It really should come as no great surprise to read that I’ve always been a big Ramones fan, a point I ram home rather laboriously here with a mention in virtually every other post. That said, when they were still a going concern (and all on the correct side of the ground), my enthusiasm for their tireless insistence on putting out some frankly half-baked albums (Pleasant Dreams or Animal Boy anyone?) started to wane after 1985’s Too Tough to Die. I still picked up the odd record or single, but the law of diminishing returns underscored that it was sadly no longer mandatory.
Then, of course, they broke up. The band that my friends and I had literally taken for granted for so many years (“Hey, shall we go see the Ramones on Thursday?” “Nah, they’ll be back in a month” etc.), was suddenly kaput. As it turned out, the last time I did get to see them play live was in 1993, playing in the middle of a ridiculously windy field during the middle of the day up in Syracuse.
But the deal was really done when Joey Ramone died in 2001, effectively slamming the door shut on the possibility of any reunion (not that one was exactly likely to begin with, given their weary disdain for one another by that point). I was sincerely bummed about that, although the event of Joey Ramone’s sad demise provided me with the first real opportunity to break out of the news desk ghetto I was ensnared in at TIME Magazine at the time, but you can read more about that here.
Anyway, blah blah blah. I dutifully bought Joey’s posthumously released solo album, Don’t Worry About Me in 2002, but I’d be fibbing if I said I’ve ever played it a great deal.
Ten years later comes …Ya Know?, a second Joey solo record, assembled from unfinished tracks by lauded Ramones producer Ed Stasium (engineer on Leave Home, producer of Road to Ruin , It’s Alive and the soundtrack to Rock `n Roll High School) and Joey’s actual brother Mickey Leigh. The songs on the new record were put together around contributions from folks like Joan Jett, Little Steven Van Zandt of the E-Street Band, members of the Dictators and several other cats. It was released back in April, and I have to say – I didn’t exactly sprint out to fetch it. At this stage of the proceedings, if I’m ever in dire need of hearing the Ramones, I’m invariably reaching for my trusty copy of It’s Alive (I’ll be buried with it, mark my words) than anything else -- and it still rocks harder than virtually any record you can cite.
Earlier today, though, I spied the video for “New York City” off …Ya Know?, and it’s tailor-made for this weblog. Not only is it Ramone-centric , but the video is shot entirely in and around New York City, cites several vanished venues of old, and features cameos from – as far as I can tell – Mickey Leigh, Ed Stasium, Reggie Watts, photographer Godlis, Tommy “Ramone” Erdelyi, Anthony Bourdain, Andrew W.K., the dude from Les Savvy Fav and maybe that indie duo, Matt & Kim, but I’m not positive.
As an extra bonus, not a single member of One Direction appears in the clip at any time.
Check it out below.