Monday, September 20, 2004

Johnny Ramone played lead guitar for The Ramones from the first concert to the last.

Johnny—the Drill Sergeant. Born John Cummings on October 8, 1951, on Long Island; a veteran of military-academy life whose damn-the-torpedoes temperament was a crucial factor in keeping the band alive at its lowest ebb. Johnny contends, to this day, that he had no influences whatsoever as a guitarist. He picked up the instrument, belatedly, at 22, purchasing a $50 Mosrite in January 1974 on a trip with Dee Dee to the Manhattan guitar emporium Manny's. He learned only what he deemed essential to make his desired music: "Pure, white rock 'n' roll, with no blues influence. I wanted our sound to be as original as possible. I stopped listening to everything."

—excerpt from The Ramones...Loud and Fast by David Fricke

A new documentary about The Ramones is playing in selected theatres nationwide. The documentary, titled "The Ramones: End of The Century" reveals the darker side of the band, including singer Joey Ramone's obsessive-compulsive disorder, the heavy drinking of Marky Ramone, the non-stop drugging of Dee Dee, and the falling out between Joey and Johnny over a woman:

The filmmakers believe Joey and Johnny fell out for good when Joey's girlfriend, Linda, left him for Johnny (whom she married) in the early `80s. Afterward, the singer and guitarist would barely speak, even if they were sitting next to each other in the van.

Johnny says that while Linda's change of heart "factored in, the problems started and continued for other reasons. We had different ideas of what the band should be doing."

The estrangement was so great, Johnny didn't visit Joey when he got cancer. The guitarist says he felt it would have been hypocritical to do so.

—excerpt from the Monterey Herald Review

NPR audio interview with Michael Gramaglia who co-directed and produced End of The Century.


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