, but it was time to totally let loose. I felt like a total punk, with holes in my T-shirt, blood stains from my finger that I cut earlier in the night, drenched in sweat, my hair a mess, and yeah, Converse sneaks (the stars and stripes in honor of Fourth of July). I was dancing and bouncing like a banshee, when Mickey Leigh was by the bar and spotted me (or my T-shirt) again and I said hi and told him I was "Linda, your friend from Jersey". I think he remembered me because I met him and Charlotte at Joey's grave on this past April 14. He asked me if I went to Forest Hills High, but I told him Ritchie did, who was standing next to me. For some reason Mickey seemed really surprised about that as he conversed (amidst the blaring band) with Ritchie. Last fall I tried to arrange a bass audition for Ritchie in Mickey's band, but alas, it never happened. In case you don't know, Mickey is currently writing a book about Joey.

At the end of the night I went downstairs to use the bathroom, and there was a mass of people at the bottom of the stairs. It was like the Ramones' receiving line. First was Mickey Leigh, then Tommy Ramone, then Monte Melnick. I said hi again to Mickey, acknowledged Tommy and said it was great of him to come, and Monte said to me "Hey, my alma matter, class of '66!" (that T-shirt again). I probably could have chatted with them, but sometimes I can be a little shy and not know what to say when in the presence of Rock (or should I say Punk) Royalty. What stuck in my mind the most about the whole night was how well Dee Dee was loved. I remember reading in Lobotomy that Dee Dee felt like an outcast in the Ramones, that he felt he didn't fit in with anybody, and the only person he got along with was Joey. It was obvious that tonight, everyone who was there, was there because they loved Dee Dee. He obviously had a tremendous impact on people, and was well-loved despite what he thought. Each band had good things to say about Dee Dee, and the influence he was on their musical careers. Even the audience was in joyous rapture throughout the night, with many cameras and videocameras capturing the event. I hope Dee Dee was happy up in heaven that night, watching down on all us punks celebrating his life. I hope he finds peace and comfort knowing that. I'm sure Joey was right at his side saying, "Look at this!! Can ya believe it, little bro?"

(Thanks: Linda Iorio)


PRESS RELEASE BY: ISL PUBLIC RELATIONS/ IDA S LANGSAM

"This was a very special evening. The bands, the Ramones' fans and the atmosphere in the club were charged with a feeling of great love and appreciation for what Dee Dee Ramone brought to our lives." So stated Trigger, owner of legendary New York City club Continental, who created the idea for and donated the use of his venue to a very special musical event called "A Tribute To Our Friend Dee Dee Ramone." The concert took place Tuesday evening, July 2nd, just one month after punk rock icon Dee Dee Ramone died in his Los Angeles home.

Dee Dee and his band mates were frequent visitors to Continental, both as audience members and performers on stage. After leaving The Ramones, Dee Dee often played at the club with his new groups. Trigger explains: "I wanted to do something to honor his memory, and approached Marky (Ramone). He immediately said 'Yes, but let's do it right.' CJ (Ramone) told me 'I'm there - Dee Dee was like a big brother to me.' (Ramones record producer) Daniel Rey was also very enthusiastic about it." And so the event was born, with superstars of the NY music scene coming out to pay homage to the man known as the quintessential punk rocker.

Dee Dee's widow Barbara gave her blessing to the event, requesting that proceeds be donated to UNICEF. The "house band" was formed with Marky on drums, CJ on bass and Daniel on guitar, and as word spread in the rock and roll community, musicians came forward on very little notice to donate their talents without payment. Drawing appearances by the likes of Dictators' Handsome Dick Manitoba, the Misfits' Jerry Only, Murphy's Law's Jimmy G, the Hearthbreakers' Walter Lure, the Lunachicks' Theo, and special surprise guest Tommy Ramone, the evening also featured up and coming bands performing their renditions of classic Ramones songs. The entire proceeds from the $15 ticket price went to UNICEF resulting in a check for several thousand dollars to the charity. As Continental's doors opened at 9PM, the line waiting to get in stretched around the block, and the evening became an instant sold out success. Free copies of Dee Dee's books (autobiography "Lobotomy" and novel "Chelsea Horror Hotel") were handed out to the first few hundred patrons, courtesy of the publisher. Throughout the night, the audience was treated to amazing renditions of Ramones songs by a wide array of rock and roll's finest musicians.

Fans and bands alike paid homage to Dee Dee all night in words and song. The stage was simply adorned with an oversized black and white photo of Dee Dee playing his guitar, his expression showing all his love and emotion for his craft. Serving as the evening's MC, Jerry Only (The Misfits) said: "Dee Dee was 'the man'. He was unpredictable and spontaneous. I enjoyed his company and his music. He was my friend and my brother. I will always keep him in my heart." Musically, the evening kicked off with a rousing two-tune set by Charm School ("Ramona"), followed by buzz band the Star Spangles ("53rd & 3rd," "Time Bomb"), Furious George ("Betty Crocker," "Today Your Love‚...") led by New York Press columnist George Tabb, and the Toilet Boys ("Carbona Not Glue," "I Just Want To Have Something To Do") fronted by transsexual lead singer Miss Guy. Lead guitarist Sean Pierce felt: "Dee Dee was awesome, he was really cool, he really treated us right as a band and as people. It was a pleasure getting to hang out with him and play shows with him. It's an honor to be here to remember him tonight." Tabb added: "Dee Dee Ramone was one of a kind. There will never be another like him. I am honored to have been best man at his wedding to Barbara, and even more honored to be asked to play at his memorial. Dee Dee was one of the biggest influences on my life, and his humor and niceness will stay with me forever."

Trigger spoke a heartfelt memorial and revealed that three years ago, Dee Dee had decorated the walls of the club's private dressing room with his own special brand of graffiti art that has been preserved. He promised that at the end of the night, those who wanted to see the artwork would be given an escorted look. This led into a screening of a never before seen 15-minute "home movie" video with footage of Dee Dee through the years. When it was over, The Bullys took the stage ("Cretin Hop," "I Don't Want You," "53rd & 3rd"), joined on "Questioningly" by Mickey Leigh - brother of the late Joey Ramone and a recording artist in his own right - filling in for the band's former guitarist John Heffernan, a volunteer firefighter who was lost in the WTC tragedy. Leigh - who knew Dee Dee perhaps longer than anyone else there - said: "My friendship with Dee Dee began 32 years ago when Johnny introduced us in 1970. He lived across the street from Joey and me and, needless to say, his character and immense talent greatly affected our lives. The loss of another 'brother' in our extended family was eased somewhat by the graciousness of Trigger and the staff of Continental. Once again, the outpouring of love, respect and support from the community was overwhelming at this beautiful and moving musical memorial. I hope I don't have to go to another one for a long, long time." A version of The Misfits (Jerry Only, Marky Ramone, Dez Cadena of Black Flag) rocked out on "Havana Affair," "I Don't Care," Garden Of Serenity" and "Pet Cemetery." "Dee Dee was like a Tasmanian devil, a whirling dervish of rock," Dez revealed. "It was a joy to know him the last year of his life on earth."

After Jesse Malin (D Generation) and Joe McGinty (Loser's Lounge) performed an acoustic version of "Questioningly," Marky, CJ and Daniel Rey thrilled the audience with blistering versions of "Strength To Endure," "Long Way Back To Germany," "Warthog," "Pinhead," and "Swallow My Pride," with Daniel and CJ trading off lead vocals. "I think that Dee Dee was the greatest at what he did," said Marky, "He was the blueprint of punk. After him, the mold broke. Obviously his influence and The Ramones' influence spread and keeps spreading throughout the world." Daniel added: "Dee Dee was one of a kind - a fearless talent with a pure heart. He was the soul of the Ramones and the prototype for the entire punk rock scene." Poignantly, CJ remarked: "I'll miss you a lot, big brother."

Then, with Marky, CJ and Daniel serving as the band, it was time for the special guests to perform. Leading the way were Theo (the Lunachicks) and Sean (the Toilet Boys) on "Commando;" Jimmy G (Murphy's Law) on "Beat On The Brat;" and Handsome Dick Manitoba (The Dictators, Manitoba's Wild Kingdom) on "Rockaway Beach." "Dee Dee was a punk genius," he said. "He wrote some of the best songs of the genre." Next up was Walter Lure (the Heartbreakers) on "Chinese Rocks" and "Born To Lose," and then Marky introduced Ramones long time tour manager Monte Melnick, who spoke briefly but from the heart. "Dee Dee was one of those rare people who walk the razor fine line between genius and insanity. When he slipped over that line into genius, we'll judge it by his brilliant song writing. Unfortunately, he slipped over that dark line of insanity far too often. He will be missed."

Just when the audience thought things couldn't get any better, out came Tommy Ramone, founding member and original drummer for The Ramones. Stepping into the spotlight and up to the microphone after virtually years out of the limelight, Tommy amazed and thrilled the crowd as he sang lead vocals on one of the best-known Ramones songs, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." "Dee Dee was the romantic one in the Ramones," he revealed. "He was also one of the major architects of punk rock. His songs set the rules and made the blueprint. I had never heard songs like the ones he wrote - they were totally original and powerful. Like Joey, Dee Dee was loved by so many people because of his unpretentious and friendly personality. It is so sad to have such a treasured person taken from us at such a young age. We are truly fortunate to be left with the bounty of his works. I feel blessed to have been lucky enough to have known him."

The evening ended in the only way it could, with a giant grand finale of all the musicians on stage together performing the Ramones' trademark song "Blitzkrieg Bop." Perhaps it was best summed up by Arturo Vega, creative director for the Ramones and curator of Dee Dee's artwork. "Dee Dee was the 'perfect Ramone.' All his strengths and weaknesses, his personal characteristics, all his talent, fell within the realm of what makes the Ramones great. He showed us how much it hurts and how much fun it is to be a real punk."

(Thanks: ISLPR and Ida)