Mickey Leigh on Joey Ramone & Opinions on Gorillaz and The Besnard Lakes

Jim and Greg talk to Mickey Leigh, author of I Slept With Joey Ramone, about life growing up with the famous punk rocker. Plus new record reviews of Gorillaz and The Besnard Lakes.

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After a number of postponements, Lil Wayne has finally had his day in court. And the results weren't pretty. The multi-million selling rapper has been sentenced to one year in prison, and not the kinda digs most wealthy criminals face, but Riker’s Island. This is the result of Wayne pleading guilty to gun possession last year. In an absurd chain of events, both of his previous sentencing dates had to be postponed–first because of "emergency dental surgery," and then because the courthouse went up in flames. Greg likens Lil Wayne's situation to if Elvis or The Beatles had been jailed at the height of their chart success, and Jim wonders how fair this sentence really is.

Also in the news, Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse, committed suicide last week at age 47. Linkous had been battling severe depression for years, and his use of prescription drugs even left him paralyzed for several months. As Jim explains, Linkous used his life challenges in his music, and a new collaboration between the singer and Danger Mouse was set to be released this summer. To honor Linkous, Jim and Greg play "Grim Augury," a track from that album that also features another recently departed musician, Vic Chesnutt.

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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.

Plastic Beach Gorillaz

Plastic Beach (Deluxe Version)

Kicking off the reviews this episode is Plastic Beach, the latest from Gorillaz. The project is helmed by Damon Albarn of Blur and features a cast of guests to create its animated fantasy world. Greg is impressed at how the singer/producer can bring together so many seemingly mismatched elements, sounds and voices and still end up with something wonderful and cohesive. Greg gives Plastic Beach a Buy It rating. Jim goes so far as to call Albarn a genius. He notes that it's a darker record, but gives it a Buy It as well.

The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night The Besnard Lakes

The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Bonus Track Version)

Jim and Greg next turn to the third release from Canadian  indie rockers  The Besnard Lakes called The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night. Jim describes the album as a mix between nature-inspired "beard" rock and early '90s  shoegazer. This is the duo's most epic effort yet, and Jim recommends it as something you can lose yourself in. Greg wonders if they need a new rating category: "Wow." He'd add orchestral pop and progressive rock to the list of influences. Greg describes the record as an amazing achievement and an example of great collaboration between the husband and wife team. The Besnard Lakes get a double Buy It.


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.

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