1-2-3-4!!! The Ramones may be gone, but they’ll always be Too Tough To Die!

JoeyBy Metal Dave

Until I got married and later became a father, the most memorable day of my life was Oct. 22, 1992. On that date, 18 years ago this week, I finally met the Ramones. 

Thanks to publicist Ida Langsam (a friend forever), my all-time favorite band would be expecting me and ready to grant an interview prior to soundcheck at Palmer Auditorium in Austin, TX. All I had to do was show up, case the joint and keep a sharp eye out for four leather jackets. Determined, but still a novice stalker, I circled the mid-sized arena pinpointing every entrance, exit, loading ramp, etc. until the sight of 18-wheelers and bustling roadies helped me determine which door might be THE DOOR. 

In time, a white van pulled up and out they slumped. One-by-one, dressed mostly in black (of course), my heroes, the Ramones! Today, I’m more relaxed with such encounters, but in 1992, I was 25-years-old and about to throw myself in front of Joey Ramone, the gangly punk-rock superhero who was notorious for being painfully shy. Watching him lurch to life right in front of me was as surreal as it was slow motion. Wow! There. He. Is! 

Right behind Joey was Marky, who was my assigned interview for the day. As I extended an introductory handshake in the direction of Marky, I managed to momentarily stall Joey. Wow! Here. I. Am (photo above).

Johnny 2Soon I was in the band’s dressing room with a microphone in Marky’s face as he chomped peanuts and answered my questions (photo missing). Being an idiot, I pulled a huge bottle of Jack Daniels from my duffle bag and presented it to Marky as a gift. At the time, I had no idea he was a recovering alcoholic who once had been kicked out of the band for being a drunk. Whoops! He politely accepted the Jack, explaining he no longer imbibed, but would happily give it to the appreciative road crew. Whatever you say, boss! 

As my interview was wrapping, Joey reappeared along with Johnny (photo above). Pressing my luck a little, I asked Joey if he would “field a question.” His bewildered reply? “Feel a question?” Um, anyway. Thanks for the hospitality, guys (years later, Joey called me at my day job and threatened to kick my ass if I published a tell-all interview about his childhood that he willfully granted and later wanted to retract. He called back the next day to apologize and give his blessing. That’s another story, but remind me to tell it).

Next was dinner with the road crew so I made my way downstairs and passed the newest Ramone, CJ, who I didn’t even recognize due to his un-Ramones-like sleeve tattoos and brown, heavy metal hair. He said hello and I did the same, but I kept moving thinking he was a roadie. After dinner, I stood side stage during soundcheck and quickly realized the “roadie” in the stairwell was CJ as I watched him flail away on bass while tackling Joey’s lead vocals. Too late. Next time. (The wait was worth it when years later, CJ returned to Austin and enlisted me as his tour guide and navigator during an all-night SXSW marathon that didn’t end until he dropped me off at my apartment at sunrise). 

This story is already longer than every single Ramones song, so I’ll end it right here. Thanks again to Ida Langsam, Monte Melnick, the Ramones (for the music and memories), SWTSU, KTSW (The Other Side of Radio) and, of course, Marc and Al for enjoying the ride! God bless Joey and Johnny (and Dee Dee) Ramone. Gabba Gabba and RIP.

  1. Pat Idle says:

    Man I have to say the Ramones are truly and american treasure. And the sad thing was they really never got the recognition they deserved out of this country until Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee passed. I own every album(Thank you Rhino Records and Captain Oi! for the killer reissues over the past decade) and every album is great in my opinion. That was one band I never missed when they came through michigan during my teenage years in the 90s. Great story Dave I never heard that one about Joey. To this day when daily life gets too tough, bills, kids and all the regular american way bullshit that leads to heartattacks and strokes, I Believe in Miracles is one hell of a way to fight 5 oclock traffic or hell to start the working stiff day.

    • metal dave says:

      Well said as always, Pat. Yeah, I will have to tell that Joey story one day. His brother Mickey is involved. It all came about because of that Sibling Rivalry album they did

  2. Another awesome read from the annals of Metal Dave. Love it!

    We need to talk about the Ramones sometime as I really don’t know shit. I loved the recent documentary about them. They are a band I always wanted to get to know musically but never did.

  3. Bob says:

    Hell yeah! I still have my cherished autographed Rocket to Russia LP…they all showed up at Peaches Records in Clearwater FL the afternoon before a show. Dee Dee was telling some girls about his “solo album” he was working on, which turned out to be that Dee Dee King stuff. The rest of ’em pretty much shook hands and signed autographs…a little chit chat maybe. Why the HELL didn’t I bring a camera???

  4. Steven Blackmore says:

    Awesome stuff Dave, I’ve seen that photo of you and Joey..
    One of Lemmy’s all time fav bands as well !Hey Ho Lets Go!!!!

  5. Al Kelly says:

    Another classic memory. If you remember one of the security singled me out for bouncing around in the front when the gig started. I was like “no fucking way your throwing me out during a Ramones gig” and ran like hell. Good times!!

  6. Jeanne says:

    So the Ramones were the kick off to the now famous metal dave!, great recap! Always enjoy your reads, interesting how music whatever genre influences life. Rock on Dave

    • admin says:

      Actually, KISS probably gets the credit/blame for the early launch of metal dave, but the Ramones certainly contributed to my love of rock=n-roll. Thanks for reading and posting. Jeanne. You of all people understand the power of music