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