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[*] posted on 9-16-2004 at 03:11 PM
Johnny Ramone.....


Johnny Ramone, lead guitarist of The Ramones, the punk band that
influenced a generation of rock musicians, has died in Los Angeles
after a five year battle with prostate cancer. He was 55.
Ramone was admitted to hospital in June at Cedars-Sinai Medical
Centre. He died in his sleep at home yesterday afternoon surrounded
by friends and family, said Arturo Vega, the band's creative director.

"He was the guy with a strategy. He was the guy who not only looked
after the band's interest but he also was their defender," said Mr
Vega.

Born John Cummings in 1948, Johnny Ramone was one of the original
members of the Ramones, whose hit songs Teenage Lobotomy, I Wanna Be
Sedated, Blitzkrieg Bop and Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue earned their
induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

He co-founded the band in 1974 in New York with singer Joey, bassist
Dee Dee and drummer Tommy. All four had different last names, but
took the common name Ramone.

Tommy, born Tommy Erdelyi, is now the only surviving band member,
after Joey - whose real name was Jeff Hyman - died in 2001 of
lymphatic cancer, and Dee Dee - real name, Douglas Colvin - died from
a drug overdose in 2002.

Johnny and his future bandmates were raised in the largely middle-
class New York neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens. They knew each
other as youngsters, and shared an interest in pioneering punk bands
like the New York Dolls.

After attending a military academy - an experience that would make
him the group's task master - Johnny Ramone started playing the
guitar at the age of 25. The band performed publicly for the first
time in March 1974 and recorded their debut album in 1976.

Clad in leather jackets and with long, black mops of hair, they made
their name playing in New York dive clubs like CBGB. Their songs,
famously brief and counted in with a frenzied "one-two-three-four!"
introduction, mixed their daily frustrations with a dark sense of
humour.

"We couldn't write about love or cars, so we sang about this stuff,
like glue-sniffing. We thought it was funny. We thought we could get
away with anything," Johnny Ramone once said.

Though they never had a Top 40 song and struggled for commercial
success, the band paved the way for British punk rock icons such as
the Sex Pistols and The Clash, and heavily influenced later rock
bands such as Nirvana.

Bruce Springsteen was so impressed that he allegedly wrote Hungry
Heart for the band after seeing them play in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
His manager, however, persuaded him to keep the song for himself and
it became his first number one hit.

Phil Spector, the famed producer, collaborated with the band in 1980
and allegedly pulled a gun on them during the session, according to
Dee Dee. "The Ramones had it rough," said Mr Vega, who worked with
the band for 30 years. "The band almost had to be protected from
people who were taking advantage of them. There was never any money
made."

Johnny Ramone changed that by demanding more money for performances,
but still kept a close watch on the band's budget. Mr Vega recalled
how he would insist that the band drive non-stop between Boston and
New York for shows instead of spending the night in a hotel. In
addition to his financial conservatism, the guitarist was politically
conservative, a fan of the late Ronald Reagan.


Fans that have had remained loyal to the band have been rewarded.
While shooting scenes for the film Rock 'n' Roll High School in 1979,
the Ramones ignored the director's order and played a concert-length
session for fans who had paid to be extras.

"The Ramones never ever lost their image, their aura of being the
ultimate underdog, the voice of the angry young man," Mr Vega said.
The Ramones officially broke up in 1996, after releasing 21 studio
and live albums, but the band has recently crept back into the
spotlight.

Pearl Jam rocker Eddie Vedder, singer Rob Zombie, and the Red Hot
Chili Peppers performed at a tribute concert in Los Angeles on Sunday
to mark the band's 30th anniversary. Johnny Ramone, too sick to
attend, spoke to the fans by telephone. A bleak film documentary
called End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, has just been
released.

Among the friends and relatives who gathered at Ramone's bedside were
his wife, Linda Cummings, Vedder, Zombie, Red Hot Chili Peppers
guitarist John Frusciante, Lisa Marie Presley and the actor Vincent
Gallo. He is survived by his mother, Estelle Cummings. He will be
cremated during a private ceremony




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[*] posted on 9-17-2004 at 11:21 AM


It's so fuckin sad that 3/4 of the Ramaones are no longer with us. I feel bad for all the punk/HC fans who never saw them play live cause it was a truly amazing site to behold. I saw them 4 or 5 times in the early 90's when I was a young teenager and I will never forget them.



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