The inside story on Joey Ramone
In "I Slept With Joey Ramone," Mickey Leigh, Joey Ramone's little brother, tells the story of the punk rock star as no one else could. From our review, in today's pages:
"I Slept With Joey Ramone" combines a close-up look at Joey with an authoritative history of the band. Signed to Sire Records, the Ramones never had a breakthrough radio hit, yet now they're heard on radio all the time. Johnny's influence waned as Joey's rose, but the band remained remarkably consistent all the same.
This was a blessing and a curse: Depending on when you came in, the Ramones were either the raw 1-2-3-4 of street punk or tired, uninteresting punk goonery. Regardless, history has been kind to their legacy, burnishing their early records while brushing away the self-rehashes.
Leigh, a musician who never had Joey's luck, has learned how to wield a pen. In the book, he goes back to their childhood, showing the trouble Joey (then known as Jeff) had with bullies at school and revealing his severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He knows the music, too, and was on the scene -- he gets some help from Legs McNeil, a master of interviewing surviving punk rockers.
Full disclosure: It was me who wrote the review. The one thing I couldn't put in it is what made Joey Ramone so interesting in the first place -- but that's what the Internet is for. Above, he fronts the Ramones performing "Teenage Lobotomy."
-- Carolyn Kellogg