It’s some Wednesday night in April, 2001, and after working a long day at Easy Street Records, I head down to the Lava Lounge for some relaxation (read: alcohol). There’s the guys from The Briefs spinning records that move from punk rock to new wave, and beyond. DOA, T. Rex, X, The Damned, Gary Numan, Richard Hell, Devo, and so much more… But most of all, tonight, it’s The Ramones. I’m drinking for Joey tonight, and I think we all are. This is Seattle 2001, and it’s a memorial that rocks. Death hasn’t hit this town this hard since Kurt did what he did, but this is different. When Kurt went away, I don’t think I heard Nirvana played in a club or bar in Seattle for like five years. It was so solemn and quiet — the period of mourning. It’s over now; it’s okay to play your favorite song off of Bleach now, on the jukebox between The Velvet Underground and The Buzzcocks. It’s okay to throw on In Utero while working behind the record store counter. It’s all right now.
I close my eyes as “53rd & 3rd” hits. Joey gets a different kind of reverence here. It’s the New Orleans funeral of rock n’ roll. It’s a full on celebration of life and living. Death becomes the brat we’re all beating on, and yeah, forever — I’m singin’ “I’ll remember you…” Even these words — written while drunk and smoking and listening to cuts from Rocket To Russia and Road To Ruin as they’re thrown in between Suicidal Tendencies and David Bowie, is a work of joy. It’s a celebration of what he gave to us, not what was taken away. Drunk thought: joy to Joey is just one letter. “E” for energy and excitement and everything he was and will forever be. We love him, and he will be so missed, but we will remember him with all the life of rock n’ roll right now and loud, and not push him away into the quiet place of sadness. Joey Ramone will not be silent. Put on The Ramones right now, and play it loud. Joey, we love you, forever and always.
Top 5 Ramones Memories
Getting pissed off at my dad for insisting on pronouncing it “The Rah-moan-ees.”
Sneaking into a Nomeansno show when I was too young to see shows and getting treated to a full set of Ramones covers.
Seeing them play live in Vancouver many years ago. It was the end, the end of the 80’s…
Getting drunk in high school at some illegal late night beach party and listening to The Ramones played too loud on a crappy boom box. Gabba gabba, oh yeah.
Tonight, Wednesday, at the Lava Lounge — seeing old friends making new ones, while outbursts of Ramones songs bring the bar together in impromptu singalongs. Triggering memories and emotions of the past and giving the gift of rock n’ roll to the future.
Hey! Ho! Let’s go!