INTERVIEW WITH THE KEN STRINGFELLOW
Copyright 2016 -> Jari-Pekka
Laitio-Ramone and Ken Stringfellow.
Ken Stringfellow of The Posies and R.E.M. has toured with Marky Ramone
in 2016 and here you can read my interview with him.
I did this interview with Ken in June 12 one day after he, Marky,
guitarist Captain Poon and bassist Alejandro Tannen had to cancel their
show at Saaristo Open in Kaarina, Finland. Show got canceled because of
strike by SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) pilots. Around 400 pilots walked
out after talks between unions and employers broke down on Friday June
10, 2016. Lot of flights are canceled on Sweden. Staff of Saaristo Open
and Marky with his band and manager tried to find new flight from Sweden
to Finland without success.
Ken traveled to Finland by boat and next day he played acoustic solo
1) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: What I read your
comment, SAS people did not treat you well. Cancellation was bad also
because of few thousands of people were waiting to see you.
I think SAS people were terrible in fact. SAS didn't offer any
alternativies that really made any sense. They were pretty hostile.
There was no way to get to the show in time. It was a real bummer.
We were not only people stranded, thousands of people were out of luck,
but some people were just in a vacation.
2) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: Was it Marky or his
manager David Riu who asked you to tour with Marky?
Ken Stringfellow: It was David who contacted
me. He knows one guy with who I have played with in past. When it
turned out that Andrew W.K. wasn't gonna to continue because he just
got too busy. My friend really popped in and said: "you should get
What I do in Spain is pretty well-known. I tour there a lot. People
really like what I do. There I has got a little bit more reputation. I
has no better or worse reputation but just more people know who I am in
general there. Like nobody in the United States knows who I am. Not like
3) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: I think a bit
differently. Lot people know you in the USA. But maybe it is harder to
tour in the USA?
Ken Stringfellow: In Spain enough people know
me that I might come to mind as someone who is at least a good singer. I
mean I don't have any history with the Ramones other than being a fan or
I am not from other punk band that toured with them or something like
4) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: I think you are a
good combination with Marky. I really like that you bring something new
and unique. You do not try to imitate Joey.
Ken Stringfellow: That wouldn't be possible
anyway. He was so unique.
5) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: Is it easier for
you also when you can be now quicker, you can concentrate to singing and
Ken Stringfellow: I think singing is my
fav to do. I play instruments just because I have to. I do not wanna
put down my guitar playing or whatever. I am not very good guitar
player. I love singing and singing is something that has obsess and
intensity and you can accomplish so much feeling from singing.
It is a kind of dream come true to have these songs to get in to and
explore. I own many but not all the Ramones records.
6) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: When was the first
time you heard the Ramones? Which album you first heard?
Ken Stringfellow: Early 80's. Subterraen
Jungle was the album I first heard and I thought that was great. I lived
in a small town and I was really confused to about like what exactly
people are talking about, when they were talking about punk. By this
time there was already hardcore bands, so you can hear like Black Flag
and then you can hear the Ramones or you can hear the Buzzcocks. To me
all these bands are totally different. I was having such a hard time
understanding what the hell they are talking when they are talking about
punk. The Ramones to me was more like hyperactive bubblegum or
7) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: Subterraen Jungle
is more punk after End Of The Century and Pleasant Dreams.
Then Too Tough To Die came out. I like that one too. That is when I
first saw them. Funny thing is when I went to see the Ramones, my
parents actually drove me. I wanted to go so bad that they said: "OK, we
will go and we will have dinner somewhere." The show was at the
They played around 20 minutes and then someone threw shoe at Dee Dee,
hitting him to the head. He jump off from stage to get to the fight and
show was over and they never came back. 20 minutes was great
so I was pretty happy anyway.
8) Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone: Did you spoke in
advance with Marky if you can also play some The Posies songs or your
solo songs in these shows?
In the set? That was never discussed. I never considered the idea. There
are so many Ramones songs to play. Even in 90 minutes, we can keep
going. Maybe someday it would be cool to do something on
the side with Marky. He is a great to play with. I just want to play
I am not coming claim to be Ramones expert, and nobody can be at your
level, but I mean I am just a fan who love the music, who love the
songs and I totally satisfied to do that music every night.
Thanks Ken Stringfellow.