Copyright 2008 -> Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone


It turned May 17, 2008 and I had a flight from San Diego to New York. I slept at JFK airplane station before I went by metro and taxi close of Arturo Vega's house in East Village in New York. When I jumped off from taxi, I saw again Joey Ramone Place street sign and I felt happy and sad both times. So much I and many hundreds of thousands of people miss Joey. But I also know that he is in a safe place now.
I forwarded to Arturo Vega's apartment and it was happy meeting. Arturo Vega was the Ramones creative director since 1974, he designed the Ramones' eagle logo and most all of the Ramones art, shirts etc. He worked as well as a Ramones lighting director. He was with the Ramones in 2261 shows, and he missed only 2 Ramones shows. He lived together with Joey and Dee Dee in the early Ramones days in a same apartment where Arturo still lives nowadays. I felt so honoured to stay my New York days in that apartment. I and Arturo are always supported each other. Arturo also run website. Day before Arturo was returned from Wien, Switzerland where he was in a Punk - No One Is Innocent exhibition. Arturo was going to New York City Tattoo Convention in May 18 and he asked me to come there as well. I was going to but later that day I and Arturo did not met in our meeting place because of one misunderstanding. Arturo was met at New York City Tattoo Convention for example Andrew D. Gore. Andrew D. Gore became friends with the Ramones in early 80's and especially Johnny and Dee Dee liked to wear horror etc. kind of T-shirts made by Andrew D. Gore. Dee Dee gave his stage jacket for CJ after Dee Dee quit the Ramones and CJ used that jacket lot in Ramones shows. Later CJ gave that jacket to Andrew.

I wanted to visit that day Trash And Vaudeville and meet Jimmy Webb who is store manager in that cool store. There is all kind of special punk clothes and merchandise. I bought this year from Trash And Vaudeville Iggy And The Stooges beer glass, two rock kind of pants and belt. Pants and belt my dear Ilma grandmother (born in 1919) paid later for me as my 30th birthday gift. Later in this trip I introduced store for Marta Alcaraz who travelled again from Spain to New York for Joey Ramone Birthday Bash. Marta loved Trash And Vaudeville.
The Continental club was closed for a while in past. The Ramones members played in past many times at The Continental. The Continental was now re-opened in a same location next to Trash And Vaudeville at St. Marks Place. I wanted visit Continental and take few beers and remember times when I was there with many friends already in 2001 and 2002.

Arturo Vega had gave me key to his house. I left some of my items there and then around 10PM in May 18 I headed to The Bowery Electric bar owned by Jesse Malin and his friends. The Bowery Electric bar is close of Arturo Vega's house. 50 meters away from The Bowery Electric was located CBGB's. In that old CBGB spot is now Morrison Hotel and gallery.
After I left Jesse Malin's bar, my mind and heart filled up with sad feelings when I walked to Manitoba's bar. I went to choose songs from jukebox and 11.57PM I and other people heard Ramones song I Just Want To Have Something To Do, and at midnight I Wanna Live. So it was May 19 and Joey became then 57 years young and I 30 years old. I and Joey has same birthday. Joey Ramone made his final live performance at Manitoba's on December 12, 2000. It was then birthday party of Evil Presly. Evil is singer of The Independents, and he was one of Joey's best friends. I was reading story of that Joey's last show from my first book while I was sitting at Manitoba's and I had a drink for Joey's memory. I was wondering how there was no Joey's Don't Worry About Me album at Manitoba's jubebox, and of the Ramones releases there was only Ramones Mania collection. Manitoba's is owned by Handsome Dick Manitoba's of the Dictators. You can buy from bar Manitoba's and Amy Wallace's book titled The Official Punk Rock Book Of Lists.

Photo 1) Evil Presly (from left to right), Joey Ramone, Willy B., third The Independents member and Joey's brother Mickey Leigh at Manitoba's bar in NYC on December 12, 2000. Photo: Sherry Globman.
2) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone, Joey Ramone going to surf and Arturo Vega at Arturo Vega's apartment.
3) Musician Al Maddy and his son Ebban.
4) Photo of the girl who has Joey Ramone with wings tattooed in her back.
5) Promoter Dave Frey and video director etc. George Seminara.
6) Photographer John Nikolai.
7) Some fans at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash in 2008.

After I returned back to Arturo's house, it was not so easy to sleep. I had so lot feelings and thoughs going on in my head. I thinked how I was really sleeping in an apartment where Joey and Dee Dee were living with Arturo Vega in first Ramones years. Joey and Dee Dee were only 22-23 years old in 1974 when they were living with Arturo and Ramones was just started their career. I imagined how happy and creative they were and also what kind of parties they had with other Ramones members and friends. Spirit of Joey and Dee Dee really was there around. I was imagining in what kind of feelings Joey and Dee Dee wrote there early Ramones songs. I also realized that I really was sleeping in a room where is big working table where was signed first Ramones album contract. Arturo still has that same big working table. Arturo has lot Ramones photos on walls, like of him, Joey and Dee Dee in that apartment in 1976 and of Arturo and Johnny in 1978. Arturo Vega also did show to me photos of Johnny Ramone being 11 months old, 10 years old, 12 years old and 18 years old. Also he did show to me Johnny's Ramones first passport and high school diplom. They were so cool to see.

Arturo Vega.s undertenant was also artist like Arturo is. His name was James Rubio. James was nice and friendly guy and talented artist. I and Arturo Vega went by taxi to the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza at 4PM in May 19. Joey Ramone Birthday Bash was there. We carried there an big Joey Ramone stand where Joey was carrying surfboard. Stand was in an electric equipment which made it spinning. We put stand behind of merchandise desk. Then Arturo said to me that he was forgot Joey Ramone poster's for his apartment. I went to get them and outside of venue I first met Mike Breschard and his wife Denise and their friend.
I was looking an soundchecks of artists and bands. I met for example with Evil Presly and Willy B of The Independents. It was great to see them again. I told them greetings from Randy Wisebrod and Shazz Carrington. So in this trip before I was visiting Randy and Shazz and other special friends in San Diego. Randy and Shazz takes care of The Independents homepage and they have known The Independents for a long time. George Seminara came to say hi for me. Seminara has directed many Ramones promo videos and he is also main man behind of Ramones DVD It's Alive 1974-1996. Soon George Seminara, Evil Presly and I were chatting of the Joey. I asked from Evil which The Independents song he would like to sing with Joey Ramone that day. Evil chose Baby Doll song, Joey liked a lot of that tune.
We three spoke how happy Joey Ramone was in heaven that Mary Weiss was also performing in that night and honouring Joey. Mary was lead singer of the 60's band Shangri-Las. George Seminara praised how great way Joey chose 60's songs by girl groups for his special gig sets, and how perfectly they fitted for Joey's voice. George also commented how much Phil Spector loved Joey's voice.

Then I met with Joey's brother Mickey Leigh, Dave Frey of Silent Partner Management, Ida S. Langsam who was publicist of the Ramones in 1987-1996 and with many artists before the doors were opened. I and Jesse Malin chatted a while. Jesse remembered me and our earlier discussions of doing an interview. Jesse asked me to come to The Bowery Electric in next day. Photographer John Nikolai was taking lot photos of that night to etc. I took few photos of Jesse Malin and John Nikolai together.
My friend David K. was said that he has no chance to come to Joey Ramone Birthday Bash. Luckily I called David just in case and he got chance to come. We met outside the venue. We chatted with Al Maeda and with Al's son Ebban. Al was Joey's friend and he also plays in his solo album. I was happy to see many Ramones fans again, like at the venue I talked with Celine Moray, Adele Holzman, Bebe Buell, Mike and Denise Breschard, Marta Alcaraz, Linda Iorio, Cynthia Klatt, Neil Richter and Don Sellner who gave CD of his band The Traumas.
Fans and artists got chance to write greetings for Joey to the big poster next to merchandise table. I was planned in advance that I would take at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash photo of one girl who has Joey Ramone with wings tattooed in her back. I saw that girl in audience and I got photo of her. I has collected Ramones tattoo photos for my third book.
I had hoped to meet with photographer George DuBose at the Birthday Bash. But sadly we did not met. Also we had in advance plans that I would go to George's yacht what he was fixing close of New York. Anyway I met most of the people whom I wanted. Also mentally there were so many fans worldwide celebrating Joey Ramone's birthday with us.