Melbourne is cemented in punter’s minds as the music capital of the world. When you find the likes of Richie Ramone and his band at the humble, but much loved Tote in suburban Collingwood, you realise that you’ve had an experience that is totally surreal.
Consider that Richie Ramone played more than five hundred gigs with the Ramones between 1983 and 1987, and that Joey entrusted Richie to write some songs for the (arguably) most iconic punk band to come out of America. Ritchie wrote six well known hits for them, including ‘Somebody Put Something In My Drink’, ‘Smash You’ and ‘I’m Not Jesus’.
So it turns out that Richie Ramone has a new album to promote called Cellophane. There was a smattering of new music throughout the twenty eight-song set as well as some covers, Ramones hits and Richie’s own Ramones offerings. Helping Richie deliver a gig to remember were band members Ronnie Simmons (lead guitar), Clare Misstake (bass), and Ben Reagan (rhythm guitar and drums). Simmons is a ‘local’ boy from Sydney, who now resides in Hollywood. He’s no lightweight, having played Madison Square Garden with the likes of Motley Crue and Alice Cooper. Misstake from London, England is the founding member of the all-girl Ramones tribute band, The Ramonas. Reagan, from Los Angeles has had a long love affair with the punk genre and has been playing professionally since he was 15.
At times the instrumentals were a little loose, but the band rocked super hard even if, at times, they were a teeny bit out of synch. Ramone still has what it takes to drive the fans to sing hard, mosh hard and worship with every ounce of energy. Whether playing the drums or up front, singing, he has an incredible connection with his fans, often leaning over to shake hands, or getting down off his pedestal to mingle with the crowd. Rarely does anyone have the opportunity to get so up close and personal with a true star, and everyone up the front clamoured to get near.
Each fan would have chosen a different highlight of the night, but there was a special energy created when the first strains of ‘Sheena’ (is a punk rocker) rang out.
It doesn’t take long to rip through a punk set, and all too soon the gig ended, and the lights came up on the loyal fans who no doubt, will be back to see the remaining Ramone continue the punk legacy on his next tour.