Had he not passed away in 2001 at the age of 49, Joey Ramone would be turning 58 years young today. It's hard to believe that three of the four original Ramones are no longer with us. Yeah, there's always that "as long as the music's here, they're here, maaaann" bullshit, but I don't buy that. The tunes are in fact still here, but it's not the same cranking "Havana Affair" knowing the band that penned some of the best tunes of the 20th century barely made it to see the 21st. Needless to say, the world would be a much better place with the Ramones still doing their thing.
The funny thing is, the Ramones got way more popular after each death (Dee Dee in 2002 and Johnny in 2004). I used to get shit from people in high school when I wore my Ramones t-shirt and this was the 90s. Hell, even my punker friends thought I was lame for liking them. Now it seems like any band who wants some sort of cred wears the iconic Ramones logo shirt. I'm glad they're getting the attention, but bummed it came after they weren't around to enjoy it.
I saw the Ramones once. It was Lollapalooza 97 (the only Lollapalooza I attended) at Irvine Meadows. With a lineup that include Metallica, Devo and the Ramones, I had to be there. The day was long, but worth it for the aforementioned acts. And I shit you not: The Ramones played in the middle of the afternoon. They ran through their greatest hits in what felt like 15 minutes. Then they were done. I thought it was a joke and figured, even though it was a festival, they'd have an encore. Nope. Never had I heard a band play so fast with such an intent to get the fuck off the stage.
They played two more shows after that, then broke up. It was the CJ-era, but I saw the fucking Ramones. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.
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But anyway...here's to you Joey Ramone. I'm not one for the afterlife and all that jazz, but on the off chance you're reading this, happy birthday pal. We miss you down here.