Posthumous Joey Ramone album due May 22; live performance set
Punk rock has nothing if not a strong sense of the absurd, and Saturday will bring yet another example with the annual birthday bash honoring punk founding father Joey Ramone. It will include a live performance of a new album by a rocker who’s been dead for 11 years.
It’s no gag, though. The new album, “… ya know?” and scheduled for May 22 release, consists of tracks left incomplete when Ramone, born Jeffry Hyman, died in 2001 of lymphoma. Ramone’s brother, Mickey Leigh, used demos and other unreleased recordings his brother made and completed the tracks with assistance from various friends and admirers including Joan Jett, E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt (who has written the liner notes), Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos, Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye and Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken.
"Over the past eight years, I've been getting a barrage of emails and Facebook messages from Joey's fans, wanting to know when this album would be coming out,” Leigh said in a statement issued Tuesday. “So having it finally become a reality gives me a feeling of triumph -- not for me, but for my brother, and for his fans. And there's not the slightest doubt in my mind that people are gonna be blown away by it."
At Saturday’s 12th Joey Ramone birthday celebration in New York, Leigh will be joined in performing the album in its entirety by many of those who played on "... ya know?" including Jean Beauvoir, Richie Stotts, Ed Stasium, Amy Hartman, Al Maddy and JP “Thunderbolt” Patterson. Tommy Ramone, the sole surviving original member of the group, is slated to be among those making guest appearances along with David Peel, Joey Lanz and others. Additional performers for the show will include the Threads, the Brats, the Indecent, Ivan Julian and the Bullys. The event will be held at the Studio at Webster Hall.
Tickets are $40 and proceeds go to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo of Dee Dee, Tommy, Joey and Johnny Ramone courtesy of Roberta Bayley.