Monday, May 19, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOEY RAMONE
I don't make a habit of saying happy birthday to anyone -- dead or alive -- but Joey Ramone was one cool cat (is that how the kids are talking these days?) The man born Jeffrey Hyman would have turned...I don't know, old. He would have been old today. Like he was yesterday, if he didn't die when I was in college.
I was in a features writing class. We were all excited because for most of us it was the first time we'd ever had the Internet in a classroom. Which meant slacking off. I was doing something other than what I was supposed to do when the news scrolled across my screen. Joey Ramone Dead.
What a bummer. I almost cried in my seat. But I didn't.
I was lucky enough to see the Ramones exactly once. It was at Lollapalooza with Metallica and Devo. It was the first time seeing any of those bands for me. Shit, I was 16. Anyway, the Ramones played during the middle of the day, which I found odd. They burned through their already short songs as quick as they could. Didn't say a word. Just played. Then left. I thought maybe they'd do an encore, but bands who play when the sun's up don't get that luxury.
And that was it. I saw the Ramones from halfway up the Irvine Meadows hill. It wasn't the ideal experience, but I loved every second of it.
One time I wore my Ramones t-shirt with a black bob wig to school. I'm sure it was meant for girls, but with the shirt on I looked like either an actual Ramone or a major doofus fan. Some of my friends didn't even recognize me. I still don't know why I did that.
Posthumous hyperbole is all the rage, so let's leave it at this: Joey Ramone was a great singer in a great rock 'n' roll band. The music world suffered a big loss when he died.