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Aug 24th 2004

ramones documentaries: choose wisely

ramones.jpg

the ramones are one of the greatest bands of all time and a group whose sound and style influenced a generation. they’re also the subject of two documentaries coming out this fall. one, ‘End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones’ is described by one ramone thus:

“It left me disturbed as I was watching it. I’m basically portrayed as a tyrannical monster, Dee Dee is on drugs, and Joey is an alcoholic and a drug addict at various times.” –johnny ramone (note that he also calls it ‘accurate’) [link]

and another review says:

“End of the Century…tracks the Ramones� career arc – freefall might be a better word.” [link]

why would anyone want to watch this documentary? drug addictions, infighting, once-bright careers careening out of control…we already have the NBA for that!

instead, pick up the rockumentary that the ramones themselves are releasing. it promises to be more in-depth and upbeat (if you like that sort of thing).

The DVD’s main feature plays like a lighthearted scrapbook of the Ramones, with highlights of the band’s 20-year career. More than 20 songs, television and concert clips and videos are interspersed with footage of the band members enduring life on the road.

While the Ramones were as well known for their infighting as for their short blasts of rock fury, Marky’s footage belies that aspect of the band’s notoriety.

“You know, in order to fight and argue, you’ve got to be close,” Marky says.

ramones_homer.jpg

“All bands have their problems and conflicts, and there’s no denying that the Ramones had their share,” Cafiero adds. “But the raw footage, no pun intended, did not lie at all. There was no doubt about it that the band genuinely enjoyed themselves and had a good time.”

In all, more than five hours of Ramones material populates the disc, on which Marky and Johnny Ramone offer a running audio commentary on the main feature.

Other bonuses include television appearances, including several on the low-budget New Jersey-based “Uncle Floyd Show,” the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receipt of an MTV lifetime achievement award, 18 scenes deleted from the feature and a dozen hidden “Easter eggs” that fans will have to hunt through the disc’s menus to find.

But the prize bonus is “I Ramone,” a half-hour of concert footage captured in Rome in 1980, just after the release of the band’s Phil Spector-produced album, “End of the Century.” Shot on film, it laid forgotten in the vaults of an Italian television station for two decades after its one-time broadcast. [12 aug 2004, toronto star]

clearly, this documentary is going to kick the arse of that lame-sounding “end of the century” documentary. both of the movies are featured at the ramones’ website [link] but i’m serious–get “raw“, available september 28.

by the way, johnny ramone is an unabashed conservative. in punk rock, that’s pretty rare. seriously, the only ones of which i know are michael graves of the misfits, some dude from the vandals, and johnny ramone, who, “is perhaps the only Rock�n�Roll Hall of Fame inductee to accept with the words “God bless America and God bless President Bush”. [link]

other bands that rock [follow the links for free music and vids]:
bouncing souls
bad religion
green day [go to ‘video’ for free media]
ben kweller [go to ‘songs’ then ‘mp3’]
dressy bessy [no free stuff]

4 Responses to “ramones documentaries: choose wisely”

  1. rach

    http://www.digthemovie.com

    also worth checking out.

  2. john fowles

    I’m with you on BR (they’re one of my favorite groups), but I gave up on Greenday after Dookie.

  3. By the way, I’ve linked you over at a bird’s eye view.

  4. travis

    john, thanks for the link.

    if you liked green day’s early stuff, then try “shenanigans”, a compilation of unreleased material. a lot of it is early green day, and i found myself playing the CD over and over. i was very disappointed with “warning”, however. on that record, the band that i respected for being full of energy and catchy riffs sounded old, tired, and washed up. we’ll see what happens with “american idiot”. maybe it’ll be their springboard into politics?