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The RamonesEnd of the Century: The Story of the Ramones DVD
a radio bobo-k music-dvd review
Starring: The Ramones and a slew of legendary rockers influenced or honoring THE punk band
Directed by Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields

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'End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones' is a pretty basic documentary. It's lead with the group's eventual acceptance into the mainstream (in this case the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony), and told through old footage and new interviews, and a few bands talking about the influence of the group. BUT, when the subject of the documentary is THE seminal punk rock band The Ramones, ya know Radio Bobo's gonna love it!

'End of the Century' is a gem! It captures the heart of New York City in the 70s, the era after "white flight", when the middle class whites would leave the city for the 'burbs, leaving a depressed graffiti-laden city in its wake. Out of this destruction, four misfits of Forrest Hills banded together, the only commonality was their love of The Stooges, to form a "perfect family."

Having grown up a Ramones fan in New York, the filmmakers really brought me back to my youth. I felt like I was there as über-conservative Johnny plays father to strung-out, sexed-out Dee Dee, with Tommy trying to hold it together as Joey blossomed from geek to rock star all the while giving in to his compulsions (he suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder). Add bowl haircuts and black leather, give them instruments they didn't know how to play, and you have the three chord geniuses that put prog rock showmanship to bed.

The footage, the songs (almost all of their best known tracks in this film), longing to be back in the day …until reality hits. The group had its drama as well. Watching Dee Dee you saw an obvious junkie still afflicted with his disease (he did finally succumb to an overdose). Joey footage was a bitter reminder that he had already passed too soon. And Johnny, who fell in love with (and until his death was still married to) Joey's (ex-ish) girlfriend creating a decade of turmoil in the group, came across as the "football father." Despite the parade of drummers, original drummer and sometimes producer Tommy seemed the most down to earth - he saw The Ramones for what they were and made it out alive.

But ah the footage! I forgot how great a Ramones show was! Leg McNeil (from Punk Magazine) provided amazing commentary including the description of a "wall of sound" at a Ramones show. Others who appeared on camera included Ms. Blunt's favorite beau Joe Strummer (The Clash & The Mescaleros), Chris Stein and Deborah Harry (Blondie), former manager Danny Fields, and lifelong friends like artist Arturo Vega and Ritchie Adler.

My favorites of the bonus clips -- Tommy going over who wrote what song on the first three albums and Marky Ramone (two time drummer for the group) talking about the drumming technique.

I should note, that this documentary was obviously put together after Joey died, and released just after Dee Dee died (in time to add a slate on the screen mentioning his passing), but before we lost Johnny and Joe Strummer. It is a must see not only for Ramones fans, but for people who think Blink 182 or Green Day are punk.

Buy it!


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