Results for The Ramones

interviews

Rob Reiner on This Is Spinal Tap

Up there with The Ramones in the“Rock Canon”is this band: Spinal Tap. Fans first met the heave metal trio in 1984 upon the release of Rob Reiner's mock rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Now, those aging headbangers are even older—30 years older to be exact. But, This is Spinal Tap remains, without a doubt, the greatest rock ‘n’ roll film, ever. This is because, fictional or not, it's the truest. From the arenas to the airplane hangars, all of the clichéd moments of excess and gladhanding, of sexism and machismo and utter stupidity…they all ring very true! There are real“Black”albums and real drummer tragedies. And this authenticity was thanks to its music-loving stars and writers, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, and their fair leader and fellow writer Rob Reiner. The man many of us came to know as“Meathead”in All in the Family plays the fake director Marty DeBergi in the movie. But in real life, he's directed classics like Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and A Few Good Men. His latest, And So It Goes, stars Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas and is out July 25th. But Rob was kind enough to indulge all of Jim and Greg's burning Spinal Tap questions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hyck_yynhF4&list=UU6GwezQ7oE0-FdVOMwgzFnA

Go to episode 451

Mickey Leigh

Joey Ramone is one of rock's biggest legends, but very little is known about his actual life. As we learn in the next segment, the Ramones' lead singer, born Jeffry Hyman, had a turbulent life full of physical and mental illness. Jim and Greg get insight into his life from the punk rocker's brother, Mickey Leigh, author of the new book I Slept With Joey Ramone. They are also joined by the book's contributor and Punk Magazine co-founder Legs McNeil. As Mickey reveals to Jim and Greg, this is not a fairy tale. Joey suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder and was diagnosed as a schizophrenic in his teens. But it's an uplifting tale. Through music Joey was able to laugh at the dark areas of life and even overcome some of his insecurities. He became a beacon of hope to awkward kids everywhere–if Joey can do it, we can do it.

Go to episode 224

Kate Pierson

In 1976, Kate Pierson joined the genre-melding music powerhouse, the B-52s, and the rest is history. The Georgia-based band started out playing at local parties, then clubs in New York and eventually in venues around the world. Their self-titled first album showed their innovation, kitsch and creativity with hits like "Rock Lobster." However, the group reached the peak of their fame in 1989 with the release of their album, Cosmic Thing. Outside of the band, Pierson has collaborated with talented artists like R.E.M., Iggy Pop, The Ramones and most recently, Sia. Finally over 30 years after the inception of the B-52s, Kate Pierson is releasing her first solo album, Guitars and Microphones. She talks about the past, present and future of her career in music.

Go to episode 504

Ron Asheton of The Stooges

A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg talked about the punk pioneers The Ramones. This week it's time to look at the other pillar of punk: The Stooges. In the late '60s and early '70s the band released three major albums, and then disintegrated into drugs and power struggles. Now, almost 35 years later, three of the four original members reunited to record a new album, The Weirdness. Jim and Greg invite guitarist Ron Asheton to talk about the band's history and how they came back together.

Lead singer Iggy Pop (James Osterberg), guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander formed The Stooges in Ann Arbor, MI in 1967. They were signed to Elektra Records a year later after opening for“big brother band”the MC5. There they had their first self-titled album produced by John Cale of The Velvet Underground. Jim and Greg talk to Ron Asheton about the band's first time in the studio (and their first in-studio strike), and learn about how they developed their signature, primitive sound. They point to the propulsive Bo Diddley-inspired rhythms of songs like "1969."

The Stooges went on to record Fun House, which reflected their love of James Brown and John Coltrane, and then things started to fall apart. Iggy went on to form a relationship with David Bowie (and with heroin), and got the band signed to Columbia Records. Ron Asheton was bounced down to bassist, however. He explains that their subsequent release, Raw Power, is a good album, but not indicative of their true sound.

Go to episode 66
specials

1977 - The Year Punk Broke

This week, Jim and Greg kick off a two-part series about one seminal year in rock history, 1977: The Year Punk Broke. In this episode, they tackle the punk explosion in the U.K. with help from music writer Jon Savage. (Many consider Savage's England's Dreaming to be the definitive book on this period.) So what made punk explode in 1977? Terrible pop songs, the entrance of The Ramones and the rise of groups like the Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols.

Jim and Greg close out 1977 Part One by playing two favorite songs from that year. Greg goes out with The Adverts' "One Chord Wonder." Jim goes with the Wire track "Ex-Lion Tamer" from one of his favorite records of all time, Pink Flag.

Go to episode 606

2014 In Memoriam

Jim and Greg remember some great musical figures who died in 2014. Here are just some of the people we'll miss.

Go to episode 475

Presidential Rock

On January 20th, thousands will celebrate the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. But before that Jim and Greg wanted to host their own celebration by playing the best songs ever written about the office of Commander-in-Chief.

Here's a collection of songs to kick off this new administration:

Go to episode 164

1977 - The Year Punk Broke

This week, Jim and Greg kick off a two-part series about one seminal year in rock history, 1977: The Year Punk Broke. In this episode, they tackle the punk explosion in the U.K. with help from music writer Jon Savage. (Many consider Savage's England's Dreaming to be the definitive book on this period.) So what made punk explode in 1977? Jon chalks it up to a whole lot of rubbish pop music - songs like ABBA's“Fernando”and Elton John's“Don't Go Breaking My Heart”- that were marketed to kids but failed to address concerns about unemployment, consumerism, and of course, parents and other authority figures. More immediately, there was The Ramones playing their first London gig, and inspiring bands from The Buzzcocks to The Sex Pistols to The Damned. The Sex Pistols were the first to make a splash with their controversial single"God Save the Queen," banned across the British media. That Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols was still able to chart, Jon says, demonstrated the muscle of a nascent, independent youth media organized around fanzines and record shops like Rough Trade and Beggar's Banquet. For those who think all U.K. punk sounded the same, Jon points out some key differences. While The Sex Pistols“really had a dark heart,”The Clash had the social consciousness of a sixties band. Manchester's The Buzzcocks were into psychedelia. Regardless of any one band's take on the genre however, punk's message was the same. In Jon's words: "Pop music doesn't have to be something that oppresses you. It can actually liberate you."

Jim and Greg close out 1977 Part One by playing two favorite songs from this year. Greg goes out with The Adverts' "One Chord Wonder." Not only did The Adverts have the best names in punk - T.V. Advert, Gaye Advert, Howard Pickup, and Laurie Driver - they epitomized the genre's“no skill required”ethos. Jim goes with the Wire track "Ex-Lion Tamer" from one of his favorite records of all time, Pink Flag. This quartet of art students not only embodied the punk sound in 1977, they were also looking forward to the possibilities of post-punk.

Go to episode 350
classic album dissections
Rocket to Russia

The Ramones & the Sex Pistols God Save the Queen

Jim and Greg have mastered the art of the album dissection. This week they try their hand at Rocket to Russia by The Ramones. This was the punk originators' third album, released in April of 1977. Jim and Greg picked this album because of how revolutionary it was at the time. This was the era of Yes, James Taylor and KC and the Sunshine Band. Now that radio playlists are full of songs by bands like Fall Out Boy and Green Day, it's easy to forget a time before punk music. But, until four high schoolers from Forest Hills, NY merged their love of Brill-Building pop and British invasion rock with a big dose of speed and attitude, the sound as we know it didn't exist.

Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, sang vocals, Johnny Ramone, born John Cummings, played guitar, Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin, played bass and Tommy Ramone, born Tom Erdelyi, played drums. The four began to record Rocket to Russia after recently releasing two other albums and touring the US and Europe. Today, Tommy Ramone is the only living member of that original group. Tommy co-produced Rocket to Russia and wrote many of the songs, and Jim and Greg invited him on to talk about making the album.

It was a treat to get a first-hand account of recording Rocket to Russia from Tommy Ramone. He revealed a number of interesting facts, some of which surprised even our hosts. Here are some of the noteworthy points:

  • Johnny is known for being a speed demon. Tommy credits this with his desire to be a baseball player and his love of the fastball.
  • Joey is the band's original drummer, and Tommy acted as their manager. Tommy took over on drums in order to keep up with Johnny's pace. He had never played drums before, and sometimes outpaced the studio's click track.
  • Seymour Stein was the label executive behind the band. Despite the fact that their sound wasn't popular, he believed in The Ramones enough to boost their recording budget up to a whopping $25,000.
  • The Ramones heard God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols during the recording of this album. Despite not having nearly the same amount of money to work with, Tommy explains that there was definitely a sense of competition. The feeling wa — they ripped us off, and now we want to sound better.
  • The Ramones were famous for being anti-guitar solo. But, there is one on the track "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow." Tommy reveals that this was actually him playing guitar, and assures Jim and Greg that Johnny wasn't miffed by the choice. Tommy was inspired by the guitar solo in "Tell Me" by the Rolling Stones.
  • A number of the songs on Rocket to Russia begin with Dee Dee counting off. The band encouraged their bassist to do this, despite the fact that those counts had nothing to do with the actual speed of the song.
  • Tommy struggles to name his favorite tune on the album, but includes "Rockaway Beach" as one of the best. Jim and Greg agree that the sunny, pop track is a great one, made even better by the fact that the actual Rockaway Beach was not a very sunny place. Juxtapose the sound of the song with the idea of trash in the sand and a syringe in your foot.

Jim and Greg also struggle to pick just one song to highlight from Rocket to Russia. Each one is great, and only clocks out at around two minutes. But, Greg was inspired by something Tommy said during their interview. He explained that the Ramones were ahead of their time, and were perhaps too dark and too subversive for mainstream culture. The song that best exemplifies this is "We're a Happy Family." While Happy Days showed one kind of family life, The Ramones wanted to show another, more realistic one. The Ramones were fans of Todd Browning's film Freaks, and celebrated the idea of being different and freaky in this song.

Jim's song choice also celebrates that freak spirit. "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," only has a few words, but it's a definitely an anthem. The term punk previously had a negative connotation. In this song, the Ramones reclaim the word and give a big finger to anyone who judges them (or Sheena). Musically, the song is also quintessentially rock and roll, quintessentially American, quintessentially Ramones. Jim explains that if he had to choose one track to shoot into outer space and represent what rock music is, he'd choose "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker."

Go to episode 64
Rocket to Russiaundefined available on iTunes

Rocket to Russia

In 1976, The Ramones blasted onto the budding punk scene with their self-titled first LP and blew critics away with their blistering speed and old-school simplicity. However, it wasn't until the next year, after a monumental European tour and the release of their third album, Rocket to Russia, that the group's characteristic break-neck punk sound flooded the airwaves and the took the rock world by storm. Now, nearly 40 years after Rocket to Russia blew a hole in thepunk rock atmosphere, we mourn the death of Ramones' founder, drummer, producer, and guiding light Tommy Ramone. In honor of the legend's passing, Jim and Greg strap in for a Classic Album Dissection of The Ramones' 1977 speed machine and revisit a 2007 conversation with Tommy. Jim and Greg, curious about the magic behind masters of punk, ask Tommy about the day-to-day during the recording process and the band's cross-pond rivalry with British punk group the Sex Pistols. Tommy tells all, including the story of the band's suburban origins and the secret behind Dee Dee's famous, though not-so-useful count-offs.

To stake their flag in the dissection's conclusion, Jim and Greg each choose their favorite song from Rocket to Russia. Jim plays "Sheena is a Punk Rocker", calling it the“perfect rock song”and reminiscing about his young days listening to The Ramones. Greg settles on the song "We're a Happy Family" as a representation of the Ramones knack for writing catchy social commentary. The song satirizes the idea of perfect suburban family life represented so often by TV programs at the time, a poignant topic for the suburban-boy Ramones from Queens, New York.

Go to episode 453
reviews
Weird Tales of the Ramones

The Ramones Weird Tales of the Ramones

Jim calls The Ramones“one of the most important bands America has ever produced.”This box set, Weird Tales of the Ramones, contains more outtakes than ever, and makes the set worth owning, even though he would have rather seen "Rock and Roll High School" included as the bonus DVD. The most important part of the set, according to Jim and Greg, is the 54-page comic strip-style liner notes, with contributing artists like Jamie Hernandez, John Holmstrom, Bill Griffin, and Sergio Aragonés. Greg notes that most box set liner notes are written by pompous critics, and feels that these should win a Grammy award for their style and flair. Both Jim and Greg heartily give this a "Buy It" rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 3
Born to RunBorn to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition available on iTunes

Bruce Springsteen Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition

To Jim's dismay, Greg brought in the 30th anniversary re-issue of Born to Run, which he calls, "iconic". This 1975 record by Bruce Springsteen, was simultaneously on the cover of Time and Newsweek, and went on to sell over eight million copies. Jim notes that this record came out as the same time of many of the bands in the NY punk scene, and has Springsteen looking back on life, while rockers like The Ramones were looking forward. Jim says, to much of our horror, that Meatloaf was a better artist. That's right… Meatloaf. Greg admits that in his later years, Springsteen was a choreographed artist, but when this album came out, he was still experimental and learning his craft. Greg thinks the l part of this set, or as he calls it,“the manna,”is the DVD of the live Springsteen performance. Greg rates the Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition box as a "Buy It," and Jim surprisingly rates it a "Trash It."

JimGreg
Go to episode 3
Infinity On High (Deluxe Edition)Infinity on High available on iTunes

Fall Out Boy Infinity on High

Next up Jim and Greg review Fall Out Boy's fourth album, Infinity on High. The pop punk quartet from the Chicago suburbs sold 3 million copies of its last album, and 15-year-old girls everywhere have been anxiously awaiting the follow-up. Teenagers aren‘t the only Fall Out Boy fans out there. The band’s boss, Def Jam head Jay-Z, has also been championing them and arranged a larger-than-life debut. Jim also counts himself as a fan. He thinks Fall Out Boy is a smart, fun, exuberant band full of the punk spirit of bands like The Ramones. He admits that the lyrics are nothing profound, but gives the album a Buy It for its huge attitude and timeless pop songs. Greg admires how Fall Out Boy conducts itself as a band and thinks lead singer Patrick Stump has an impressive voice. However, he doesn't think they do a good enough job of differentiating themselves from other pop punk bands like the All-American Rejects and Sum 41. He wishes they did more with new producers like Babyface. This critic finds Infinity on High a little too generic and can only give the album a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 63
dijs

Jim

“I Try”Macy Gray

With a main course of Ramones and a side of Tom Petty, Jim has had his fill of boomer classic rock for this episode. So, for dessert, he offers up Macy Gray as a Desert Island Jukebox selection. And he'd encourage any eye-rollers to remember how great her debut album was in 1999. Most memorable of all from On How Life Is, is "I Try," one of the best songs of the '90s. Here's hoping her forthcoming release in harkens back to these good 'ol days.

Go to episode 453

Greg

“You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory”Johnny Thunder

Greg gets to drop a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and chooses a Joey Ramone-inspired song. The Ramones singer was a hero to Greg early on, and his punk spirit helped kick-start Greg's writing career. Joey was always a fan of the classic pop songs he grew up on, and when he got the chance late in life, he worked with one of his own heroes, Ronnie Spector. The album was one of Joey's last projects, so to remember him, Greg plays her version of the Johnny Thunder song "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" as produced by Joey Ramone.

Go to episode 224

Greg

“Teenage Head”The Flamin' Groovies

All this Grateful Dead news has Greg thinking of San Francisco in the 1960s. And in the era of peace and love, The Flamin' Groovies were wildly out of step. In the midst of psychedelia, the group drew on '50s rockabilly and garage rock. The band has also often been called a progenitor of punk. The Flamin' Groovies even had a song about sniffing glue years before The Ramones did. The title track "Teenage Head," from their third album, channels teenage angst into three minutes. The song cites how they are the children of“atom bombs and rotten air and Vietnams.”Greg notes that in a predominately "hippy" music scene, the Flamin' Groovies were doing something completely unique both lyrically and sonically.

Go to episode 497
lists

Strange Bedfellows of Rock

aerosmith-run-dmc Sometimes an odd pairing comes off like peanut butter and chocolate (Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.). Othertimes, peanut butter and sardines (Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson). And the most recent odd couple is Kanye West and Paul McCartney, with the first single from West's forthcoming album. But during this segment, Jim and Greg remember the most successful "Strange Bedfellows."

Go to episode 478

Rock's Best Lead-Off Tracks

This week's show is dedicated to the true rock geeks out there. Continuing in the tradition of "Track 1, Side 1" Jim and Greg take the discussion into the post-vinyl age. What songs best kick-off an album? Here are their picks for the best Lead-Off Tracks of all time:

Go to episode 92

One Note Wonders

Rock and roll is an art form that traditionally values change and transformation. But, there are a number of terrific artists and bands who have sustained careers by doing one thing really well. The best examples of these one trick ponies are The Ramones, AC/DC and Motörhead. Fans of these bands know that their sounds don‘t change from album to album… but they don’t care! Jim and Greg celebrate these and other One Note Wonders. Here are their nominations:

Go to episode 126
news

Music News

Rock ‘n’ Roll suffered a great loss last week after the death of punk rocker and standard bearer Tommy Ramone. Tommy, born Erdélyi Tamás, wore many different hats as founder, drummer, producer, and last surviving original member of The Ramones. He and his bandmates leave behind a tremendous influence, one which can be traced to the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and countless others. Greg says of the Ramones‘ musical clout,“If you listened to them, they changed your life,”and that Tommy was truly“the brains of the operation.”A guiding force for the group throughout the years, his break-neck drumming and seasoned hand in the production booth were fundamental in molding the band’s history-making style. He was 65.

Go to episode 451

Music News

Like The Ramones, many musicians would say,“It's not my place (in the 9 to 5 world).”So then, how do they pay the bills? It's become more complicated than ever in light of changes in the music industry, so the Future of Music Coalition launched the Artist Revenue Streams project, which examines how revenue streams are changing and why. Project co-director Kristin Thomson talks to Jim and Greg about their most recent data: five financial case studies profiling how different kinds of musicians make a living. There's the Jazz Bandleader-Composer, the Indie Rock Composer-Performer, the Jazz Sideman-Bandleader, the Professional Orchestra Player and the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. These musicians still depend on touring for much of their earnings, but the barrier to record sales is smaller than ever.

Go to episode 336