TOMMY RAMONE AND SEYMOUR STEIN VISITED IN FINLAND IN OCTOBER 2008
Copyright 2008 -> : Text and photos: Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone.
Original Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone, Seymour Stein and Jonathan
Poneman were main guests and speakers in Musiikki & Media conference in
Tampere, Finland on October 23-25, 2008. Musiikki & Media conference is
the biggest annual Finnish music trade fair for people in Finnish
recording, publishing, live music and media industries etc. Seymour
Stein is a vice president of Warner Bros. Records and a co-founder of
Sire Records, original and long lasting label of the Ramones.
Jonathan Poneman is another founder of famous Sub Pop label. Sub Pop achieved
fame in the late 1980's for first signing Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney
and many other bands from the Seattle music scene.
As you know, Tommy Ramone is original Ramones drummer etc. Tommy was
visited in Finland only once before, 31 years earlier,
when the Ramones played first time in Finland in 1977. Then the Ramones
played shows in Tampere and Helsinki which is capital of the Finland.
Tommy and I (Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone) E-mailed many times in advance of
his trip to Finland. I tried to give him lot information in advance,
that I would know how to help him. I tried to be as good assistant as I
can for Tommy. I know that it is not easy to travel to new city and
country. I was only person whom Tommy knew well of Finnish people in
advance. I had been in same situation many times, like how great hosts
has been for me Randy Wisebrod and Shazz Carrington in San Diego and
Toronto (where they lived before), Maria Montoya-Kaye in Los Angeles,
David Kelly in New York, Arne-Johan Martinsen, Azzy Prytz and Rosa
Correa in Norway etc.
Tommy Ramone and Seymour Stein arrived to Finland in October 23, 2008. I
met some of my friends in hotel lobby and then Tommy saw me. It was
great meeting. I and Tommy wasn't met for sixteen months at live. We
went to restaurang because Tommy wanted eat a bit before his first
interview in Finland. That was made by Jay Burnside (Jarkko Jokelainen)
of The Flaming
Sideburns band. They had great discussion. Jay is
longtime Ramones fan and in past he was made interviews with few other
Ramones members as well. Jay Burnside asked from Tommy for example of
Tommy's feelings of his role in Ramones in early days and of it how the
Ramones created their sound. Tommy said that all of them worked hard and
he was organising things and made suggestions of certain ideas. Tommy
explained how the Ramones wanted to take anything extra away what they
didn't need in music.
Tommy got tired of touring and for it how hard it was to tour and be 24
hours a day with three different kind of personalities (singer Joey
Ramone, bassist Dee Dee Ramone and guitarist Johnny Ramone). Tommy
to keep working with the Ramones and he
was happy that they also in 1980's wanted to make with him Too Tough To
Die album (as a producer). Tommy and Jay Burnside also spoke how Joey's
whole life was pop music etc. Tommy Ramone's and Claudia
Tienan's duo band Uncle Monk was also one
Jay Burnside asked from Tommy an autograph for a card which was signed
before by Joey, Johnny, CJ and Marky Ramone. Also he asked autographs
for Ramones debut album and Leave Home album. Another of them will be
framed to the wall of bar called The Loose in Helsinki, Finland. This
interview by Jay Burnside was published already in next day (October 24,
2008) in biggest Finnish daily newspaper called Helsingin
I knew that Tommy has a jet-lag because time difference between Finland
and New York is seven hours. But he said for me that it is a good time
to go and see city. In next 1,5 hours we wandered in many places and
when Tommy saw some
names of the companies, he recognized similarities of Finnish and
Hungarian languages. Tommy has born in Hungary and Finnish and Hungarian
really are a bit relative kind of languages. Tommy had nice sightseeing.
He liked to see old buildings. We also visited some stores that he would
see Finnish products.
I left some of my items for Tommy's hotel room before I went to the
house of my friend Arska. Arska's current band is The
Voodoo Nights. I was hoped that new live CD by
would have arrived for me before this trip. But its release date was a
bit postponed. CD is recorded in Berlin, Germany in April, 2007. I,
Arska and our friend Simppa were in that show in Berlin (read
story of that trip here). Walter Lure's
CD was released few weeks later in November, 2008 by Italian label Nicotine
Tommy Ramone and I were decided to meet in hotel lobby before going to
the opening event of Musiikki & Media. During that night I got chance to
introduce Tommy for some festival organisators etc. I hope they would
get Tommy's and Claudia Tienan's Uncle Monk duo to play in Finland.
Before Musiikki & Media event I was asked if Tommy and Claudia would
like to play some shows in Finland around that event. Claudia wouldn't
have got chance to travel to Finland.
Tommy Ramone, Seymour Stein and Jonathan Poneman were brought to Finland
by Musex company (Music Export Finland). Everybody in Musex staff was
really friendly in Tampere.
Later that night Sami Häikiö and Ville Kilpeläinen of
Musex wanted to take Tommy, Seymour, Jonathan and some other people to
have lunch. Later that night Musex people wanted to take
Tommy, Seymour, Jonathan and some other people to have lunch. It was
good event and Musex organised everything greatly. People were eating
and chatting with time, around 2,5 hours. Then Tommy and Seymour got
chance to talk also with time and it was special for me to meet Seymour
Stein for the first time. Tommy introduced me to him. I and Seymour were
planned to do an interview one year earlier. But because of changed
plans and scheludes it got then cancelled.
Next day (October 24) Tommy and I went to have lunch together. Tommy had
that day many interviews which were organised by Musex. Really lot
people asked in advance from me if they would meet Tommy, play music of
their bands for Tommy or do interviews with him etc. etc. Most of the
people understood my situation. I did not wanted to make plans and
schedules for Tommy, because for him was booked already so many things
and interviews. I wanted Tommy to get an good impression of Finland and
that he can also relax a bit. I anyway decided to ask from Tommy if he
would write dedicated autographs for some of my friends and for some who
would have wanted to meet him. He was happy to do that. I also asked
Tommy to dedicate for me some Ramones CD's and sawblade
shaped Ramones 7' singles. German label Empty Records released a
saw-blade (shaped CD
and 7' on colored vinyl) split singles in 2001. They has first demo
recording of Ramones' song Judy Is A Punk and in the other side is New
York Dolls song Human Being. First pressing of the vinyl is half blue -
half red and second pressing
is half white - half red. Tommy wasn't seen those before. He thinked
they are bootlegs, but they aren't.
Tommy also signed some more of my Ramones books (Heaven Needed A
Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone and Rock In Peace:
Dee Dee And Joey Ramone which you can also order from me, send
message for more information).
Then we started doing new interview for my third Ramones memory book. I
wanted to ask Tommy's feelings
and memories of some special Uncle Monk shows. Like I knew that it has
meant a lot for him and Claudia Tienan to play as a opening act for
Stanley and Earl Scruggs.
- Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs are two pioneers of bluegrass and we
were very lucky to have a chance open for those classic, great artists.
It was magic to that happen. They were really nice to us and we had
great time, said Tommy.
Tommy asked if I was seen Bonnie And Clyde movie. Earl Scruggs was for
example in a band called Foggy Mountain Breakdown in 1940's-1960's. They
were in Bonnie And Clyde movie.
Tommy explains things longer in that interview version which comes to my
book. It was also interesting to hear of first "version" of Uncle Monk.
Tommy said that they played then as a trio around two years. Did you
recorded then any demos?
- Yeah, we recorded some demos in 80's but no-one is not going to hear
them, laughed Tommy.
Tommy said that it is wonderful that Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee has
- I am always happy seeing fans and signing autographs.
I was calling with my friend Sipe of Apulanta band in that day. Sipe
said that he is coming to Tampere to do an interview with Tommy. Sipe
and Timo Isoaho made that in a same time. Sipe is also a long time
Ramones fan. Sipe played drums when I, Sipe, Heko (Rehtorit, Ne
Luumäet), Martti (Luonteri
Surf) and Tommi Kurki (ex-Rehtorit)
Ramones cover songs SLUG and I Wanna Be Well in 2002. SLUG is released
in Ramones tribute albums Todos
Somos Ramones (Argentina, 2005) and All
Good Cretins Go To Heaven - A Tribute To The Ramones (Germany,
2005). So Apulanta is Sipe's band. Apulanta's nine records
has gone straight to
number one in official Finnish album chart after their release and their
eighteen singles has been number one in official Finnish single chart.
Timo Isoaho invited Tommy and me to come to see record release party of
J. Karjalainen's and Veli-Matti Järvenpää's record under
Paratiisin Pojat. They played manysided way different kind of
country, traditional and roots song. J. Karjalainen and Veli-Matti
Finnish versions of some old blues songs from 1930's-1950's. Tommy liked
of Paratiisin Pojat a lot. After show ended, Tommy talked a bit with J.
Karjalainen and Veli-Matti Järvenpää. Their record was
Poko Rekords. Tommy also met shortly founder and boss of the
Poko Rekords, Epe Helenius, who saw Ramones shows in 70's. Week later
Epe wrote to me that he and Tommy were met also in London in one
another seminar. Karjalainen was explained to Epe how much Karjalainen
was liked of Tommy's comments of their music.
Then was time to go to the event organised by Musex. I had for that
event two tickets. One of my friends had to cancel his coming and I
started calling my other friends. I took to that event with me Kukka
(Jari Kukkaisniemi) who is also big Ramones fan. Kukka was in town and
he got chance to come to that event in few hours. I knew how much it
meant for him to meet Tommy and chat with him. Before Tommy left, I
wanted to take photo of Tommy Ramone, Seymour Stein and Kukka together.
When I was going to take it, I saw singer Marko Annala of Mokoma
metal band. I asked Marko also for that photo. Ramones memory interview
with Marko Annala and Mokoma drummer Janne Hyrkäs is coming for my
third Ramones book. We made it in November, 2006.
I and Kukka went to see The Wildhearts this night at
live. I was not
seen The Wildhearts before.
Tommy Ramone's and Seymour Stein's seminar discussion was in Saturday
on October 25, 2008. They
spoke 45 minutes publicly. Jay Burnside (that same guy who made
interview with Tommy before) was leading an discussion. So that seminar
discussion was part of the Musiikki & Media conference. Tickets for
Musiikki & Media cost in advance 400 euros and if you bought them in
final week, they cost then 600 euros. There was in Musiikki & Media
mainly business people from Finnish recording, publishing, live music
and media industries etc.
After that seminar discussion was Ginger of The Wildhearts really happy
to spoke with Tommy and Seymour some minutes. Then they were in hurry
because Tommy and Seymour had TV interview for Finnish TV2's program
called Musiikki-TV. After that Seymour and I made first part of our
interview for my next book. Just like Tommy, also Seymour was all the
time really friendly for me in Tampere.
Later that night was gala event where Tommy and Seymour were special
guests. In that event were announced and awarded the most best music
event of Finland, best gig place, best promoter etc. It was nice event.
I was spoke with Tommy and Seymour that they would like to see that
at Pakkahuone/ Klubi venue. Sadly it was only 9:30PM
and Hanoi Rocks would start to play 3 hours later (after midnight). HIM
manager Seppo Vesterinen took them to the Pakkahuone. I understood that
Seppo does take care of Tommy and Seymour. When I went to Pakkahuone, I
noticed that club was sold-out (I had ticket) and I did not found Tommy
or Seymour. I saw a bit Ismo Alanko Teholla line-up
and then also Underwater Sleeping
Society. I was then still searching Tommy and Seymour. I called for
Tommy for his hotel number. Tommy was already there because he and
Seymour had early flight next day. I wanted to say again many thanks for
Tommy before we ended our call.
Soon after our call one of my friends
told where he was seen Seymour Stein sitting. I went there and Seymour
was sitting alone. I couldn't understand why Seppo Vesterinen was left
him alone in a club. Seymour wasn't visited at Pakkahuone before and he
did not where were some certain things there. Tommy and Seymour had seen
a bit Ismo Alanko Teholla line-up before Tommy left. Seymour Stein liked
a lot of
Disco Ensemble band. Disco Ensemble is energetic group which
played as a first Finnish band in Warped Tour in summer 2008. Rubik
played in another stage than Disco Ensemble and I took Seymour Stein
there and I found for us good place to sit. We watched together Rubik
before was time to go to back another stage before Hanoi Rocks started
their set. Seymour Stein watched first 4-5 Hanoi Rocks songs before he
felt too tired. Seymour has born in 1942 and many 66 years old people
has not found energy which he has got. Also he had early flight in
next morning. Hanoi Rocks had informed while before that they have
decided to break up by the end of the year 2008. Michael Monroe and Andy
McCoy feel that they've taken the band as far as it can go. It was big
honour to meet Seymour Stein and talk with him lot. I think we
communicated well and I found out how friendly he is. We promised to
keep in touch via E-mail. I took Seymour Stein out of the club and I
searched for him an taxi before was time to say goodbye. I watched Hanoi
Rocks set to the end. Tragedy song finished their encore...
After Hanoi Rocks I met again with Ginger. Ginger wasn't seen yet my
first book Heaven Needed A
Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone for what he also wrote text.
I gave it to him and he wanted to buy my second book Rock In Peace:
Dee Dee And Joey Ramone For my third book I took photo of his
- END -
Copyright 2008 -> : Text and photos: Jari-Pekka