Joey New Year!


I don’t partake in online record browsing but after Steve Soto signed on to play our next Save Music in Chinatown show, I became a little obsessed with his bands other than The Adolescents. I already owned a bunch of Joyride and 22 Jacks releases, but what was I missing?

Holy crap! There’s a bootleg of the Joey Ramone show at the Viper Room where 22 Jacks backed them? I remember arriving at the gig super early along with my pal Cliff Son. At the Johnny Depp-owned venue we saw a fellow GR contributor Mako Nakayama (“Kick My Ass!”), who I think was stocking the bar for a living, and he let us in for free!


The sound is a little blown out (it’s a bootleg) and the set is short (Joey was weakened by lymphoma) but what a cool document of an awesome evening. Rodney on the ROQ introduced Joey as the person who “invented every one of you” in the crowd and the band ripped played some songs that would be released on his solo album and Ramones favorites.

I totally recall being blown away when they played “Danny Says.” I got to see the Ramones 8 or 10 times, and they never played slow songs in concert! It was even better that he mangled the beginning, so I could retrieve my jaw from the stage (we were standing right in front). Wow. Merry Xmas to me.


Since I ordering the LP from France weeks ago, The Ramones have turned out to be a recurring theme of this particular holiday. (Well, even more recurring than usual.) My brother Greg couldn’t help but break our family’s gift-giving rule of presents for kids, not adults, when he saw that Vicki Berndt made Dee Dee Ramone tree ornaments available once more.

And then when I was record shopping at Rockaway, I noticed a sign stating that all holiday-related music was half off. Did that include the Record Store Day 10″ EP that collected Joey’s Christmas songs on red wax and added a Phil Spector cover on top? Yes!


The Joey Ramone-produced CD EP that Ronnie Spector released on Kill Rock Stars has pretty much been in and out of our car’s shuffler since Eloise was born six years ago and it’s one of her favorites. The duets with Joey are heartbreaking, the Johnny Thunders cover is amazing, and I think that Ronnie’s version of “She Talks To Rainbows” is better than the original. You should see Eloise’s dance moves to that track.

After cracking out the Viper Room bootleg and listening to it with Eloise, I had to share Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, and Tommy in their prime with her. My brother and I got It’s Alive when we were in high school and somehow I wound up with it when we divvied up our collection after college. I totally forgot that the London concert was recorded on December 31, 1977. Gabba Gabba Hey! Joey New Year!