Let’s Get Weird: Rad times with Richie Ramone
Sadly the original lineup of the Ramones is deceased. Despite that, there are a couple of Ramones still rocking and building up the legend. Two are coming to town this spring, so for this issue, we’re going to focus on Richie Ramone, who will be bringing his band to Askew on Mar 25. Richie really got the Ramones to their roots, wielding the heaviest stick of the three drummers. After a couple of albums where they tried for the elusive hit, Richie’s first album with the band Too Tough To Die immediately righted the ship. He continued writing, recording and touring through the albums Animal Boy and Halfway To Sanity. Richie has since released two solo records, written his autobiography I Know Better Now: My Life Before, During, and After the Ramones and even written a children’s book about the band. I talked to Richie about his time in the Ramones, coming out of the pandemic with new music, and going back on tour.
Marc Clarkin (Motif): So it has been a couple of years since we’ve gotten any new music from you, any plans to release anything?
Richie Ramone: Yeah, this will be the first announcement right now! March 4th we’re releasing a 7-inch with an A side of “Not Afraid” and the B side is “Cry Little Sister” from The Lost Boys movie, which I covered for a movie called Protege Moi and play a vampire in. The movie comes out in the fall but the single comes out March 4th on translucent orange vinyl limited to 300 pressing. There will be more available as black pressing, you know, like we’ve had for 100 years. The vinyl just came; it took eight months to make it. That is how backlogged they are. The single is coming out on Outro Records (outrorecords.com) and they’ll have some signed versions available on their site as well. Anyway, that’s the new release and it is exciting to have some new music out. It’s been a really rough two years, it hasn’t been fun, but hopefully the best is yet to come.
MC: You wrote the Ramones classic, “Somebody Put Something in My Drink.” Isn’t that song based on a true story?
RR: Yeah, they didn’t put it in my drink. We used to go to the clubs and when people got up to dance or went to the bathroom we took their drinks. It was someone’s drink on the table by accident. It wasn’t like somebody slipped it in my personal drink: We had no money back then, so me and friends would go and when people left the table we’d grab their beer or whatever.
One night I started to feel funny. I didn’t know what it was. At first I was really scared, you know it felt like dying because it is different if you know you took something. You have to go through this 15 – 20 minutes of weirdness before you figure out what happened. That’s a scary moment. Then after that it was fun. So I told Dee Dee (Ramone) that story when I was in the Ramones, it happened before I joined, it happened when I moved to New York City in 1980. Dee Dee said, “You should write that song,” and I did. The song stayed in their set till their very last show which is a pretty cool thing.
MC: Do you have a favorite memory from being in the band?
RR: No, every day was a favorite memory. Please, it’s the Ramones right? Night after night, five hundred something shows looking at Joey’s back, it was pretty intense! To have found your way into that band after playing in horn bands and studying all kinds of music, reading music and winning awards as a kid in orchestras. To come down to that simple beat and I played it better than anybody. It was really aggressive and I stayed there on it and let those guys rumble around me. As long as I stayed there they never got lost. People play the Ramones so tight these days that it sounds like a machine gun. Ramones weren’t like that. We were loose around a good solid foundation of the drums. You only got three instruments and they have to be just a little off a bit and that is what makes it sound really full.
MC: After you left the Ramones, didn’t you give up music for years?
RR: I came to LA right after leaving and played in some bands like Mail Order Brides; played for maybe a year or two. Then I was done and didn’t pick up a drumstick for like eight to ten years. I was just burnt out.
MC: What brought you back?
RR: Around 2004 or 2005, Mickey (Leigh) called me to come and play one of the Joey Ramone Birthday Bashes. I did that and then the next year things started to change in my mind. I started thinking about making a solo record, which I’ve never done. So I made a record, I had no plans to do any of that. Sometimes it takes something unexpected like that to lead you down a whole new path. It’s been working out good and I’m having fun with all of this. I then fell into acting a little bit over COVID thing, which is a whole new experience, and also a lot of fun!
Richie Ramone, Public Nature, Shore City, and Joy Boys will rock Askew in Providence on Mar 25.
This Month’s Bangers:
Lucy Dacus, touring behind her latest album, Home Video, comes to The Strand with Indigo Desouza providing support on Mar 3.
Midnight Creeps, Diablogato, Sugar Cones, and Ruin The Nite will rock Dusk in PVD like a punk rock tsunami on Mar 4.
Viking Jesus Providence Vinyl Release Show featuring sets by Animal Face, Ravi Shavi, The Chops, and Viking Jesus goes down Mar 4 at The Parlour in PVD. The show starts at 9 pm sharp and also be sure to wish Tara and Nick from Viking Jesus a happy Birthday.
The Schemers rock the Met Cafe in Pawtucket on Mar 4.
Iceage with Sloppy Joe rock the Columbus Theatre in PVD on Mar 8.
Crash Test Dummies are at the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on Mar 10.
The Tossers, Crazy and the Brains, and The Pourmen rock Askew Mar 10.
Start Making Sense A Tribute to the Talking Heads is back at the Met Cafe on Mar 11 with Ruby Dear opening.
Verbal Assault, The FU’s, Peace Test, Bullet Proof Backpack, and Holy Hands bring punk rock back to the Met Cafe on Mar 12.
Damn The Torpedoes: A Tom Petty Tribute is at the Greenwich Odeum on Mar 19.
Henry Rollins brings his Good To See You 2022 Tour to the Met Cafe on Mar 22.
The Fairview, Strip Mall, Never Coming Home, Sue’s Garage, and Radio Compass rock Alchemy in PVD on Mar 26. This is an early show with doors at 5:30pm.
Soccer Mommy and Peel Dream Magazine will be at FMH on Mar 27.
Brian Jonestown Massacre and Mercury Rev make a rare visit to town to rip it at the Columbus Theatre on Mar 31.
RIP Pete McClanahan
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