REMAINS/ JOEY RAMONE ETC.
THE CONTINENTAL, NYC, USA ON FEBRUARY 21, 1999
TO INDEX PAGE OF SHOW REPORTS OR
2) GO TO MAIN PAGE OF MY
2/21/1999 - The Continental - New York City:
The Independents w/ special guest with Joey Ramone.
Suicide King, Perforated Head and Furious George.
This is really really long and extensive story and review with all
background information by Tony Taylor.
I wanted to release this at all, not shortened anything.
This told also about it, what is come after long trip to see
Part 1: Introduction to the trip
Part 2: Arriving to the New York City
Part 3: Waiting Outside The Continental
Part 4: To meet Marky/ Dee Dee and Joey
Part 5: Gig like a little dream
PART 1: INTRODUCTION TO
I was so anxious to start writing this account, and as I begin (a few
hours after returning to Scarborough from NYC) I am still blown away by the
events of yesterday and last night. After seeing nearly 100 shows, I discovered
what rock n' roll is about. It's funny that I'm actually repeating a phrase that
Lemmy has often used when singing the praises of the Ramones. But he said it
best and there's simply no better way to put it.
Let's start from the beginning: A couple days before the weekend, I was doing
my usual perusal of my favorite bands' web-pages (thanks of the regular checks
to my site Tony), when I discovered that Joey Ramone was going to be appearing
at a place called The Continental in New York. The thought of taking the trip to
see this show was appealing because I had been way into the Ramones lately. I'd
been listening to their Adios Amigos CD semi-daily; I'd just finished spending four
solid vacation days painting the back of my new leather jacket with the cover of
Road to Ruin; I'd watched Rock 'n' Roll High School four times in the previous
three weeks. It's safe to say that the timing of the show was perfect. Also, I
wanted to get the autographs of Joey, Johnny, C. Jay and Dee Dee, (I'd gotten
Marky's a couple months earlier at a show in Connecticut) and this was my
chance to snag Joey's.
The only major problem was that my wife & I were taking a trip to visit w/ my
family on the weekend of the show. It seemed unlikely that I was going to get out of this without one or
more persons being pissed at me, (and rightfully so) but the more I thought about
it, the stronger the desire to go to this show became. I hypothetically pitched the
idea to my wife, fully expecting to get an angered or at least disapproving reaction.
But to my great surprise, she was OK with the idea, stating that she knew "how
much I wanted to see him" (Joey Ramone.) Her only concern was that she didn't
want to make the drive up to Thomaston in her car alone. She proposed that she
back out of the baby shower, but I told her that I didn't want both of us to have to
cancel. I offered to make sure to be home in time to drive her there, but she was
having none of that. She knew that I'd be in no condition to drive up there just after
returning from New York. After a little smooth-talking I was able to convince her
(convincing myself, as always was quite easy) that I could be home by 8:00 am at
the latest (yes, that's a six hour drive after seeing the show), get five hours of sleep
and we could be on the road to Thomaston by 1:00pm. Looking back, this plan would
have been suicide. Luckily, Jody changed her mind about using her car, which meant
that I wouldn't have to drive her there. Now the plan was starting to come together.
I called up my sister to break the news. Once again, they didn't take it as
badly as I'd expected. Unfortunately, she had already rearranged her work schedule
to be home while we visited. However, the woman she'd switched with was not crazy
about the idea, and my sister believed that she'd gladly switch back. After explaining and
offering many apologies, we hung up. Then I called my brother, to tell him and to try to
convince him to go with me. Like my sister, he was not overly concerned about me
canceling my visit, and I think I was close to getting him to agree to go with me
(especially when I mentioned that we could probably stay at my company's luxury
condominium.) In the end though, he said he couldn't go, but that he'd love to go
another time, when I had a longer visit in mind, and if I could give him some more
So the wheels were now in motion, and I was getting excited. The thing that would
really make this a sweet deal was if I could score a stay at the company condo. I'd
stayed there before, and I knew that that permission would probably be no problem.
However, it was now Thursday night, less than 48 hours until the time I'd arrive in
New York City. Perhaps the short notice would be a problem. I decided to call my
boss , and see what he thought of my chances, and what I should do.
He agreed that even though I wasn't travelling on business, as long as there was room
at the condo, he knew of no reason I couldn't stay there. He told me to give his boss a call in the morning.
So when I arrived at work Friday morning, I did just that. Luckily he was at his
desk when I called, and he gave his approval for me to stay there. He told me whom
to contact for the keys, etc. and instructed me to relay his approval. Then he asked
if it was a business or pleasure trip. Cory is a good guy, and I think he probably
already knew. He and I had discussed my trips before and he'd recently seen my
newly painted jacket. When I told him I was going to see Joey Ramone, he understood.
As soon as we hang up, I jumped back on the phone to D&H in New York. The woman he told me to ask for told me that someone else was handling
the arrangements, but that there was no problem with me staying there. She warned
me that the condo was being renovated, and that there was currently no heat in the
downstairs. That was no problem, I said, reasoning that I wouldn't be there much
anyway. She agreed, and promised that she'd have her assistant call me back shortly
to finalize the arrangements.
About an hour later, I received the promised return call, and the woman set things up for me.
She promised to leave the keys at the restaurant located beside the condo, and
requested that I mail them back to her when I got back to Maine. I told her I would,
and with that I was home free!
I spent the rest of the day trying to concentrate on work, but the excitement of what
lay ahead for my weekend kept distracting me. I found myself in my Delorme Street
Atlas program, trying (unsuccessfully) to print out a map of the route I would take.
I also got an oil change and then headed over to Borders at lunchtime to pick up a
subway map and a street map for downtown Manhattan. Later in the afternoon I
decided to give my brother one last chance, and called to try to convince him to go with me.
Once again, I thought I had him convinced when he ultimately decided that he would
love to, but he couldn't go. Just before leaving for the day, a coworker
asked what I had planned for the weekend. When I told him he couldn't believe it and
said something like, "You're going all the way to New York to see someone who
might be there??? Man, you are hard-core!" I guess he was right.
That evening was spent getting ready: I printed out maps & directions, drew my
route in the road atlas and hand-wrote the major highways and distances that I
would travel. I packed clothes, my CD covers and blue autograph pen in my laptop bag, and went out to get some
cash ($100.00) and a disposable camera. When it was time for bed, everything I would
be leaving with (including all of the clothes I would wear) was piled on the kitchen table.
I set my alarm for 5:00am and went to sleep.
5:00am came quickly, but I had no trouble jumping out of bed. I got into the shower
and warmed up, got out and dressed (black jeans, Ramones T-shirt (of course) along
w/ some thermal underwear, my black fleece and my new Ramones leather jacket), and
was ready to go. I almost forgot my plan to check the Ramones web-site before leaving,
just to make sure Joey's appearance didn't get canceled at the last minute. Luckily my wife
remembered and had turned on the PC while I showered. I connected to the Internet,
went to the site and promptly received some crushing news: Joey had canceled, due to
"contractual differences." I sat dumbfounded for a moment, and then tried to decide what
to do. My options were to go to bed, or to go to New York in hope that Joey would
work things out before that night. I thought about this for about five minutes, when I
absentmindedly refreshed the web page. To my amazement, in the 3-5 minutes since
I'd received the shocking and disappointing news, the web site had been changed again.
The show was back on! Now I was really excited. I shut down the computer, went in
and kissed my wife goodbye, gathered my stuff and rushed out the door.
It was still fairly dark as I left, and the first order of business was to get some coffee.
I drove to the nearby Irving with ice covering my windshield (all except the bottom two
inches, which I leaned down to see through), knowing that as I went in to get my coffee,
the car would warm up and melt the ice. Then with coffee in hand, I headed out to I-95.
It was going to be a great day! I would be heading to New York through Connecticut
of course, and my route nicely avoided most of the major cities in Massachusetts and
Connecticut. I drove south on 95, then 495, and then 290 without incident. Then in
Worcester, MA things got sidetracked. As I drove through the city, a police car came
onto the highway as I approached. Since I was driving at about 80 mph I slowed down
to about 75. I would have slowed more but I didn't have much warning, and I didn't
want to be too obvious. Also, the other cars around me were also travelling at about
75 so I figured I was safe.
I was wrong. A moment later the blue lights were flashing, and I was crossing over two
lanes to pull over. As the policeman walked up to my car, I rolled down the window
and waited for instructions. Annoyed, he told me to get my drivers license and
registration, as if I should have handed it to him before I opened the window. "Do you
know why I stopped you?" he asked, to which I replied "No." "Do you know what
the speed limit is here?" was his next inquiry. "I assume 65," I replied. He shot back
with "The speed limit goes down to 50 in the city. You drove past three signs before
I stopped you. I expected you to slow down." All I had to offer in response as I handed
him my paperwork was a defeated, "Oh." "Stay in your car. I'll be right back," he said
as he turned to go to his car. Then he asked where I was heading to which I told him,
"New York City." He nodded and continued on his way. I wondered how much of his
attitude if any was a result of how I was dressed. I sat in my car watching him in my rear
view mirror as I vainly hoped that I'd get out of this with a warning. He kept looking up
as if reading and taking down information. I began to realize I was cooked, and went
from hoping to get out of it to trying to guess how much my fine would be. If they
figured it anything like they did in Maine, I estimated that it would be over 300 dollars.
And the thought that driving 20 in excess of the speed limit could land you in jail (I've
heard) was occurring to me as well. After a seemingly endless wait, he got out of the
car and walked back toward me. I rolled the window back down, he handed my stuff
back, and quickly said, "Here you are Mr. Taylor, your rights and obligations are written
on the back. It's 50 all the way into Auburn." And with that he turned and hurriedly
went back to his car. I scanned the ticket and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the
total charge at 150 dollars! I was thrilled as I tossed it into the passenger seat, put my
registration back into the glove box, and my license in my wallet. The policeman stayed
behind me as I did this, and continued to sit as I waited for traffic to let me back onto
He drove out after I did, and followed behind for the next mile or two. Needless to say
I followed the speed limit until he left the highway and then cautiously sped back up to
around 70. Once past the Auburn exit I resumed normal driving habits (trying to stay
within 10 over the posted limit) and tried to put the minor setback out of my mind. So
on I went, down through Massachusetts and into Connecticut. I was looking forward
to driving on the Merritt Parkway, the beautiful stretch of highway that snakes along
the "Gold Coast" of Connecticut. Our friend Joe had taken me on this highway
once, and I was amazed at the beautiful bridges, gorgeous foliage, and well-kept grassy
shoulders. Also, since many wealthy and/or famous people lived in the area, it was
common to see exotic cars. Unfortunately I managed to miss one of my first exits of
the trip, and didn't get directly on the Merritt Parkway as planned. Instead I traveled
on I-95 for a bit, and then found a connector that took me over to it. Although it was
still a pretty drive, it wasn't as exciting as the last time I'd been on it, and the exotic
cars weren't as plentiful as I'd hoped. I found myself wishing that my wife had agreed to
take the trip with me. I knew that she'd enjoy the visit, but she understandably didn't
want to make the long trip only to stay in New York for just one day while I hung out
at a rock concert.
As I neared Darien, the town where our friends live, I noticed a newer looking Saab
driving ahead. It looked just like our friends' and I wondered if it could possibly be them.
As I was driving quite a bit faster, I soon passed the car and looked in my rearview to get
a look at the occupants. The driver was tall and skinny and wore Blues Brothers style
sunglasses-just like Joe. The passenger was shorter and I couldn't tell much about her.
I was convinced it was them, so I slowed down (very obviously) and waited
for them to approach. They soon did, and as they began to overtake me, I turned to
look out my window and get a good look. I was quite embarrassed to discover that
they were merely lookalikes and not our friends. I sped back up and soon passed
them again, probably causing them to ask themselves what the hell I was doing.
PART 2: ARRIVING TO THE NEW YORK
As I entered New York State boredom had begun to set in, but that was about to change.
Scenery in Massachusetts and even Connecticut was old hat for me at this point, and its
always fun to drive somewhere you haven't driven before. As I approached Manhattan,
I began to get excited about the drive. Some would be scared to drive here, but for me
it was a challenge. I had a well-documented route and set of directions, and a pretty
easy destination (just under the Brooklyn Bridge at the bottom tip of Manhattan) so I
was confident that it wouldn't be that hard to get there. Unfortunately, the directions
didn't exactly match up to the highway signs at one point, and I managed to get a little
lost. However I used my head and got back on track. My route took me on FDR
Drive, down around the east edge of the island. This part of the drive was a snap,
and soon I was at the Brooklyn Bridge, and in an area where the surroundings were
familiar (I had stayed at the same condo for a week almost a year before.) I followed
the directions and exited on South Street, drove for about five minutes longer, and
then I was there!
I pulled up in front of the condo, and parked the car in an empty spot directly across
from it. It looked like it was OK to park there, and after inspecting the signs a bit, I
walked across the street to the restaurant located beside the condo building. I figured
that before I paid to park my car for the night, I would make sure that the restaurant had
my keys. The woman at work had come through as promised, and the restaurant maitre'd
quickly found the envelope. I thanked them and went back outside. Then I investigated
the parking situation some more. There was a couple putting items in their car directly
under the parking sign, and as I approached to see how long I was allowed to park, the
guy read my mind and told me that it was OK to park there. I asked if it was OK to stay
there overnight, and he said yes. Excellent. Now I got a spot and wouldn't even have
to pay an exorbitant New York parking charge. Things were coming together great!
The next order of business was to drop my stuff inside and head up to the Continental.
After some difficulty getting the door opened (there were multiple locks and unmarked
keys) and trying to remember which floor the condo was on (the 5th) I finally got inside
and took a look around. The place was indeed being renovated, and it was a bit chilly.
I went upstairs to check things out, and discovered that there was just one bed (un-made)
in the master bedroom and just a pair of mattresses in the other. As I looked around
someone entered the condo downstairs. I headed for the stairs and descended as I
It was a very large black woman. I said hello and asked her if she was staying there
as well. She seemed annoyed as she answered that "No, she was the cleaning lady."
"Oh." I said. She removed her coat and started going about her business. I too started
taking care of my business, and unloaded my CD covers, pen and my tiny camera. I
was ready to leave but thought I'd give my wife a call before I left for my subway ride.
Since I had free accommodations I wasn't about to make a toll call on my company's bill. I
called the operator to make a collect call, but she wasn't home. So I grabbed a bottle
of water from the fridge and got ready to leave. The cleaning lady was heading to the
elevator as well. As we were going down, she asked if I was staying there that evening.
"Yes," I said as she barely tried to hide a disapproving look. "It's my day off and I
wanted to come in here early tomorrow," She hinted. "I don't mind. Come in as early
as you like," I replied. This made her happy and she managed a small smile as she got
off. I continued down to the ground floor and stepped outside.
I walked up the street and rediscovered some familiar territory. It felt great to be back
walking a New York street, although this time it was a bit cooler than when I'd been
here last. I quickly decided that the cold water I was holding was unnecessary. At the
first trash can I saw, I dropped the nearly full bottle, which landed perfectly so as to
shoot a burst of water up in the air and partially hit me in the face. Hoping nobody
saw me as I wiped the water off, I turned and walked up past the huge used bookstore,
and vowed to return here the next morning before leaving (my wife was looking for an
out-of-print book.) I found a subway entrance and headed down inside, but to my
surprise no one was down there. No one was waiting and no one was attending the
token concession booth. After looking around I discovered a small, crudely scrawled
sign in the window that said literally that they were "Closed for Everything."
A small inconvenience, but I just headed up the stairs and back up Fulton Street.
The next subway entrance was locked shut by padlocked doors of vertical black bars.
I kept walking and found entrance after entrance locked just as this one was. I was
quite hungry by this point, and at the first sight of a food vendor I crossed the street.
He had a variety of good looking and good smelling items cooking, and I asked him
what one of them was. He didn't know which one I meant, but after a process of
elimination, he finally pointed to the one I meant. He told me what it was but I
couldn't understand through his thick accent. After repeating the description to
me several times, he told me that it was made of potatoes. I decided to just go
for a hot dog. He served it up, took my money and I continued on my way.
Once off Fulton Street I began to lose my bearings and couldn't seem to find a
subway entrance. After wandering around until I was completely lost, I decided
to ask a stranger for help. There was a friendly looking guy on the corner, and
when I asked him the way to the nearest open subway station, he was happy to
oblige. He asked where I was going and I told him The Continental. He didn't
seem to know where it was until I told him I believed it was located near CBGB's.
His eyes lit up and he asked if I was a musician. I told him that I wasn't but that I
was going to see Joey Ramone. He knew about this and mentioned that he used to
open for them (I assume meaning the Ramones.) I nodded politely and responded,
"No kidding..." as he began to tell me how to find the subway. Evidently the route
would normally be quite simple, but some sort of "terrorist threat" meant that I
would have to sidestep for a couple blocks and go around a fenced-in and
police-guarded City Hall. I thanked the man for the directions and continued
on my way.
As I followed the path he described, I came upon a line of mobile trailers, each
emblazoned with the logo and address of some movie production company. Each
trailer had a door on the side and on each door was a star, below which was a
person's name. I recognized none of the names until I saw Ru Paul's on one of the
doors. I rounded the corner of the barricaded municipal building, and saw the subway
entrance that was my destination. Once down inside it appeared that this was where
I wanted to be but I still wasn't sure which train to take. I bought four tokens (at
$1.50 a pop!) and decided to ask for help. There was a friendly-looking guy standing
there, so I pointed to my subway map and asked him if the blue dots on the route
were the stops that the train would make. He didn't know but recommended I ask
one of the NYPD officers standing a few feet away. I thanked him, and turned to
ask one of them. He politely answered yes (which I would later discover was not
true) and I felt reasonably sure that I was supposed to take the next green train.
As one approached, the conductor (is that what they're called?) was looking out the
window of his extremely small compartment, and could sense my despair. He asked
me what street I wanted. As I stammered out a "3rd Avenue" response, he hurriedly
told me to get on the train. I complied. Once he'd gotten the train underway to the
next stop, he emerged and asked me again what STREET I was looking for. I didn't
know, but repeated to him that I wanted 25 3rd Ave. When this did no good, I
showed him my street map and pointed to the area where I wanted to be. I also
told him that I was trying to find The Continental, or CBGB's. From all of this,
he figured out that I wanted to go to Astor Place, and told me to get off at the
next stop, and take a train called 6 Local. Then take the exit called Astor Place,
and I would be there. He was a little gruff, and in a hurry (understandably) but
very helpful. I thanked him and he went back in his compartment. At the next stop
I got out, and the next train to arrive was #6 Local. I got on, and sat down.
After a few stops I was at Astor Place, I got off the train, found my way to the
stairs and out into the street. Things were much busier here than down near the
condo, and I didn't know where to go. I walked around aimlessly for a few
minutes, and then found myself between Broadway and Fourth Ave. After
consulting my handy street map, I figured out the direction to walk to reach
3rd Ave., and after a very short walk I was there. Not only that but I quickly
found the Continental as well. It was a very small place sandwiched between
a McDonald's (no pun intended) and another fast food restaurant. Given that
the club's sign was partially obscured by some construction staging, and what
appeared to be a large blue delivery truck was parked in front of most of the
entire storefront, it was quite lucky that I spotted the place so quickly.
PART 3: WAITING OUTSIDE THE
I walked across the street over to the club, and checked out the Day-Glo calendar
plastered to the front window. Each date was crammed full of the names of the
many bands that were scheduled to play there. The club's web-site had a similar
calendar, but it was more secretive about who was to appear with The
Independents (it said only, "w/ Special Guest.") Here, it plainly said,
"w/ Special Guest, Joey Ramone." Now I felt more confident that he
would actually be there that evening, since they hadn't crossed his name
out or posted something announcing a change of plans. The wait began.
It was now about 1:30pm and I was still hungry. For some silly reason,
it seemed fortunate to me that the club was located next to a McDonalds,
because I had read that the Ramones loved to eat there. In my mind I vowed to
keep an eye on the entrance. I decided to get some food and went inside to
order a couple cheeseburgers, some fries and a Coke. As I ate it I continually
watched out the front window in case my target arrived. While I did this, I silently
hoped that the handicapped gentleman sitting next to me wouldn't think that I was
staring at him.
After quickly downing my food, I headed back outside. The calendar on the window
also stated that the place opened up each day at 4pm for a "Happy Hour." If it worked
out like many of the clubs I'd visited in New England, this would be a good
opportunity to casually sit at the bar and just wait for Joey to come in. That was
still two and a half-hours away though, and since nothing much was going on, and
it seemed like a good idea to "case" the block to see if there were any other entrances
to the club. I walked around the entire (huge) block, and found that the only way
someone was going to get into The Continental was through the front door or
through another business. Returning back to the front of the club, I stood around
some more and started to wonder if the McDonalds had a public bathroom. This wasn't an immediate concern so I put it out of my mind for the time being.
There was no sign of Joey, but it was now 2pm and things were starting to happen at
the club. The lights were on inside, and I peered in the front window as best I could,
considering that the blinds were mostly closed. The floor was a mess, and clearly hadn't
yet been cleaned from the night before. Bottles, scraps of paper and other debris made
up the carpet on the shiny black floor. The stage was tiny, and was decorated only with
a sign bearing the Continental logo behind the drum set. The bar lining the left side of
the club was unoccupied. Also, it turned out that the blue "delivery truck" was actually
a mobile recording studio, which according to the calendar of events, was to be used to
record a live CD called "The Best of the Continental" that evening.
As I waited around, people came and went. Panhandlers were ever present, and one
even asked me for some money, to which I declined. I'm not sure why I sometimes
gladly hand over some cash, while at other times my reaction is to quickly say no. I
guess it's a combination of my current state of mind and my quick assessment of
the person and situation. Nevertheless, it's always an awkward position to be put in.
Another fine gentleman repeatedly walked by me and in a muffled voice said things
like, "Want some mushrooms?" and "Anybody need some hash?" It was hard to
keep warm, and as I waited I began to wish I hadn't left my hat and gloves back at
the condo. Zipping up my jacket and trying to stuff my hands in its small pockets
was of some help, but I still had to pace around a bit to keep warm. After about a
half-hour, people started coming and going from the club. Sometimes they carried
mops and buckets, sometimes they carried a clipboard but it was clear that the three
or four people who regularly entered/left the front door were I one way or another
getting the place ready for that evening. A rather grouchy-looking man in a blue
winter hat (one of those ones with the earflaps that come down the sides) looked
me over a couple times as he re-entered the club. Another said hello as he exited,
and I took the opportunity to ask what time they were opening the doors. He
said that "there's usually some kind of Happy Hour at four o'clock." I then asked
him if Joey was still scheduled to appear. He said that as far as he knew, yes.
I told him what I'd seen on the Internet, to which he shook his head in annoyance.
The street too became a bit busier. Cars were constantly dropping people off or
picking them up in front of the club. Potential concertgoers came and checked
out the evening's bands. A traffic/parking cop routinely made sure no one was
parked on the street in front of the club (and on the rest of this side of the block.)
Eventually a couple of leather-jacketed fans joined me in front of the club.
I didn't say anything to them at first, as they knew each other and were happy
to converse between themselves. One of them had a jacket with the (very cool
looking) logo of The Independents on the back. It looked very professional
and made me wonder if this band was more than just a club band. Another
couple- this one a man and woman, arrived a bit later. The guy was somewhat
loud and very short: about four foot six. She wasn't tall at five two, but compared
to him she was a giant. Soon after an attractive woman started hanging around.
She appeared to be waiting for someone, and after about fifteen minutes he arrived.
He had long hair and he too was clad in a beat-up leather jacket. She was happy
to see him and they started to leave. Shorty apparently knew him, because he
rushed over to say hello as they left. I couldn't hear what was said but it
appeared that the long-hair gave him the brush-off and told him he'd be back.
Shorty nodded and waved goodbye as he happily headed back toward us.
Soon after I got a very unexpected surprise. On the front window of the club was
taped a blue sheet of paper with the following words quickly jotted on it in black
marker: Surprise Show - The Remains - Dee Dee, Marky, Barbara - Tonight
10:30 - $5. I couldn't believe my luck! Not only would I get to see Joey
Ramone perform, but Dee Dee and Marky would be there too! I was really
excited now, and the thought that just maybe the three visiting ex-Ramones
would get up and play a song or two together was getting me even more
pumped up. Still it was kind of sad to see that the great Ramones had been
reduced to playing in New York clubs for a $5 cover charge. A newly arrived
Hispanic fan also shared in my prevailing enthusiasm. He didn't believe the
sign at first, and kept asking me questions about it. It was sort of strange
because many of the questions he asked (like "What time is the show" and
"Which Ramones will be there") were plainly evident from the sign.
Nevertheless I answered all of his questions and he was appreciative.
I wondered if maybe he couldn't read, but I found out later that he thought
I worked at the club. As I talked with the Hispanic guy, the rather obnoxious
short guy made small talk with the pair of fans who were standing around.
The two leather-jacketed fans who'd arrived shortly before decided to go
somewhere and return a while later. I silently said to myself that they would
likely miss the arrival of the ex-Ramones, but in a away I also wanted them
to leave so as to free up the sidewalk a bit and not draw so much attention
to the people standing around outside. As I waited some more, a guy in a
long black leather coat came up to the entrance. I was taken aback because
this guy looked exactly like Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones. He had the
face, the hair standing straight up, and a Rolling Stones tongue pin on his
lapel. I stared at him for a moment, as he stared back. I'm sure he got these
stares often, as he was a dead ringer for the Stones' guitarist.
After a while, the long-haired leather-jacketed guy was back, and this time
he brought with him an instrument (in a guitar case) and a slew of other
hard-core looking, long-haired, leather-jacketed people. They were
obviously in one of the bands, and as they approached I motioned as if to
ask them if they were going inside. The lead guy nodded yes, and I rapped
on the iron-grated door (as I'd seen people do all day) so that someone
would let them in. Unfortunately no one heard my knock, and the band
had to stand outside waiting despite my good intentions. As they stood
there I noticed that the guy had a Motörhead patch on the sleeve of his
jacket. After a minute someone opened the door and they went inside
followed by a jubilant Shorty and his slightly taller girlfriend. A few
moments later the sounds of a band sound-checking could be heard
inside. I couldn't tell much about the band's sound, but judging by their
appearance (I know it's a stupid way to judge a band, but it was all I had
to go on at the time) they seemed like they'd be a cool band. A few
moments later, the door quickly opened, and Shorty and his partner were
ejected. As they were led out the door, a very harsh man yelled at them,
"This is a PRIVATE SOUNDCHECK. Who ARE YOU???" The guy was
embarrassed and attempted to convey to the man why they should be
allowed inside. It sounded something like, "I'm a friend of the guy that
knows the guy that..." - in other words, he was a hanger-on. Needless to say
the doorman wasn't buying it, and shaking his head, he quickly slammed the
door shut on the guy. The guy attempted to look cool as he shook his head
in puzzled amazement. Smiling, he and his woman walked away. I didn't
see them again.
PART 4: TO MEET MARKY/
DEE DEE AND JOEY
It was now about 4pm, and as I waited some more I spotted a long red
van hauling a small U-Haul style trailer behind it. At first the driver tried
to pull up and park in front of the recording studio truck but for some
reason he/she aborted that plan and continued down the block. They took
their first right and went down the side street. I remembered a similar looking
van from Marky Ramone's show in New London CT a few months before
(although at the time the van looked a bit newer), and I suspected it was he.
I rushed down the block to see where the van went, and found it stopped at
a traffic light way down at the end of the side street. I decided that it was
Marky, and quickly went back to my post to get ready for his arrival. I had
already gotten him to sign all of my CDs at the aforementioned show, but I
wanted to ask if he would mind me taking a photo with him.
As soon as I got back to the front of the club, a long silver Cadillac pulled up
and parked in front of the recording van. I was still on the lookout for Marky's
van, so I didn't really pay attention until the man himself stepped out of the
Cadillac! Marky Ramone, dressed (in typical Ramones' fashion) in jeans, his
leather jacket, converse high-tops and a black T-shirt bearing the slogan,
Fuck You, You Fucking Fuck. casually walked over to me (I was standing
beside the door to the club) and knocked on the door. I stood awestruck
as he waited beside be, and then turned as he noticed me staring at him.
Without either of us saying a word, he shot out his arm to shake my hand.
I said Hi as we shook, and then asked if he would mind taking a picture
with me. "Sure," he said as the door opened and he entered the club.
I was thrilled, but a bit confused when he re-emerged a moment later and
started unloading some guitar cases from his car. I figured he had forgotten
about the picture, and he was obviously busy, so I didn't bug him about it.
As he was unloading the stuff, the club door opened and Dee Dee came out!
He walked right over beside me (I was standing between the club and Marky's
car) and asked Marky if he needed any help with the stuff. Obviously they
hadn't arrived together, because Marky walked over and greeted Dee Dee
by giving him a big kiss on the cheek! They both had a laugh and Marky
said it was good to see him, and then continued to unload. I took the
opportunity to excitedly ask Dee Dee if I "could get an autograph." He
cheerfully said, "Sure!" as I pulled out my Road to Ruin CD and presented
it with a pen to him. He quickly scribbled an autograph and said, "There
you go!" I thanked him and he headed back inside with Marky.
A minute or two later I was pleasantly surprised when Marky came back
out to take a photo with me! I was surprised because I'd been burned
before by rock stars that said they'd be right back (namely Tommy Lee
and Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe) but I should have realized that Marky
was in a different class altogether than those guys. He came over and
asked if I had a camera. I said yes and pulled it out, and asked one of
the bystanders to snap the photo. He kindly complied and took a first
photo, then another, just in case the first one didn't come out. As he
took the photos I noticed that the flash wasn't working, and hoped
the pictures would be ok.
I thanked Marky and then directed his attention to the back of my
leather jacket. "Hey dude, check out my jacket" I said, as I turned
around. "Aw, that's beautiful. Who did that?" he replied. "I did"
was my answer, and then he turned around to show me his jacket.
"The guy that does the Simpsons painted mine." I quickly checked
it out as I started to tell him that I'd seen his jacket at his show up
in Connecticut a few months back. He nodded as I checked it out
again. It looked to be done in oil paints, and featured a Simpson-esque
Marky playing drums (the bass drum bore the phrase, "Born to Win!")
while Homer Simpson, arm raised high in the air, sang into a microphone.
Another fan approached and motioning to Marky's car he asked, "What is
that, a '69?" I don't know what the answer was, but Marky then surprised
me by asking if I was going to be around for a while. I said "Sure", and he
asked if I would mind watching for cops who might ticket his car. "If you
see any cops around, tell them I'm inside and come get me." "No problem,"
I said, and with a parting "Thanks," he went back inside.
I proudly kept a close watch on his car, but my duty didn't last long. After
about 5-10 minutes, someone came out and drove it away. I was totally
excited to meet Dee Dee and to chat with Marky for a moment, especially
since I didn't expect either of them to be there that day. Luck was on my
side so far that day. Soon I could hear The Remains playing inside. They
were playing Cretin Hop, and as I peeked inside, I could see them on stage.
Dee Dee was singing and playing guitar, while Barbara was playing bass.
They sounded great. Next they played one of my favorites, 53rd & 3rd,
followed by Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment, which Barbara sang. I was
surprised to hear that she was fun to listen to. Next they played (and she
sang) Listen to My Heart followed by Teenage Lobotomy. Dee Dee took
the mike back for Wart Hog and Rockaway Beach, and they finished up
with a couple of others which I didn't write down. I think Judy is a Punk
was one of them.
At one point, the crusty guy with the earflaps came out of the club. After
glancing at me for about the fifth time that day, he suspiciously asked,
"What are you doing, hanging around here all day?" I replied, "I'm waiting
for Joey to show up." "For what?" he countered. "So I can get his
autograph," I said. To this he shook his head as he started to walk away.
Then he turned back and asked in a nicer tone, "You're not gonna bug
him are you?" "No," I replied as he turned again and walked away. Some
more waiting ensued, and I began chatting with the two leather-jacketed
guys who'd recently returned. They were very nice (one of them was the
one who took my picture w/ Marky) and easy to talk to, so we had fun.
We talked about Marky & Dee Dee (they said that Marky wore a wig, and
had heard that he wasn't very nice), the short and loud guy (they had been
speaking w/ him and said he was a dick.) One of them asked if I'd seen the
movie Rock 'n' Roll High School (to which I replied "several times"), and
he suggested that when Joey arrived we should quote a movie line to him
like, "Say Hi to Mr. McGloob for us..." We also joked about Johnny
Ramone, who the guys mistakenly thought was living in Florida. I
didn't correct them and tell them it was actually California, but instead
joked with them about what he was doing there. They joked that he
was probably sitting on a beach in a Speedo with his bowl haircut,
rubbing suntan lotion on himself.
While we joked, I still constantly scanned the street and sidewalk for any
newly arriving vehicles or any Joey-like pedestrians. My persistence paid
off, as I soon noticed the unmistakable face of Joey Ramone walking up the
sidewalk toward us. It would have been much harder to spot a person of
normal height, but Joey stood a head above most of the people on the
sidewalk, so he was an easy mark. As soon as I saw him I unzipped my
jacket, removed my CD covers and pen, and hurried down the sidewalk
toward him. As I approached I noticed that he was walking slowly, and
looked very pale. This shouldn't have been surprising, because this is the
way he always walks/looks. He had his hair tucked under the hood of
an Eskimo-style parka (the kind with the furry edge on the hood) and
wore his trademark oval glasses.
When I got close enough to talk I asked "Hey Joey, would you mind
signing my CD?" If he said anything I didn't hear it, but he reached
out and took the pen while I held the case and covers. As he slowly
signed a Joey Ramone '99 (with his left hand) on my Road to Ruin
CD, I asked if he was going to play with Marky & Dee Dee that night
. "No I'm with The Independents tonight" was his reply, spoken in a
very quiet voice that was hard to hear. He started to hand back my pen,
and I hurriedly asked if he could sign my other two as well. I removed
the signed CD and he started on the other two as I offered a quick,
"Sorry" for keeping him there. As he signed the other two I noticed
how long his fingers were, and how they had very long and strange
looking fingernails, like my late grandfather had. He also had strange
white patches on his hand that looked kind of creepy. I later found
out that he had been in and out of the hospital during the previous
year, and I wonder if was ill that day.
He finished up and I thanked him as he started to walk away. Since he
seemed to be in a bad mood, I decided not to ask if he would consent
to a photo but I did manage to get in one last stupid comment: "Well,
you guys rock my world." Yes, that was the last thing I said to Joey
Ramone... Oh well, they can't all be gems. He didn't respond to this
last statement (what could he possibly say?) as he walked away and
toward the club. One of the leather-jacketed guys smiled and said
Hi to him as he slowly walked by and went inside. I returned to my
post at the club entrance and talked to the guys again. They hadn't
seen me get Joey's autograph, and asked to see it. We also talked
about The Independents (which it turns out were the longhairs that
I'd tried to help get into the club a while back), and I asked the guys
what kind of music they played. They asked if I'd heard of Faith No
More, to which I answered yes. They said it was kind of like that,
but without the metal feel. They called their music Ska, which has
always been a foreign term to me. I asked them what Ska was like
and they said it was kind of like fast reggae music. The Hispanic guy
had returned at this point, and we said hello again.
Moments later, Marky, Dee Dee, and Barbara (who I recognized as
Dee Dee's wife from a photo in his autobiography) exited the club,
and Dee Dee exclaimed, "What a sourpuss he is, huh?" They were
obviously talking about Joey, and as they walked over to the sidewalk
they continued to discuss whatever had happened inside. It was becoming
clear that these guys didn't get along (as I'd read in books and magazines)
and would probably not be appearing together that night. The three of them
stood on the sidewalk and chatted as they waited for someone to pick them
up. I wanted to ask to have a photo taken w/ both Marky & Dee Dee, but at
first I didn't have the nerve to ask. After all, I'd bothered them both already,
and they'd had some sort of blowout with Joey just a moment before. I took
a picture of them standing there, and then came to my senses and realized
that they could be gone in a few seconds. I said to one of the guys, "What
the hell-they're standing right there," and asked if he would mind taking the
photo. He agreed and I walked over to Marky & Dee Dee again. They turned
to look at me as I tapped Marky on the shoulder and said, "I know I already
got you, but would you guys mind if I took a picture with both of you?"
Marky replied for the second time by asking if I had a camera. I moved up
close to them and made that stupid two-finger peace sign as the guy took
a couple pictures (my usually keen ability to not act dumb in front of rock
stars was failing me that day). I also stammered that I couldn't wait to see
their show that evening, to which Marky ordered, "Be down front." Then
my photographer asked if I would take some of him. We changed places
and I took a couple photos with his camera. When I finished I thanked the
guys for the last time and walked back toward the club entrance. Soon
after, the trio saw the person who was to pick them up, sitting in traffic.
They waved and hurried into the street to get to the vehicle. That was
the last I saw of them until the show.
I hung around at the club entrance for a while longer, and chitchatted
with the guys. It was now around 5:30pm and there was no reason to
stand around in the cold after meeting the three ex-Ramones, so after
about ten minutes I decided to head back down to the condo a take a
rest before the show. The guys asked why I was leaving, and I told them
that I'd be back for the show, but that I wanted to get rid of the stuff I was
carrying to avoid carrying it around all night. I left and walked across the
street toward where I remembered the subway entrance to be. As I walked
someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find the Hispanic
guy following me. I said Hi again and he walked along with me to the subway.
I showed him my autographs and he told me that he couldn't stay for the show.
I asked why and he said that he lived in New Rochelle, a long way away.
Evidently the subway stopped running at 1am, and he would not have time to
get home if he stayed for the show. I felt bad since he'd been so excited when
I had told him about Marky & Dee Dee, but there was not much I could do.
The thought of allowing him to stay at the condo briefly crossed my mind, but
then I remembered that I was in New York. Also, I'm sure my company would be
less than pleased if they found out that I had a guest stay with me. Anyway,
we found the subway entrance and entered the subway platform. After looking
around, it was clear that this subway went uptown only. I asked the guy if he
knew anything about it, but he didn't. I told him that I had to find a train that
went downtown, so we said goodbye and I left. As before I walked around
aimlessly for about fifteen minutes, hoping that the entrance I needed would
just appear in front of me. When this didn't happen I began to get frustrated.
I was getting tired and the time I spent dubbing around on the street was less
time that I would have to relax in the condo before the show. Eventually I
came upon Tower Records on Broadway (the same one I'd walked to from
the condo the previous summer-it was about an hour and a half walk!), and
thought I'd go inside and ask one of the salespeople for directions to the
I went inside and looked around, but no one seemed very helpful looking. So
I did what I always do at Tower: look around. I checked out their CDs (not
a great selection at this location,) videos (nope-no copies of The Moscow Peace
Festival for sale or rent,) books, magazines (no Kerrang!) and anything else that
was interesting. Soon I left and continued my search without directions. I
decided that if any street would have a southbound train, it would be Broadway,
so I just walked South until I saw an entrance. I headed for it and lo and behold,
it was a southbound train! Down underground I went! I never thought I'd be
so happy to sit in a dirty subway seat. I enjoyed the ride immensely because
after a six-hour drive and four hours plus of standing on pavement, my legs
and feet were killing me. The ride ended quickly at the City Hall stop. I got
out onto the street into a now dark and unfamiliar-looking area. NYPD
officers were now parked at the gates of the barricaded municipal building.
I had no idea where to go, but I could see the World Trade Center Towers
not too far away, and knew the condo was in that direction. As I walked,
the territory started to become familiar, and soon I was at the intersection
of Broadway and Fulton Street. From here I knew where to go, and I walked
down Fulton Street and got inside the condo at 6:30pm.
The first order of business was to call home. Once again I called collect, and
when my wife answered I had her call me back. I told her about everything that
had happened, and she was excited for me. I told her how tired I was and
that I needed to get some rest before heading back out for the show (which
I planned to be at by 9pm.) Soon we hung up and I went upstairs to lie on
the bed for a while. The heat was on high up there and it was nice and warm.
In fact I was so comfortable resting my tired legs on the cozy bed, that I
didn't want to leave. I thought I'd try to take a nap, but I couldn't sleep.
The time ticked by, and soon it was time to head back out and take the
subway back to the club. Since I now knew how to get to the proper
subway entrance, it would be easy to get where I needed. That didn't
make it much easier on my feet and legs though, and they were in agony
for the entire walk to the train. However, I got there and got on the right
train fairly quickly. A few minutes later and I was once again emerging
from the subway exit onto the street at Astor Place. Here too, I knew
exactly where to go, and was soon at The Continental. Now a line of
people, three wide had formed, and it went down the street for about
fifty feet. The line didn't seem to be moving, and I wondered if the
place was already filled to capacity. Soon though we started moving,
and it wasn't long before I neared the entrance. The uniform of the
evening was black leather, and I certainly fit in (for a change.) A guy
in front of me wore a black leather jacket with some words sprayed on
the back in silver spray paint. What a waste of a good leather jacket,
PART 5: GIG LIKE A LITTLE
As I waited I noticed that no band was playing inside. I presumed that
they were between bands at the moment, because according to the
calendar, the music was supposed to start at 8pm, and it was now 9pm.
The guy with the blue earflaps was manning the door, and as I approached
he recognized the guy standing in front of me (the one with the silver
spray-painted jacket) and told him that he couldn't go in. Of course he
started to argue about it, and was told him to step aside. I paid my $5,
got my hand stamped (with the term "FOR DEPOSIT ONLY") and
went in, and don't know if he eventually let the guy in or not. The
place was starting to fill up, and I was glad that I didn't arrive any later
than I did. It seemed even smaller from the inside than when I was looking
in earlier. I would guess that the standing room in the club was about 20 x 80
feet. The walls were lined with big black & white live photos of some of the
legends that'd played/been there. Iggy Pop, Guns N' Roses, Sebastian Bach,
The Dictators, D-Generation, Lemmy, Debbie Harry, Joey Ramone, and
many others were plastered all around the place.
It turns out that no bands had played yet. I arrived at the perfect time,
because just minutes after I arrived, the first band (Furious George) started
setting up their equipment. I headed to the bar and asked the bartender
which beers they sold. He pointed to a list behind him and immediately
moved to the next patron. I quickly decided on a Rolling Rock and tried
to get his attention again. A moment later (and with my wallet $4 lighter)
the band started playing and I headed toward the tiny stage. Furious George
was a three-piece and they were very tight. They played punk rock and
they were quite good. In my opinion they could have used a little more image,
but I suppose that isn't what punk is about. After 4-5 songs they were done.
Before leaving the singer joked about the Ramones "usergroup" contingent
being here tonight, and that the audience looked a lot nerdier than usual.
Next up was a band called Perforated Head. They too rushed out and
quickly set up their equipment. There was a cute female keyboard player
who set up right in front of me. The singer was a Johnny Rotten lookalike
(although he had a goatee and didn't have the sneer.) This band was even
better than the previous one. I only remember the name of a couple of
their songs (Liar and Do it Again) but all of them were very good. So far
these bands were quite professional and talented. It was a far cry from
most (maybe all) of the unsigned club bands I'd seen in Maine, New
Hampshire and Massachusetts. When they were finished I went back to
the bar for another beer. Next up was a band with an intriguing name:
Suicide King. If you exclude The Remains and Joey Ramone, these guys
were my favorites of the evening. This cool trio included a singer that
was about seven feet tall, with short hair and his arms covered with tattoos,
a Japanese guitar player with long hair and wearing a Triumph T-shirt.
Oh, also he played a blue Flying-V guitar. Their music was killer, just like
the other bands' and during their short set (I think they played 2 songs -
"just the ones that were going to be on the live album") the singer mentioned
that they had just spent way too much money making their CD. I loved
their show, and when they were done I wanted to ask them how I could
get their CD, but I didn't dare to. For some reason I figured that because
they were so good and they were from New York, they would be mean
or stuck-up to me.
This club was so small that the bands had to go on and off the stage
through the crowd. There was no back exit, and the bands had to carry
their gear with them. The place reminded me of the club that the Sex
Pistols played in at the start of the film, Sid & Nancy: Super-crowded,
cramped, small stage, lots of leather and no division between the band
and the audience. This was real rock and roll, and it put anything else
I'd seen in a totally different light. I got the feeling that a shit band would
be eaten alive in this city, and that these bands were great because they
had to be great to stand a chance. As Suicide King left the stage I got my
nerve up and followed the guitarist to ask about their CD. I caught up
to him near the bar, and leaned over to ask him "how I could get their
CD if I didn't live in New York." He couldn't hear me the first time so
I repeated the question. My fears were totally unfounded, as he was
super cool and seemed very appreciative that I would ask. He didn't
know the answer though, and grabbed the drummer (who was standing
nearby) so I could ask him. As he came over I thanked the first guy
and complimented him on the show. Then I repeated the question to
the other guy. He told me to get in touch with Intensive Scare records,
and asked if I was "on the computer." I said yes and he said I could go
to "Punk World" to get information about the band and Intensive Scare.
I thanked him too and before heading back to get ready for the
Independents I ordered up my third and last Rolling Rock. I also
snagged a very cool looking Continental T-shirt for ten dollars, which
I then used to wrap around my hat and gloves which were a pain to
carry around. Next up was The Independents, and I was in for a big
letdown. They got on stage and looked pretty cool, but their music
was quite forgettable, and their singer was super-annoying. He kept
making these STUPID faces to the crowd-the kind of "I'm insane!"
faces that a performer makes when he has nothing else to offer. The
rest of the band was ok, and the singer knew how to work the crowd
fairly well, but their bland music combined with his maddening facial
expressions made me wonder what Joey aver saw in them (one of the
fans on the street said that Joey's their manager).
As I suffered through their set, I began to wish I didn't have that third
Rolling Rock. I wanted to get rid of the half-empty bottle, but I didn't
want to lose my place near the stage. As I wondered what to do, I
saw the Japanese Suicide King guy reach up and place his empty
bottle up above a small makeshift room at stage right. After he did
this I got his attention and motioned for him to do the same with
my bottle. He smiled, took the bottle and reached up to place it
After three or four songs, the singer asked where Joey was, and he
casually made his way through the crowd (and walked right beside
me) and up onto the stage. Now it was time for some fun! They
wasted no time and blasted right into I Wanna Be Sedated, and the
crowd (and I) was loving it. Joey was as he always is: Barely
animated, expressionless yet the ultimate definition of cool. He
wore a white T-shirt with a graphic (of an ear, I think) that said
"Who Did That?" and an unbuttoned, un-tucked black button-down
shirt on top. I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures (although
they would never come out.) Unfortunately the Independents' singer
decided to hang around, even though he was completely unnecessary
at this point. He just stood around crowding the stage beside Joey,
microphone in hand and occasionally raised it to his mouth to smile
and mutter some nonsense that served only to distract from the real
The next song was a more obscure one called Slug. I didn't recognize
it but it was good, and the crowd wasn't complaining. After that, Joey
introduced the next one as "another Dee Dee song that's one of my
favorites. Its called GARDEN OF SERENITY." With this one things
got going again, and the crowd was going nuts. I was being thrown
around and pulled in all directions and was having a blast. But the
excitement paled in comparison to the next and last song, which needed
no introduction: All hell broke loose as Blitzkrieg Bop finished out
their set. When they finished, Joey announced that "Next up is Dee
Dee and the Remains." Then he and The Independents came down
off the stage (again Joey brushed shoulders with me as he exited through
the crowd) along with a very zealous escort who really wanted to get
Joey through the crowd fast. She kept saying, "Let him through...
Let him through." As though he needed a paramedic or something.
After a small delay, the members of each of the bands that'd played
earlier began to congregate on the stage. It was soon clear that a
photograph was to be taken of them. It was fun seeing them all try
to fit on the tiny stage that was small even for one band. The earflap
guy (although I don't think he was wearing his hat anymore) was
positioning them just so, and then he came down into the crowd to
help make way for the photographer. He told us all to let her in, as
we all made a spot for her in the center of the audience. She set up
her tripod as the guys onstage got ready. A few good-natured groans
were heard from some of the subjects when earflaps instructed them
to make room at front and center for Joey, Marky & Dee Dee.
When the three ex-Ramones got positioned, the photos were taken as
various bandmembers struck some funny poses. Marky & Dee Dee
seemed to be having fun hamming it up, and even Joey cracked a smile
after a minute or two. When the photographer was done, she took her
stuff and made her way out as the guys left the stage, except Marky,
Dee Dee and Barbara who began to get ready for their show. It was
interesting (and necessary) that the same drum kit was used for each
band. As Dee Dee (center-stage: guitar) and Barbara (stage-left: bass)
got ready, some people were adjusting the community drum set to
Marky's simple standard. Soon they were ready and Dee Dee got them
started by introducing themselves and the sang: Rockaway Beach. A
great choice for an opener, and a tight band playing it. Age hadn't
slowed these guys down, (especially Barbara who I believe had just
turned 21) and they seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Teenage Lobotomy was next, and Barbara sang a very good lead
vocal. I noticed that she rarely looked out into the crowd, and kept
looking down at her bass as she sang. Dee Dee stayed at stage
center, and moved around quite a bit. Marky was the same as
always: ferocious yet focused. The crowd was having a great
time as well, and even though it was a small place, I was often
squished up to the front just like at the big shows. All three of
them wore the same shirt: a simple black one with white letters
that said "The Remains." Barbara had cut out the logo from hers
and had it somehow affixed to a more feminine tank top. She sang
the next song as well: Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment was great,
and it led right into Listen to My Heart, a song I didn't know very
Next was I Don't Care, for which Dee Dee resumed the vocal spot.
This one was a good live song, and it worked very well with Dee Dee
singing lead, and Barbara providing the high-pitched background voice.
When this one was done, Dee Dee said he wanted to abandon the set
list for a moment, and do a song called Hop Around. He then turned
around and asked Marky if he could do that one. Marky seemed
confused/annoyed for a split-second as he nodded yes. Evidently
Barbara didn't need to be asked if she knew it because she started
sing the words without missing a beat.
I noticed a woman in the audience who wore a leather jacket bearing
the Ramones "presidential seal" in red and white. It was quite well
done--too well done to be freehand. Since it came so well, it made
me wonder how she had had it painted, but it also showed me that
I'd made the right choice in painting the Road to Ruin image on mine.
After Hop Around was done, Marky smiled as Dee Dee said, "There,
now that that's out of my system..." Now it was time for my favorite:
53rd & 3rd brought the spotlight back to Dee Dee and the crowd went
nuts. This too is a great live song, and it was awesome. The audience
agreed. We were getting pretty volatile, and the photographer took the
opportunity to start taking some crowd shots. As she positioned for
her last shot, I noticed that she was aiming toward me, so I raised my
arms and jumped up to get into the picture. She saw my attempt at a
pose and aimed the camera toward me as I did it. I hope my picture
ends up in the CD!
Although a set list was taped to one of the amps, Dee Dee seemed to
choose randomly from it. Here he turned around, looked down through
the list, and the lucky winner was Judy is a Punk. Barbara started
singing again, and then went into I Just Want to Have Something To
Do. This was another great live song, although the lyrics are a little
Dee Dee introduced the next song as one he'd written in Germany in
1965. Although I couldn't remember many of the words, I sang
along to Commando, another good choice. Cretin Hop was next,
and was another solid performance with Dee Dee on vocals.
Barbara sang her final vocal of the night on Sheena is a Punk Rocker.
Another of my favorites, Wart Hog was next, and once again the
crowd (and I) loved it. The last song saw a guest appearing to play
guitar beside Dee Dee. He was introduced as an old friend who'd
been through the gutter with drugs, to which Dee Dee added, "which
doesn't make him any better or worse than me." Chinese Rock was
the last song (although Dee Dee introduced it as "Chinese Rocks")
and they seemed to enjoy playing together as his friend helped finish
out the set nicely. They were done far too soon. When they were
done they got down off the stage and as the next band prepared the
stage for their performance. As the audience began to mill around
as they do between sets, I quickly jumped onto the stage and grabbed
the set list that Dee Dee chose their songs from. With that I jumped
back down, made my way through the packed house and went out
into the cool New York night.
I was wiped out at this point, and wanted nothing more than to be
in bed at the condo. I remembered vaguely how to get to the subway
that I needed so I painfully headed in that direction. As I walked, my
feet and legs were in agony, and as I passed an open diner on Broadway
I decided to give them a rest and eat some food too. The place was called
Cozy Soup & Burger, and it was a pretty cool place with a 50s feel inside.
I sat down for a moment, and a waiter quickly came over. He tried to
hand me a menu, but I told him that I knew what I wanted: A cheeseburger,
fries and a chocolate milkshake. With that he went away, and I picked up
my things (the shirt, my fleece and my now-removed jacket) and hobbled
toward the bathroom. A guy behind the counter curiously watched me as
I walked by.
I did my business and came back out not more than 90 seconds later. A
moment after I'd sat down (or in other words, 3-4 minutes after I'd ordered)
they placed my order in front of me. Now that's service! The food was
good, and I quickly finished it as I looked over the dozens of autographed
pictures that lined the walls. I don't remember seeing any rock bands
but lots of TV & movie personalities.
After I finished, I left them my payment ($15 for a $9 check - I was too tired
to wait for change) and dressed to go back out into the night. I walked along
Broadway until I saw the same subway entrance as before. Down underground
I went, and once again gave my feet some much-needed rest. Soon the train
returned to City Hall, and I got out to walk the final leg of the journey to the
condo. It was so beautiful to see the World Trade Center building lit up at
night, rising high above the surrounding structures. I headed for it, and soon
found Fulton Street. I wanted to read something in the condo, and as I walked
I noticed a trash can containing a used newspaper on top. I wasn't too proud,
and reached in to grab it. As I walked I attempted to fold it up but the wind
wasn't being very cooperative (not to mention that I was wearing my thick
gloves). Eventually I managed to get the paper somewhat contained,
although the final result was more like a ball of papers under my arm than a
nicely folded one that I was attempting.
Finally I was back at the condo. I went inside and immediately headed upstairs.
I'd cranked the heat before, so it was nice and warm up there. The place was
in disarray from the renovations, so the TV was on the floor. The remote
wasn't working so I went downstairs to the room I'd stayed in the previous
summer. The TV worked here, so I watched the Robin Byrd show for
about ten minutes. Listening to airhead strippers' talk about their boob-jobs
wasn't holding my interest, so after a few minutes I turned it off and went
back upstairs to read my paper. I read for a few minutes and then went to
sleep. It was a long day and I needed it.
The next morning I got up at about 10:00am, showered, packed and headed
home. The ride home was pretty uneventful. As soon as I returned I
headed to the mall to have my pictures developed, and to have a coffee
mug made from the picture with Marky and Dee (and my autographed
Road to Ruin CD cover on the other side.)
(What I can say, this's so special review:
Gabba thanks Tony Taylor)
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