Richie Ramone‘s scene is an honest one. The Ramones‘ drummer, between 1983 and 1987, states: “Being true to myself. That’s my scene.” Genuinely, Richie takes it a step further, especially since for him, “it’s all about the fans”. He states: “I want to meet fans after the show. It’s not just what happens on stage. I like to talk to people and see what’s going on. That’s punk rock. I’m no phoney.”
Many, however, may see his sustaining of the surname ‘Ramone’ rather than reverting back to his real surname, Reinhardt, as being false. Yet Richie Ramone has “earned this right”. While he was drummer for the iconic punk rock band, Ramones, he played more than 500 shows with the band, and was the only Ramones’ drummer to contribute to the songwriting. In fact, punk rock icon, and co-founder of the Ramones, Joey Ramone stated that “[Richie] saved the band as far as I’m concerned. He’s the greatest thing to happen to the Ramones. He put the spirit back in the band.” Of that now famous quote, Richie says, “a great quote that one, from a legend. I feel privileged.”
The band, Ramones, owe this union to what Richie simply states as: “luck”. The first Ramones’ song he remembers hearing was Blitzkrieg Bop. He continues: “It was just being in the right place at the right time. I was hanging out with the bands that played the CBGB a lot, and they had a big house with a recording studio. One day one of their roadies, Matt, told me that the Ramones were auditioning drummers and I said, ‘Put my name in the hat’. I had seen them play but didn’t know them beforehand. They called me and I just did the audition. I went and learnt a couple of songs and went in there and, yeah, I guess they liked me. Right away we hit it off, especially me with Dee Dee. And Joey took me under his wing.”
In hindsight, Richie’s states that he was “what they needed at the time”. He continues: “me joining was like lighting a spark plug. It energised the band. They accepted me straight away. We became incredibly close because we spent so much time together. We played 170 shows a year back then, and travelled all over. We were like family.”
Bands survive longer if they treat members “like family”, and with his new band, “we’re like a family too”. Richie takes a starring role as songwriter and lead singer, dividing his time between his drum kit and front of stage. He’s bringing the whole band on his Australian tour, musicians he hand-picked: Clare Misstake on bass, drummer and rhythm guitarist Ben Reagan, and Australian guitarist Ronnie Simmons.
In 2013, Richie released Entitled and is currently putting the finishing touches on his new album. He offers a teaser with a Depeche Mode cover of Enjoy The Silence which he is including in the new album because “he liked it” and he certainly does it justice by making it his own.
With Entitled, Richie’s favourite track is the last one, Forgotten Years. He also states that the opening track, Criminal, “can be a love song if you think it is”.
Whereas Entitled had a more metal edge, this new album which he is “really happy with” has “good stories and songs, it is a progression from Entitled”. Australian fans can expect to hear some of the latest on Richie’s upcoming Australian tour but in essence it will “be a Ramones’ set”. Richie explains: “I’ll play some of the material from my last record and the one coming out. Also songs I played with the Ramones back in the day, then I’ll play some Ramones classics. It’s a really good set, you know? It’s a complete Ramones set.”
Richie ends with stating that he’s “really looking forward to this trip”. As are we. Catch Richie Ramone on his Australian tour. Hey Ho Let’s Go.
RICHIE RAMONE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016
Thursday, 28th April 2016
Great Northern Hotel – Byron Bay NSW
Friday 29th April 2016
Wooly Mammoth – Brisbane QLD
Saturday, 30th April 2016
Social Club – Sydney NSW
Sunday 1st May 2016 (Doors 12 noon)
CHERRY ROCK 016 Cherry Bar Melbourne VIC