JOHNNY AND JOEY RAMONE LIVECHAT TRANSCRIPT, AUGUST 9, 1999

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The Ramones: Johnny: Hi, this is Johnny Ramone from the Ramones, I'm waiting for your questions, so fire away!

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: This is Michael Goldberg, editorial director of SonicNet, I'm very pleased to have two of the Ramones with us, including my old friend Joey. It's been almost three years exactly since you played your last show as the Ramones, any regrets about breaking up the band?

The Ramones: Johnny:No, it just comes a time when you have to stop. I don't want to hear kids say, 'they used to be good.' I was never a believer in rock'N' roll going on too long. I just want to be remembered for performing at a certain level. It's been three years since our last show as of two days ago.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: I listened to disc on of the new Ramones Anthology just before this chat began. It's an amazing body of work. Did either of you listen to it recently?

The Ramones: Johnny:No, I haven't put it on yet. I've looked at the songs numerous times, and I still feel that there were 15 songs that I would have put on there, especially on the second half. The first half was pretty much right on.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: Now that you perhaps have some distance, how do you feel about your records? Which are your faves?

The Ramones: Joey:I think the records are great, they're timeless. Certain songs are better than others, but the albums have really held up well over the years. Of course, there are better albums than others. Some albums I'm very happy with, and there are some that I'm not happy with. I think we did good, but I think we could have done better still.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: I saw you perform in San Francisco shortly after the release of your first album-- you played a place on upper grant and it was the most intense show I'd ever seen up til then. And I saw you when you played lollapalooza. How did you maintain the intensity through the years?

The Ramones: Joey:Well, speaking for myself, I think it was just the passion and the excitement of the whole thing. The Ramones were a very exciting band, and the fans were very exciting. I guess there was a certain fire in you to be the best, and every night you felt like there's something to prove to any new people coming to see you. The fans were tremendous and they really helped it along. It was an intensity, back and forth from the stage to the crowd and the crowd to the stage. It just kept building and building, the intensity of the whole thing.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: I think for a lot of kids today it's hard to understand what the music world was like when your first album came out. Today, I think people take punk for granted. Can you talk a bit about what it was like when you started?

The Ramones: Johnny:It's very difficult, there was no club scene, bands went out and toured with major acts. Our music wasn't suited for the larger acts. We had to find the right clubs for our music. It was very difficult to find the right venues to play. Kids are used to having small clubs in every city now, things have just changed a lot. In the early days, you'd go out and make it happen. You'd go out and create the excitement. That world doesn't exist anymore, it's like an MTV world, y'know? Everything's prefabricated and very phony, for the most part. There's a minority of unique people out there, but you have to go looking for them.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: The Ramones inspired bands from the Sex Pistols and Clash to Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth and the Offspring. why do you think you've been so influential?

The Ramones: Joey:Everything has become very corporate again. We're just ourselves, genuine and honest, we did what excited us and humored us. Not doing what somebody else wanted you to do. The Clash, Nirvana, those bands are more of their own, creating their own genre, doing what excites them. Offspring and Green Day, they're doing what excites them, they're not really unique, but they're fun.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: Is it strange to be legends in your own lifetime?

The Ramones: Joey:It's amusing.

The Ramones: Johnny:I'd say the same thing.

The Ramones: Joey:How can you take it seriously? When you walk down the street, and someone says, 'hey there's a living legend!" you're like, that's cool, but it's hard having that weight on your shoulders...like Atlas!

The Ramones: Johnny:Sometimes they throw that word around too much, some people, I don't feel that they are really legends.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: Did you realize, when the first album came out, that you were in a sense, revolutionaries, in direct contrast to hit baneds like the Doobie Brothers who were on the charts then... all those dionosaur bands...

The Ramones: Johnny:I think at the time it started to enter our minds, when we went to England in july '76, we started to see a movement growing. We knew it was going to take a movement, and that we would be at the forefront.

The Ramones: Joey:Well, I guess in America we were definitely rockin' the boat. We were being avoided left and right. The music business was pretty fat with disco and corporate rock, they didn't want anything rockin' the boat. We couldn't get radio play. It really was like launching a revolution.

The Ramones: Johnny:We knew there would have to be other bands to launch a movement. Just like in the '60s, with The Beatles and The Stones, we knew there would have to be other bands.

The Ramones: Joey:Strength in numbers.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: Joey, you said you feel everything is corporate now, but there are really a lot of indie labels like Kill Rock Stars and K and lots of smaller ones and tons of bands are doing their own thing... what do you think about that?

The Ramones: Joey:I know there's a lot of really unique labels like Kill Rock Stars and Creation, it's just that there aren't many bands doing anything unique. Everyone's playing punk rock, I guess it's ok, but I'd like to see people put themselves more into it. I mean, I wanna be entertained! There aren't that many bands that really excite me.

The Ramones: Johnny:The bands today have not seen the great bands that knew what it took to be great. You have to see the great stuff and know when you're seeing it, so you can be influenced and be good. Even the big bands who are having a lot of success, there seems to be a real shortage of quality material. They seem to get pushed on people until they buy the records.

The Ramones: Joey:The bands that know what's good or are older, who have experienced more older stuff, they know how to play with that assault and have really good influences. They have more personality, color and character.

The Ramones: Johnny:Bands like The Cramps and Motorhead, Chili Peppers.

The Ramones: Joey:Social Distortion.

The Ramones: Johnny:These people grew up seeing the older bands.

The Ramones: Joey:I don't know about today's band's influences going back that far. Some, like Pearl Jam, have roots, as like, they caught the tail end of The Who. It's flattering, a loty of the young bands say they grew up with The Stones, the Chuck Berry riff was the blueprint of rock n' roll. Some say that Johnny's guitar playing was the blueprint for what they play now.

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: Do you think the MP3 thing, and the fact that bands can distribute their music themselves on the net will make a big difference?

The Ramones: Joey:With VH-1, kids have a whole world of knowledge, you can really get turned on to everything today, with the internet. I don't really know, the web's so big, I don't know if it can really make a difference, I mean, it's good, it can help. It's definitely making a difference, the major labels are shaking in their boots. Things are already becoming different in the music community.

DC_Vyf: Have you found the mythical fourth chord?

The Ramones: Johnny:(laughing) I wish it was that simple, just playing three chords, that would make us even smarter.

The Ramones: Joey:And deeper.

The Ramones: Johnny:I think we might have one song that has three chords, maybe "Judy's a Punk." That might be the only song that has three chords.

johnny_rockin : do you think the backstreet boys and britney spears should burn in hell?

The Ramones: Johnny:(laughs) I dont know who they are.

The Ramones: Joey:UH, probably. They're like the barbie dolls of rock n' roll!

The Ramones: Johnny:I never heard of 'em, so . . .it doesn't sound good, the names ..

theeripper : was the show at city gardens the only show clem burke played as a ramone?

The Ramones: Johnny:Providence, RI, the Living Room and City Gardens. The City Gardens show, that one was a little bit better than the Providence one, the low-point of our career. They both were bad, but the City Gardens was the worst, it made me realize the importance of the drummer.

The Ramones: Joey:He tried very hard. He had a glass of cognac, very continental. He gave us a little bit of class!

DC_Vyf : So do you ever plan to re-release Carbonna Not Glue ever?

The Ramones: Johnny:It's on the new anthology! They put it on, they're ready for the lawsuits, they're ready.

The Ramones: Joey:They're gluesniffers, those Rhino people! (laughs)

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: Joey, when will you record a solo album? I think a lot of people are waiting.

tum_tum_macleoud: JOEY... WHY DO WRITE SUCH SHORT SONGS?

The Ramones: Joey:Well I just started working on something, I've had two rehearsals. I haven't been in any kind of rush. f you can't say it in three minutes or less why bother?

The Ramones: Johnny:You would think, in the era of short attention spans, you would think bands would write shorter songs, and directors would make shorter movies . .

SonicNetMod1: Goldberg: So does that mean you're gonna record an album this year, or first get a bunch of songs together?

The Ramones: Joey:It won't be this year. It'll be in the new millenium, Nostradamus says it's the end of the world.

Barmy_Army_999: When you toured the U.K. in the late 70's, what was the major difference that you noticed between the U.K. scene and the New York scene?

The Ramones: Joey:The UK scene was totally insane when we got over there, everybody was waiting for us. When we started in New York, it was word of mouth. It was like, we created our own thing at CBGB's basically.

The Ramones: Johnny:To me, all that really mattered was America, In England, it was always a trend. You would always have loyal fans, but most people were looking for the latest thing. You had music papers like Melody Maker and NME, all the kids would read it, and the bands would become big immediately, and then weeks later, the paper would be insulting them. The country is basically, like a piece of shit.

Joeyramone_isgod : DID U REALLY PEE IN JOHNNY ROTTEN'S BEER?

The Ramones: Johnny:No, we have done that, but not to him. It would have been nice, but we didn't do it to him. We have done that, where the dressing room would fill up with people, and we'd offer someone the beer, but we didn't do it that day.

The Ramones: Joey:He wouldn't know the difference anyway. He'd probably enjoy it!

markman196: do you have your 1ST leather jacket??

The Ramones: Johnny:I don't, no, my first one was stolen in Holland, the second was stolen in Florida. And then, my last one, I gave it to my friend Vincent Gallo.

The Ramones: Joey:I still have my first leather jacket, it stands up in the closet by itself! (laughs) Yeah, it's pretty stiff!

gaspunk77 : Hi, Im Gaston from Mexico... why do u guys invite someone like pearl jam, soundgarden and rancid (totally mtv related) to your last show... and not someone from the punk rock scene, like The Queers, Screachin Weasel, Face to Face, Huntingtons, circle jerks, descendents or bad religion?... etc. And what do u think of those kind of bands?

The Ramones: Johnny:They were there and were volunteering their services, they're our friends. The other bands are all terrific bands, but they weren't around when it just came together. Everything was happening so quick that there wasn't much time to discuss all of this.

The Ramones: Joey:Bands like Bad Religion, The Queers and Screeching Weasel, The Queers played with us in Providence, RI, a few years ago. In the late 70s, All of those bands are huge Ramones fans.

The Ramones: Johnny:The last show happened so quickly, the bands were with us, they were all friends. Soundgarden got us on Lollapalooza, that was the day before the final show.

butterflyrainbows : HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SCARY EXPERIENCE AT ONE OF YOUR CONCERTS??

The Ramones: Joey:We had many, but, I don't know. That Black Sabbath show ..

The Ramones: Johnny:In Italy, the light tower fell in the audience.

The Ramones: Joey:Remember that guy dropped that big rock on mark?

The Ramones: Johnny:Tear gas in Rio de Janeiro, not really scary, just inconvenience.

SpankMaster_E : any more "last" tours? I think I need to see the Ramones one more time! And so does my 9 year old daughter!

The Ramones: Joey:Yeah, there's a lot of kids that were too young to see us! One really wild thing about the whole legacy of the Ramones, is how our records have been passed down throughout the generations, through the 70s. Like the older sisters and brothers, the parents. Like hand me downs, you know?

johnny_rockin : how can we write you guys? do you have an e-mail or snail mail address we can contact you at?

The Ramones: Johnny:Probably not, but you never know ..

The Ramones: Joey:I guess the reason the Rhino package was released, the interest has never wavered. As far as kids being totally excited by the band. It's young kids, today it's different races, it's pretty wide-spread today, it's pretty cool, actually.