Ramones Story for NY Press - Ramone For A Day!
By George Tabb
So I'm hanging out in front of the Continental, which used to be called the Continental Divide, on Third Avenue and St. Marks. Drinking. Something I do a lot of.
And up comes my pal Ryan, who just saw the Ramones show, and he is all sweaty and stuff. I mean, his usually spiky black hair is kinda all matted down, and even the plastic skeleton on his leather jacket looks like it was just in the sauna or something.
"Hey Ryan," I say to the wet figure before me, all dressed in black.
"Punk is crazy", he says back to me.
Ryan says that a lot.
"Punk is crazy?"I once asked him.
"Yeah", he told me, "punk is crazy."
"Oh.", I said back.
Actually the reason I was hanging outside of Continental that night was cause I was supposed to meet up with him, and my bass player, Evan, to give out Furious George fliers to people coming out of the Ramones show at Coney Island High.
I mean, hell, if people like the Ramones, they would have to like my band. Geez. I mean, fuck, I basically based my life on that band. The Ramones, that is. And since they were playing a local gig, I figured Iıd nail everyone with fliers.
See, on the flier is this little monkey, who kinda looks like me. Or that other monkey. The one with the yellow covers on his books.
Anyway, that monkey on the flier is wearing U.S. pins on his leather jacket. Just like me. Just like Johnny Ramone. So, being the clever guy that I am, I figure that giving out these fliers to people leaving a Ramones show will increase the size of my audience.
Or at least, my ego.
So that is why I was on Third Avenue.
"Hey George," says Evan, my bass player, as he comes walking up to me and Ryan.
"Sup?" I say to Evan.
He then explains to us that today is a pretty good day for him. Ryan makes the mistake of asking him why
. "Well," explains Evan, "I only had like two Twinkies today, and a Snickers bar, and well, my stomach doesnıt hurt too bad. I mean, usually it does. Lots of Diarrhea and stuff. But today it is pretty good."
I just look at Evan, and Ryan kinda giggles.
"Maybe itıs your diet," explains Ryan.
Evan tells us heıs not on a diet.
"So, George," says Evan, "are we gonna go down to Phony Island High and give out fliers or what?"
I tell him in a few seconds, but to let me finish my Zima first. Of course at this point they both make fun of me for drinking a clear malt liquor. Then these two jock guys come walking by, hear the conversation, and join in, calling me a "pussy" and stuff for drinking Zima. I just kinda smile at them and try to explain that I enjoy the fruity taste. That it sorta tastes like a rancid Seven-Up or something.
They just look at me.
So I tell them that compared to Zima Gold, the regular Zima is amazing. I explain that Zima Gold tastes like somebody put out their cigar in a glass of bad whiskey, and then bottled it.
The jocks kinda laugh. Evan and Ryan donıt.
Cause they are already on their way down to Coney Island High to give out Furious George fliers to the people leaving the show. I figure I better do the same and excuse myself from the two big college guys, who, in a few more minutes, were likely to punch me, cause I was getting kinda drunk, and when I do that, I kinda sometimes say stupid things.
In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I was at this bar, Psycho Mungo, on First Avenue. This guy is picking on some girls. Some punk girls. Some nice punk rock girls. Karin and Gunvor. And Tracy. Well, maybe not picking on them. Just telling them that Space Hog was the next big thing for the Generation Xıers, and stuff like that. They were kinda getting annoyed with him, and asked him to leave. When he didnıt, I kinda did.
Anyway, I somehow managed to insult him, and he punched me in the face a few times. Then his friends jumped in to help him fight me, and the punk rock girls, nice polite people that they are, managed to kick and beat the shit outta the guys. Even using their little lunch pails.
It was great.
Anyway, so, it was good I left the jock guys before they gave me a shiner like that guy did.
Actually, I had to go to a wedding with that black eye. Everyone made fun of me. Called me a "pussy" and stuff.
And I wasnıt even drinking Zima.
So I get to Coney Island High, which Evan refers to as "Phony Island High", cause of the "hair and boob" crowd that kinda seems to flock there. I mean, the guys who work there and run it are very, very cool. I mean, hell, they are my friends, but the crowd that goes there tends to be a bunch of trendy little fucks who probably used to go to the Scrap Bar in the West Village, and now that Punk is in, go to Coney Island instead.
On more than one occasion, I have found myself drunk, and talking to large sets of breasts on women, who I swear, have I.Q.s no higher than their bra size.
And the hair in that place- I swear that everyone who goes there is a girl. I mean, some of them may have a penis, but, shit, well they look like girls. Every time I go to take a leak in there, some guy is combing his long hair in the mirror and fixing himself up. Or herself up. Whatever.
So, all these people are coming out of the Ramones show and we start to give out fliers. Everyone is all sweaty like Ryan, which reminds me.
"Hey Ryan," I say to him as he is handing out Furious George fliers to these two blonde girls, one wearing a "Rocket To Russia" t-shirt that I have not seen in like fifteen years.
"Punk is crazy," he replies.
I then ask him if the Ramones were good. He tells me that they were great, and the two blonde girls nod their head and agree.
"This is the first time I ever saw them," says the blonde girl without the cool t-shirt. "This is my twenty-fifth," adds the other.
Then Evan asks, "Hey George, how many times have you seen the Ramones?"
I start to think. I think I first saw the Ramones back around 1977 or so.
It was at CBGB, and at the time, I really didnıt think too much of them. Or of CBGB.
Actually, I was scared shitless of them, and the club. Me and some friends from the suburbs had snuck into the city to go out to some clubs, and somehow we ended up at CBGB. I remember getting off the train at Grand Central and getting a taxi. We told the driver we wanted to go someplace exciting, that we were from Connecticut, and wanted some action. The driver took us to Forty Second Street and dropped us off. I think we wandered around there for like an hour, looking in all the windows of the girlie places, but too chicken-shit to go into any of them. So we got another cab and told the driver to take us too the coolest club in the city. We got lucky. When he dropped us off on the corner of Bleecker and Bowery, I told my friends I wasnıt so sure this was a good idea.
And when we went into the club and all these biker type people were staring at us with our Izod shirts, I thought it wasnıt a good idea.
And when this band in leather jackets took the stage, and played so loud that I was sure I was gonna be deaf forever, and therefore never get into a good college, so then Iıd probably be drafted, cause thatıs what my dad told me happened to people who didnıt go to college, and be killed in some foxhole somewhere with a bunch of guys I didnıt know, and no running water, which really pisses me off, cause I like to take lots of showers, I knew it wasnıt a good idea.
But nothing really happened.
Well, to my friends, anyway.
But it did to me.
I got so nervous that I got a good dose of colitis, and I had to go really bad. So I made my way to the back of the club and down the stairs after the band played to the CBGB menıs room.
Lemme tell ya, it was just as bad then as it is now. I kinda had to squat over the toilet seat which was covered with piss, and get this, dog shit. I could tell it was dog shit cause it smelled like dog shit. And also cause it was all over the stairs leading to the bathroom. Someone must of tried throwing it into the toilet, and missed.
Either that, or there must of been a well trained dog around. I wonder if he was the one who wrote the Dead Boys graffiti on the wall.
Anyway, so like I didnıt see the Ramones again until New Years Eve, 1979-1980, at the Palladium. The greatest night of my life.
I mean, there was another time with these two girls in Michigan, a wiffle ball bat, a can of whip-cream and a blue condom. But, well, this night, the Ramones one, is the one that changed my life forever.
Ya see, I kinda grew up as a wuss.
I mean, I was born in Brooklyn, moved to Long Island, and when my dad made it big in insider trading in the stock market in the early seventies, moved to Connecticut.
There I learned that black people lived in tall buildings called projects, and that I, along with them, was not allowed into my friendıs country clubs, because I was something called a Jew.
Or a Dirty Jew.
And that term always bothered me.
I mean, shit, I took lots of showers.
I think I already explained that.
Anyway, I grew up kinda sheltered and didnıt know a lot of things. Like about rock and roll.
I think the first rock band I heard was Kiss, when I was fifteen.
I kinda liked them cause they looked like Japanese monsters, or them guys that fought them or something.
Well, letıs put it this way, I figured out how to jerk off when I was almost seventeen. I didnıt even know what an orgasm was before that.
I remember, once, my step-mother, telling me that she read a review of Kiss, the band that I listened to, in the New York Times. She said the reviewer said that Kiss, when they played at the Garden, sounded like a cow having an orgasm.
When I asked her what an orgasm was, she and my sister, Dana, laughed hysterically.
Of course, that wasnıt the end of it, she went and told my dad, who later that night called me into his "study" and tried to explain the facts of life to me.
"Son," he said, cause he liked to call me son. Of course my name was George. "When you rub yourself in the right way it feels good. Do you understand what I am saying?" I told him I didnıt. "Damnit, son," he yelled, "when you rub yourself, your penis, in a certain way, it feels good. And that is what an orgasm is. Understand?" I told him I did.
Of course I didnıt, but I could tell he was nervous, and when he got that way, well, it didnıt take much to provoke him.
Geez, even back then I was dodging black eyes.
Anyway, so for the next couple of weeks I try rubbing myself the "right" way and nothing happens. I mean, it feels good and stuff. But that is about it. I try rolling my penis side to side. I try to rub it like I am stroking a cat. I try to rub it up against things. But still, nothing.
I put my mind onto better things.
I purchased my first real novel. A novel of Spiderman. I think it was called "Mayhem in Manhattan". It was a book about the webslinger fighting Doc Ock and stuff. A book with words, and no pictures, I was proud of myself.
Anyway, Iım reading the book and I get to this part where they are talking about Gwen, Spideyıs girlfriend, who later, in issue number 124 gets dropped from a building by the Vulture and killed.
And I start thinking of her. Her cartoon blonde hair. Her cartoon blue eyes. Those cartoon breasts, and that ass. And suddenly I realize I am rubbing myself. Up and down.
Up and down. I hadnıt tried it that way yet.
And it feels good.
I think more and more about that fine ass Gwen has, and those perky breasts. I think of her in her underwear, kinda being able to see the crack where her vagina should be. Suddenly I feel my hips start to move by themselves, and I try to stop stroking myself, but I canıt.
And then it happened.
All this white stuff came shooting out of my pecker.
I mean, like an entire lake.
It drowned my stomach.
If they froze me, I woulda bet Dorathy Hammil coulda skated on me.
Anyway, of course I was convinced that I broke something. That all this milk came out of me, and that I was going to die. Then I smelled and tasted it. It wasnıt milk. It was like, bleach or Clorox or something. The laundry must of seeped into me through my skin and I was poisoned. I was definitely gonna die.
Obviously I didnıt.
I learned that that was what an orgasm was from my friend Chris, my friend at school. He said he used the picture of Christie Brinkley in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated to give himself one.
So I practiced giving myself one again.
I am still practicing today.
Actually more than I practice guitar. Which of course brings me to the Ramones show on New Years Eve at the Palladium.
Me and my step dad, Nick, went to that show. I had seen "Rock and Roll High School" like two dozen times, and was so excited to see the Ramones that I spent the day listening to all their albums, four of them plus the live one, and dancing around my room. My mom would peak her head in every once in a while to see how I was doing. Sheıd see me shaking my head around and pogoing to "Iıve Gone Mental" and laugh.
See, she liked the Ramones too. As did my step dad. My mom thought they kinda sounded like the Beatles. And she loved the Beatles.
But my step mother hated the Ramones. As did my dad.
They thought they were leather jacketed hoods who caused trouble.
They thought I should listen to other kinds of music.
My step mother liked Carol King.
My father liked military music.
The kind military bands played. American or whatever. He didnıt care. Just as long as men in uniforms were playing it.
I think I picked that up from him.
The Ramones wore uniforms.
There was no doubt about that. Leather jackets. Blue jeans. Sneakers. U.S. pins. They all had similar hair.
Actually, Johnnyıs kinda looked like that girl who coulda skated on me when I was frozen, Dorathy Hamill.
They all looked alike. I remember thinking they were brothers, what with them all having the same last name and stuff. I like that whole unity thing. I guess that is also why I liked the Village People so much before I liked the Ramones. They had uniforms too. But the Ramones ones were better.
See, anyone could get a leather jacket and jeans and sneakers. Then they could fit in too. Be a Ramone. And at that time in my life, I really needed somewhere to fit in. I mean, I was not like my dad, the stock thief. I was not like the people I grew up with, planning my future as an investment banker, or corporate lawyer.
And I wasnıt like those long haired freaks I saw smoking pot and taking drugs.
I really didnıt seem to fit in anywhere until they came along. The Ramones.
Here were four average looking guys who were, to put this bluntly, getting laid.
And I certainly wasnıt.
And to make things better, they made everyone fit in as one of them.
Hell, "Gabba Gabba we except you, we except you, one of us" is a great anthem of the Ramones. They seemed to except everyone at their shows. They didnıt come off as rock stars or better then us, they were just like us.
And every show was the same.
Every song was the same.
I think Monte, their road manager, said it best when he said, "The song Ramones the same".
There was a real solidness to the Ramones. A firm foundation.
Hell, more than that, they were predictable.
I mean, every set is kinda the same, it is usually Joey starting the set off by saying, "Hey, we're the Ramones and this oneıs called the Blitzkrieg Bop", followed by Dee Dee counting to four.
The set would usually be the same as every other set, and most of the time, Joey would say the exact same thing every time.
So when I went and saw the Ramones, I knew what they were gonna say, and what they were gonna play, and it gave me a feeling of belonging to a special club.
The Ramones club.
I knew all the lines and all the songs. It was kinda just like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", which I had seen many, many times.
So, where was I, oh yeah, so Iım at the Palladium with my Step dad, Nick, and the Ramones take the stage.
"Hey," says Joey, "Weıre the Ramones, and this oneıs called the Blitzkrieg Bop!". I yell to Nick, "I told you, I told you". He nods his head.
Anyway, the Ramones play an awesome set from start to finish. All very predictable,, all very Ramones. The balcony in the place is going up and down at least a whole foot, and Nick is kinda freaking out. He tells me maybe we should get out of the place, the building may collapse. I tell him, "Naw, itıs just the fucking Ramones!". He just kinda nods his head and sings along to "Rock n Roll High School".
Then something amazing happens.
The guitar amp blows up.
The whole thing.
Of course I play this off. "Nick, " I say, "I told you, I told you."
Then the Ramones kick into "I Wanna Be Sedated" and the rest of their set.
During the middle somewhere, I think during "Cretin Hop", some guy who is waving an American Flag on a pole, gets bored, and throws the thing off of the balcony and onto the people below.
Like a spear.
Nick just looks, shocked, as I scream, "Wasnıt that fucking amazing?"
By the time the show is over, I think I had Nick fully converted into a born again Ramone.
He walked out of the Palladium with me, singing Ramones lyrics like "First rule is, the laws of Germany, Second rule is, be nice to mommy!" and wearing my chain on his vinyl Nikon windbreaker.
It was great.
We went home that night and told my mom how great they were. I tried to tell her all about how Johnny jumped around and Dee Dee was awesome and all, but Nick kept telling her first. It kinda pissed me off.
Fucking step dads.
See if I take him to anymore shows.
Actually, a few months later, we went and saw the Dead Boys.
I think Nick still has pictures of Stivıs dick.
But thatıs another story.
So, years and years go by, and I see the Ramones more and more. And I really feel as if I fit in somewhere in the world. Every time the Ramones play, and I am around, I am there.
I went to college in Florida. The first day of school, the Ramones played, I was there.
The second day of college, they are playing somewhere where if I go, Iıll miss classes.
My first classes of my five and half year and still uncompleted college career.
They play Central Park, Iım there.
They play amusement parks, Iım there.
Fuck, they play anywhere, and if I can get there, Iım there.
Also during this time, of course I start a few bands. My first one is Roach Motel. We are based in Florida. We try to play Ramones songs, but are not talented enough to do so. So we have to settle for originals. Something unheard of in Florida. We play around a lot and do a few records. Our music is just like the Ramones music, except faster. We try to play slower, but canıt. We are too hyper. People later tell us we helped invent "Hardcore". Whoop de do.
We just wanted to sound like the Ramones.
Be the Ramones.
Eventually, after having seen the Ramones for like a zillion times, somehow I get to know Johnny. I think I talked to him for the first time on Fourth Avenue and Eleventh Street. He was in a phone booth, and I just kept waving at him while he was talking to someone. He would kinda wave back, then ignore me. So I would wave some more. He would kinda wave again, and then ignore me. This went on for like twenty minutes.
Finally, Johnny gets off the phone and says, "Do I know you?" I tell him that my name is George and I love the Ramones. I explain that they are everything to me, that I hate my real parents, and one day I wanna be just like him. He tells me that that is nice and asks if I like baseball or horror movies. He kinda has this weird nasal voice, and very much of a Queens accent, which I think is cool.
The first Queens accent I ever heard was from this girl, Carol, who I met at the old Ritz on Eleventh Street.
She sounded so cute that when she asked me to meet her at the club the next night, I did.
Actually, I would of met any girl, but, well, hell, she was really cute. When she was late, and showed up with another guy, I drank eight Tom Collins, and went home pissed. Then I opened my mom and Nicks refrigerator and downed a whole six pack of Molsons Golden in four minutes.
My parents laughed.
I threw up for two days straight, and I couldnıt get her fucking voice outta my head.
So I tell Johnny that I do like horror films, and that the Yankees rule. He tells me we have a lot in common.
Wow, I think to myself, me and a Ramone have a lot in common.
Anyway, we get to talking and somehow become friends.
He even helps me and Nick carry a Christmas Tree one year to our apartment.
One day Iım walking to Tower records cause I got nothing to do. As I get near the place, I see a line of people stretched out around the corner. Most of them are wearing leather jackets and have funny colored hair. Then I see a sign. It says that the Ramones are doing an "in-store" at like five oıclock.
Cool. I hadnıt seen the Ramones since my band, which since then broke up, The False Prophets, played with them out in Long Island.
It was great opening for the Ramones.
The roadies yelled at us to get off the stage after like 5 songs, but the crowd loved us.
We got to do an encore. Something very rare for opening bands at Ramones shows. I know that from the next thing that happened.
I walk into Tower and see the four "brothers". At this point, their on and off and on again brother, Marky, is back on drums. I say hi to Johnny and the guys and they say hello back. Johnny asks me what I have been up to lately, and I tell him not much. That I am playing with a band called Letch Patrol, and that is about it.
He asks if I am making any money and I tell him no.
He then asks why I am playing with Letch Patrol then.
Anyway, the next day the phone rings and my mom answers it. She tells me it is Monte, from the Ramones, and he wants to talk to me. I almost go pee pee in my pants. Monte tells me that Johnny told him to call me to offer me Matt Loyolaıs job. He says that Matt is quitting, and asks if I want to be the new Ramones "guitar technician".
I ask him what that is, and he says, "Roadie".
A roadie for the Ramones.
I tell him of course I want to, and, wow, thanks, and wow, and I canıt believe it, and wow, and he cuts me off and tells me to meet this guy Mitch tomorrow to start.
I get off the phone, shaking, and tell my parents I am now employed by the Ramones. My mom is so happy for me she almost cries. Nick asks if they need a photographer.
So, my first job is to ride out to Queens and get the Ramones truck.
A big Ryder.
Like with lots of wheels and really tall and stuff.
This guy, Mitch, the other guitar roadie, keeps asking me if I can drive stick. I tell him of course I can. I figure it must be easy, I mean, what, ya just push this clutch thing down and move a stick. What the hell.
Anyway, he drops me off at the truck and says, "Iıll see ya back at S.I.R.". That is where the Ramones rehearse. In the city. I ask him directions on how to get back to New York, and he just looks at me, then leaves. "Fuck him", I say to myself and start the truck. Iıll figure it out on my own.
I get back on the highway and start to head towards the tall buildings. I figure that must be the right way.
Of course, driving a clutch is harder than I thought, and I go like fifty-five miles an hour in first gear. In fact, I donıt think I shifted once. It is hard to move that stick thingy.
Anyway, as I drive the thing I realize that it is very hard to control.
Then I see a tunnel up ahead.
The sign on it says the clearance is eleven feet. I look in my rearview mirror. It says the clearance for this vehicle is twelve feet.
I figure I am about to die, and I hope like hell that Johnny Ramoneıs white Mosrite guitar flies through the back of the truck, toward me, and impales me. It is what I deserve. I couldnıt drive this fucking thing.
Why did I take this job. I start to cry as the truck enters the tunnel, and somehow, it just seems to make it in. I look in my rearview mirror and see sparks raining down on cars behind me.
Somehow I manage to make it through rush hour traffic, and get to S.I.R. When I get out of the truck it is obvious that I had been crying, and I am still shaking. Mitch takes a look at me along with Arty, the light guy. They both say to each other, "three days".
When I ask them what that means, they tell me it is how long I will last as a roadie.
As it turns out, they were right.
Not only did I fuck up my back moving their Ampegs and Marshalls, almost get beat up by Jane's Addiction for unplugging them because they were playing too long, I broke Johnnyıs guitar right before they were about to go on.
But even after that I still went and saw the Ramones a lot. And Johnny still talked to me. As did Joey and Dee Dee and Marky.
And I still wore U.S. pins on my jacket.
And most of all, I still loved the Ramones.
Probably more than life itself.
Then one day the phone rang.
Well, actually, it kinda rings everyday.
Anyway, my mom picks it up and says it is some guy with a heavy nasal voice. I answer the phone. It is Johnny Ramone.
He is calling me.
My mom runs into the kitchen and gets her purse and takes out some smelling salts.
I think to wake me up.
She later told me it looked as if I was gonna faint.
Anyway, Johnny tells me that Dee Dee just quit the band, and did I know of any bass players.
I ask Johnny what happened, and he tells me he doesnıt know. He just says that Dee Dee up and quit, and that is that.
The Ramones need a new bass player.
I think to myself that the Ramones are not the Ramones without Dee Dee. I mean, fuck, he wrote most of the songs, and his "one-two-three-four" is as much a part of the Ramones as fucking Joeyıs stance, and Johnnyıs Dorathy Hamill haircut.
But of course I donıt say that.
I tell Johnny that I know a few bass players, but the best one for the job is, of course, me.
He tells me he didnıt know I played bass, that he thought I played guitar.
I explained to him that the bass was like the guitar, only easier, because it has two less strings. He kinda didnıt say anything.
So I asked him when the auditions were, and he told me to call Monte to set it up and heıd see me there. I donıt think he thought I could really play. I mean, I was a roadie to him.
See, there are roadies, then there are musicians.
At least to the Ramones.
Anyway, I find out from Monte about the auditions at S.I.R., and am scheduled to go up there in a couple of days. When I tell Monte who I am, he laughs at me and says, "Oh, itıs the three day wonder".
For the next couple of days, I work out every Ramones song in their set. I borrow a bass from a friend of mine, cause I donıt own one. And practice like crazy. I stand in front of a mirror and do my best Dee Dee impression. I stand in front of my girlfriend and do my best Dee Dee impression. I stand in front of my mom and do my best Dee Dee impression. She tells me that if they donıt pick me, that they are nuts, that I am her "little Ramone". I feel as if I actually have a chance. To be a Ramone. Something I have always wanted.
Something I wanted more than anything. To be Georgie Ramone. Be up there on stage with Joey and Johnny and Marky, or whoever, just like in my dreams.
Only in my dreams, my guitar always kinda like turns to rubber and bends all over, and doesnıt stay hard so I can play it.
And my cord is always to short to reach the amp.
But nevermind that, this was my big chance.
To be someone.
To be someone I wanted to be.
And if I were to make it into the Ramones, then I could die.
Iım not kidding.
I would have reached my lifeıs goal.
So, I show up to the Ramones audition looking just like Dee Dee. I mean, my hair is already dyed blue-black and is spiky, I wear my fake raybans, a tight black t-shirt and black jeans, and sneakers. I look the part. I feel the part. Everyone else there doesnıt. There are tall guys with afros, short guys with sandals, fat guys with beards. You name it. But me, fuck. I looked like a Ramone. Hell, lived the part for years.
"George Tabb, is there a George Tabb here?" I hear Monteıs voice say.
I tell Monte I am here and shake his hand.
He looks at me.
"What happened to you?" he asks.
I say, "What?".
He tells me I look just like Dee Dee.
Great, I think to myself, that is one down and three to go.
I walk into the room where they are auditioning future Ramones, and see Johnny and Marky on stage.
"George?" says Johnny, in his nasal voice.
I say hi to Johnny. He tells me I look a lot like Dee Dee, and that he is impressed. I actually look like a Ramone. I look down at my U.S. pins, and secretly thank God for getting me this far.
I plug in the bass that I borrowed to the strobo tuner that the Ramones use and tune the damn thing. Why they use a strobo tuner is the same reason why they havenıt changed their set forever. It works.
Anyway, I then plug into the amp and Johnny asks me what songs I wanna do. I tell him to run through the set. He kinda laughs and says that each player in here has only lasted for one song.
Two at the very most.
I tell him that Iım not everyone else.
He kinda laughs and tells me to count off and stuff. I say, into the mike, "Hey, weıre the Ramones and this ones called the Blitzkrieg Bop, 1-2-3-4!".
And then we go into the song.
And the next one.
And the one after that, and the one after that.
And so on.
We go over half the set, and Johnny and Marky are looking at me.
As is Monty.
The guy who said Iıd last three days.
I smile my shit eating grin at him and keep playing.
I move my shoulders like Dee Dee. I count like Dee Dee. I jump like Dee Dee. Fuck, I am Dee Dee.
And Johnny sees that in the mirror on the back wall of the studio.
Finally we stop playing and everyone tells me that I was great. Marky says that the only thing I did wrong was do a couple of "up-strokes" during "Rock and Roll Radio", and that "up-strokes" were cheating, and that Ramones donıt cheat.
As I start to pack up the bass, Johnny walks up to me and tells me that I was great. Monte starts calling me Georgie Ramone, and Mitch says, "I canıt believe Iım gonna have to work for you."
I am so excited that I just wanna go home and tell my mom and Nick and my girlfriend, Wendy.
I want them to share in this joy that I am now having.
I ask them how many more auditions they have, and what do I do next. Monte says they have a few more days to go, but not to worry.
Johnny says the same thing.
And then adds that it is now between me and some guy named Chris.
Johnny says that he is impressed with Chris because he drove in from Long Island on one dayıs notice to audition for the Ramones.
Right. Like I wouldnıt have flown in from fucking Japan.
Anyway, they both tell me to sit tight, and theyıll let me know. Then Johnny says to Monte, "Monte, why donıt give Georgie Ramone a ride home".
I almost cry.
I hold back the tears.
So it turns out that this Chris guy is C-Jay, and he becomes the next Ramone.
I hear from the grapevine that they would have picked me, but they thought I was too old.
I am still at least fourteen years younger than Johnny.
But my faith in the Ramones is not shaken.
I mean, I kinda fell real hard, not being a Ramone and all, but somehow I managed to bounce back.
I started a band called Iron Prostate, and even did a silly type Ramones tribute song called "Rock n Roll Nursing Home". We played around a lot, and even did some records. And I still wore my U.S. pins on my leather jacket on the album picture.
A couple of years after the Ramones audition, my mom got cancer.
She died within eleven months of the diagnoses. We were very close, and in a lot of ways, she was my best friend. I feel as though I let her down by not becoming a Ramone. Her "Little Ramone". Life kinda sucks like that.
My dream was to always be playing with the Ramones, not one of my other bands, on stage, and her seeing us. I mean, she used to go to all my shows. She always told me that I could do whatever I wanted in life. That there were no set fates, and that each person was in control of his or her destiny. If I wanted to be Ramone, why shouldn't I try.
Her death left me with a big hole.
A year later, my real father died.
The one I hated.
The one that kicked me out of the house for wearing a leather jacket with U.S. pins on it.
The one who told me Iıd never amount to anything, and that the Ramones were just junkies who lived in New York, just like my mother and step father.
Iım glad heıs dead.
So, we are outside of Coney Island High and Evan says to me, "How many times have you seen the Ramones?"
I look at Evan and try to come up with a number.
"A lot," I tell him, "A lot".
The next day is kinda exciting. I am told that I can go see the Ramones at Coney Island High and write a story about it. I talk to Joey on the phone, who tells me he canıt get me on the guest list, but that I can walk into the club with him if I want to.
And in that way, Iıll get in for free.
That is very sweet of him.
See, I wasnıt gonna go see the Ramones at all. I figured that these were their last shows, and it would probably be too emotional for me. I mean, here it is, the end of the Ramones. I figured I would just remember them in my mind. That actually having to go to a final show would be like having to actually face the fact that people I love are dead.
Iım a wuss.
Anyway, I decide to go and face up to it, and my pal Jesse, from DGeneration helps me out by getting me on the list to get into the club, cause it is sold out.
When I woke up that morning I wasnıt gonna see the Ramones, and, well, just like life, some things move real fast. Now I was. And I think I was ready for it.
The two hours I spent before I left the house to see the Ramones, was spent in the bathroom. I took a long shower, and then got dressed a lot. I really couldnıt decide what to wear.
Should I wear blue jeans? Black Jeans? A black t-shirt? A Ramones t-shirt? My Johnny Ramone Yoo-hoo t-shirt? And what jacket? The one that says "Furious George" on the back? The studded and painted one? The one I have owned for fifteen years and is falling apart?
Finally I decided to wear my black jeans, black sneakers, black Ramones t-shirt, and leather jacket with the U.S. pins on it. I looked great. And smelled good, too. Cause I put on some Musk For Men. Been using that stuff since I started seeing the Ramones.
As do the Ramones.
I got to the Continental about an hour before the show and put up some Furious George fliers in the window.
We were playing there the following week. I had to borrow some tape from the bartenders, Jenn and Todd. They asked me what I was doing that night, and I told them I was gonna see the Ramones. They said they figured as much. As I was putting up the flier in the window, my pal Noel, the booker guy from there told me to have a good time tonight. He knew how much I loved the Ramones, and knew I was in for a religious experience, even though I didnıt think I was.
As I left the Continental I saw Trigger, the owner, and told him his new sound system kicks total ass. It does. The Continental, in my opinion, is now the best sounding room in the city. Trigger told me to have fun, and I said I would.
I was supposed to have fun.
I had to remind myself of that.
Good thing Trigger reminded me.
When I got to Coney Island High, I saw Jesse, and thanked him for everything. Even if his hair does look funny, he is one of the nicest guys around. Actually, his band is full of them. I also saw Joey walking in, and wished him a good show. He said, "thanks". As the room got more and more crowded, I eased my fear by drinking more and more.
This was it.
The Ramones were gonna play, and it was probably the last time I was gonna see them.
I hung out a lot with my friends Merilee and John, and we all held our breath together. Actually, we had to, the place stunk. Too many people. Yuck. Anyway, the Ramones theme music finally goes on, and then they take the stage. I hear C-Jay scream "1-2-3-4" and, well, what can I say. It was the Ramones.
They played a typical Ramones set and it was absolutely predictable.
They wore their leather jackets, played the same songs, and said the same things.
It was truly wonderful.
At one point, during the song "Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World", I felt a ton of anger and rage pump through my veins like it always used to at Ramones shows. I felt as if I hated school, bullies, and my dad.
Then I remembered I was out of school, there were very few bullies around, and my dad was dead.
During "I Wanna Be Sedated" I thought of my mom. She loved that song, and would walk around the house singing "Baa-baa-baa-baa, I wanna be sedated".
During other songs, I felt other emotions, and was surprised.
The Ramones still made me feel.
After almost twenty years of seeing them, I still felt those adolescent feelings welling up inside of me. And as I watched Johnny stroke away on his guitar, and Joey sing his lungs out, and Marky bang away on the drums, and C-Jay play with real enthusiasm, I was home again. With the Ramones. Feeling like I belonged. Somewhere in the world. With the Ramones. One of them. And then I knew I didnıt have to be up there on stage to be a Ramone. I was always one of them.
Punk is crazy.