My blog is really bad it gets more and more like some sort of eulogy’s collection However I really am deeply touched by births and deaths and lacking a more substantial input I often just remember somebody who once was and get the impulse to write. Unfortunately I can practically take any day of the year and get a couple of very significant individuals who left us way too early. Today is the case of Joey Ramone (fictitious name adopted by Jeff Hyman) undisputed charismatic leader of a band that changed, in its own peculiar way, the course of rock music from a pisshouse on the Bowery called CBGB.
Joey passed away too early and we didn’t get a chance to hear what his solo career could have become, he did put out a solo album but maybe more and greater things would have been in store had he stayed a little bit longer. A bad, bad disease struck him and left him lifeless over a very short period of time. I once saw him, from a distance, walking down NYC but never had a chance, nor I chased it to be completely honest, to meet him and to chat with him.
Back in the late 1980′s there was a show happening at an historical music-cabaret that passed away itself, it was called THE BOTTOM LINE (on Mercer and W.4th if memory serves me well). There, hosted by none other than the great Vin Scelsa, a show called “In Their Own Words” went on for a handful of years. Basically enough, Vin Scelsa would pull a chair on stage and a so-called “circle of songwriters”, would take turns to play acoustic versions of their classics while explaining the real genesis of each song. Except Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, several dozens of the greatest pop-rock songwriters of all time played there and THE BOTTOM LINE, for a brief moment a record-label by the same name as well, published two discs with the cream of the crop, or whatever cream would fill two discs I guess, as probably dozens of volumes wouldn’t be enough to publish all the great music that was played during those evenings.
Within those two discs there was one moment where Joey Ramone discussed how the classic Ramones number “I Wanna Be Sedated” came to be and the proceeded to play it by himself for the adoring audience of the evening. While I have no video for that particular rendition, and I haven’t been able to find one, a very good friend of mine, that knew and loved Joey and played that song hundreds of times all over the world will help me remembering Joey. That friend is Willie Nile and I found a video of his, on YouTube of course, playing “it” at Irving Plaza with Lucinda Williams. I am pretty positive Joey would have approved of this and I like to think he’ll like this very small and unknown post I am publishing about him. We miss you Joey and we miss your spirit and energy. Hey Ho! Let’s Go!