Ramones Gathering: A Celebration
The death last Wednesday of Ramones founding member Dee Dee Ramone, a.k.a. Douglas Colvin, won’t derail a combination Ramones tribute/record release party/fund-raiser taking place this week in New York City. “Now it’s more of a tribute than we’d ever planned,” event co-organizer Johnny Chiba said.
The main purpose of Wednesday night’s performance at Don Hill’s Nightclub is to raise money for the Joey Ramone Lymphoma Research Fund, set up at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, following the death last year of the Ramones’ lanky singer.
But the show also serves as a record release party for “Ramones Forever--An International Tribute.” It’s the first U.S. release of an album issued in slightly different form last year in Belgium, with covers of Ramones songs by several Belgian bands and performers from Peru, the Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Greece and a few from the United States.
Performers at Wednesday’s concert will include Type O Negative singer Pete Steele, singer Mike Blank from punk band Blank 77, punk drag queen Jayne County and others.
Bassist Dee Dee Ramone was credited as the pioneering punk band’s chief songwriter and the one who shouted “1, 2, 3, 4!” at the beginning of each song, an opening that became the group’s signature.
“I’m sure there are going to be a lot of Ramones fans there who will be wanting to commiserate over Dee Dee’s death,” Chiba said. “But we’re not promoting anything of that nature. We’re celebrating the Ramones, we’re celebrating Joey’s life, and, in that respect, now we’re going to be celebrating Dee Dee’s life as well, as opposed to memorializing them.”
Chiba said that in addition to receiving $1,000 or more from the concert, the Joey Ramone Lymphoma Research Fund will get 20% of profits from sales of the “Ramones Forever” album. A Web site, www.radicalrecords.com, has been set up to allow visitors to download MP3 files of several of the album’s 23 songs and to obtain other information about the project.