2008 JOHNNY RAMONE TRIBUTE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ONE YET!
STREAMING LIVE RADIO BROADCAST - AUDIO ARCHIVE NOW ONLINE
A special outdoor event was held in memory of Legendary Ramones Guitarist JOHNNY RAMONE on Friday August 1st, 2008 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, home of the 8-ft tall, bronze Johnny Ramone memorial statue.
The tribute, benefiting Johnny’s prostate cancer research charity (Cedars-Sinai, lead by Dr. David Agus), has been an annual event in Los Angeles for nearly half a decade. The 2008 tribute was reportedly the most successful one to date boasting the highest attendance yet, along with an appearance by three of the world famous Ramones attending and signing autographs endlessly for the wealth of devoted Ramones fans flooding the grounds. The site was also adorned with celebrity guests including actress Rose McGowan, Red Hot Chili Peppers Flea & John Frusciante, Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom, Billy Zoom of X and many more intermixed with the extended Ramones family of fans and friends gathered to honor the rock legend.
“Johnny would have been really excited about this. He loved being Johnny Ramone all day long.” Linda Ramone, Johnny’s wife and host of the annual event, said proudly. “He would have loved to see Ramones fans paying tribute to him. He always said Ramones fans are the best fans in the world”.
Ramoniacs of all ages waited patiently on winding lines that were consistently full for at least three (if not more) hours straight leading to the autograph booth where Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, producer, founding member and original drummer Tommy Ramone ("Leave Home", "Rocket to Russia" & more) and Ramones bassist circa 1989-1996 CJ Ramone ("Loco Live", "Adios Amigos" & more) were seated. The duo signed anything and everything at the fan’s requests, posed for pictures and provided up close and personal time to all, making every minute worth the wait it took to get to the front of the line.
“It is very gratifying to see Ramones fans gather together for events like this.” States founding member Tommy Ramone. “It gives us the opportunity to keep the Ramone legacy alive, and to share special times together.”
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Ramones drummer Marky Ramone ("Road to Ruin", "End of the Century" & more), could also be found signing autographs, posing for photos and holding court with fans near Johnny’s memorial statue.
A full-length Ramones concert was screened outdoors, after dark on a 24-foot mausoleum wall in a double feature with the controversial 1932 cult classic FREAKS. The concert, “Ramones Live at Provinssirock Finland”, was screened in its entirety for the first time since its original broadcast on European TV over twenty years ago.
Special guest, Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), appeared live and in-person to introduce the vintage performance and shared a personal memory about what went on behind the scenes that rainy night in Finland over two decades ago. Apparently the Chili Peppers (who were also on the bill of the 1988 Festival) decided to strip down naked and run across the stage during the song “Cretin Hop” in the Ramones set (which was televised live). The prank, intended to endear themselves to the Ramones, totally backfired. Johnny was furious and gave the Chili Peppers an earful after the show. Ironically, years later, Johnny & the Chili Peppers would become close friends.
Concluding the night was FREAKS one of Johnny Ramones’ top 10 horror film favorites of all time. FREAKS is highly relevant in Ramones culture having served as the inspiration for the classic song "Pinhead" (on the sophomore album “Leave Home"). The wedding cup scene in the film spawned the lyric "Gabba Gabba we accept you, one of us" (originally "Gooble Gobble" in the film) which mutated into the Ramones tag line "Gabba Gabba Hey”!
CJ Ramone comments: “I really had a great time at the Johnny Ramone Memorial. I love getting to hang out with the fans again and seeing Tommy and Marky Ramone. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. My favorite part was watching "Freaks". I hope to be able to come back next year and do it all again. Big thanks to Linda Ramone and John Cafiero who did a killer job of putting it all together.”
“I’ve never seen a cemetery so full of life.” states JRA commandant (and Osaka Popstar frontman) John Cafiero. “Its a testament to the power of Johnny and the Ramones. Through most of my life I never felt the Ramones got the props they truly deserved and it’s incredibly satisfying to see this come to pass as an adult. Times have finally caught up with them and now they’ll live forever. There’s never a shortage of Ramones fans and the world is full of Johnny Commandos.”
Indie 103 offered a live radio broadcast of the event hosted by Indie 103 morning man (and Vandals’ bassist) Joe Escalente. Escalante (a Ramones disciple himself) did a fantastic job hosting the live broadcast and capturing the spirit of the event on air. He reflects: “In all my years of doing remotes at Indie, the Johnny Ramone tribute was by far the most successful. From the stellar guests that came by the booth for a chat, to the crowd of listeners watching it all go down, to the beautiful surroundings, it ranks as one of the highlights of my radio career. Let's do it again!”
Click here for a streaming audio archive of the full LIVE RADIO BROADCAST hosted by Indie 103.1’s Joe Escalante. The nearly hour long block is commercial free and includes interviews with many of the guests and participants mentioned above, plus lots more including a healthy dose of Ramones classics scattered throughout the interviews. Click here for the playlist from the broadcast.
Below is the promotional ad for the event, listen to the original radio spots along with Johnny Ramone stories and memories from Henry Rollins, Rosanna Arquette, Rose McGowan, Slim Jim Phantom & artist Shepard Fairey that originally aired on Indie 103.1 the week leading into the Tribute event on Aug 1, 2008 in LA.