In the spirit of Joey, I think I'm gonna keep this short and simple, just like a Ramones song.
Hey, ho, let's go!
First off, let me get the sticky sentimental stuff out of way so we can proceed with a clear head: God bless Joey and the Ramones they changed the face of rock and roll forever.
Okay, still with me? Joey Ramone's 50th birthday bash began with the obligatory press conference where my brethren in the media asked people such as CBGB owner Hilly Krystal questions like "Do you remember the first time you saw the Ramones?" Hilly's answer: "Yes."
The Damned were asked, "How did you get involved in all of this?" Lead singer David Vanian responded, "They called us up."
Fortunately, things picked up from there. In fact, Joey's party turned out to be something of a landmark event in New York rock history. The Hammerstein Ballroom was packed to the gills with loving, loyal fans; the drinks were flowing, and floors were so sticky that I left a slice of my soles behind with each step. Steve Van Zandt did an amazing job as emcee and a string of bands including the Misfits, the Damned, brother Mickey Leigh's Stop, Jesse Malin's Bellevue and Joey's pet project, the Independents tore the place up.
Highlights of the evening included appearances by Blondie and Cheap Trick. Debbie Harry, who long ago mastered the fine art of being slightly uncoordinated but ravishingly charismatic at the same time, appeared in a fiery red dress and looked timelessly beautiful. Debbie's voice was in prime condition as the band delivered faves such as "Dreaming," "Hanging on the Telephone" and "Maria" to a house full of adoring, body-surfing, mosh-crazy fans. During "One Way or Another," I thought to myself, Man, this is a great song. No wonder I had just downloaded it from Napster that morning.
Cheap Trick, who have long been one of Joey's favorite bands, sounded how do you say? absolutely fabulous. In fact, their closing number, "Surrender," was one of those rare moments when you're reminded that rock and roll is simply one of the coolest things on earth. Just like Joey Ramone, it will live forever.
- Photos Page including Debbie Harry, Mickey Leigh, and the Damned
More Joey Ramone:
- Joey Ramone Memorial at CBGB including Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, L.E.S. Stitches, Mickey Leigh, Lenny Kaye, Dick Manitoba, Jesse Malin, George Tabb, Bobby Steele
- Joey Ramone coverage on NY Rock over the past five years
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