I: Until 1983, is thatright?
I: Whenwouldthat --
R: Springof 1983. I thinkitwas March or April whenwe finallybroke up.
I: How didyouguys firstmeet?
R: You meanwashe one of my clients?
I: No,just -- Was he?
R: (laughs) No,noIwasn't doing -- uh,I methim-- I waslivinginthe East Village,thiswouldbe early
1974. I knewa lotof musiciansandactors and artistsand people likethat -- um-- andI usedto hang out
at Max's Kansas Cityquite abit.So [these guysI knew] hada band. Sortof an experimental group.Kind
of like aZappa-type thing,kindajazzrock.Andtheyusedtorehearse atthisplace Performance Studio
I: That was Tommyand Monte's place.
I: On 20th Street?
R: Yeah,20, 21st -- no,20th. East 20th street.NearMax's.Anyway,sothese guyswouldrehearse there.
One day Tommysaysto them,you know,yououghttacome downon Saturdaynight,some friendsof
mine are gonna be playing,it'stheirfirstshow.Andthatwasthe firsttime the Ramonesplayedout.
I: That was theirfirstshowever?
R: Yeah.It wasMarch 30, 1974. It wasa Saturdaynight.I rememberbecause mybirthdaywasthe week
before andthese guyswantedtotake me out.
I: What made you go to the show?You didn'tknow themyet,didyou?
R: No,itwas these guyswhorehearsedatthe Performance Studio.Ijusthappenedtorunintothemand
theywere like,Hey,weren'twe supposedtotake youout foryour birthday?Well,we're gonnagosee
thisnewbandtonight,youwannacome?So I saidsure,whynot.
I: NowTommy wasn'tinthe bandyetat thatpoint,washe?
R: No,Tommywasn't eventhere thatnight.He wasout doingsoundforanotherband.He usedto work
as a soundmanback thenandhe wasout doingsoundfora guynamedBuzzyLinhart that night.
I: Damn. Howdo you knowthat?
R: I justrememberthat'swhathe said.I didn'tknow itat the time,he toldme laterthat's where he was
the nightof theirfirstshow.
I: Was Monte there?
R: Yeah,Monte was there.Runningsoundforthemandlaughinghisassoff.
I: Monte thoughttheywere funny?
R: Monte thoughttheysucked.Andtheykindadid,thatnight!
I: So whowas playingdrumsforthem?
R: Joeyplayeddrums.Dee Dee wassinging.Ithink -- Idon'tknow if thisis right,butI seemto remember
Dee Dee wasplayingthe guitar...itcouldabeen,'cause Johnstartedoutasa bass player.Ithinkmaybe
I: So it wasjustthe three of 'em -- Johnny,Dee Dee,andJoey?
I: What were theydressedlike?Were theywearingleatherjackets?
R: No,notat that point.Theyhadn'tgottenthat whole looktogetheryet.Lemme see...IwannasayJohn
was wearingsome kindof tightsilverspandex orlamé pants --
I: What? JohnnyRamone?!
R: Ohyeah,oh yeah -- he was intowiththe glitterthingfora longtime.He and Dee Dee had a friend
whowouldgo to Londonandbring thembackstuff fromGranny Takesa Trip,youknow,the psychedelic
boutique?Theyhadall kindsof crazystuff theywore!Soyeah,I thinkhe was wearingthose silverpants
and a jacketof some kindbutnot a motorcycle jacket.Some blackspandex thing.
I: Spandex -- Ican't evenimagine!
R: Yeah,well.He alsohada Granny TakesA Trip shoppingbaghe carriedhisguitar aroundin.He coulda
justas easilyusedabag fromAlexanders,buty'know...Johnwasveryfashionconscious!
I: And Dee Dee,doyourememberwhathe waswearing?
R: Hmm.Lemme think...he mightactuallyhave beenwearingaleatherjacket.ButI thinkitwas one of
those slimonestheywore inthe 70s.
I: The onesthatlookedlike blazers?
R: Notreallya blazer,butclose-fittedandstraight,withazipper.Andpatchwork...youknow?Like alot
of leatherpatchesall sewntogether.All one color,tho.Dark.
I: And Joey?
R: I don'trememberwhathe waswearingthatnight.Somethingblackandshinyprobably.He liked
wearingblack.Irememberhe fell over,though.He hadon hisdark glassesandI guesshe couldn'tsee
too well whenthe stage wasdarkand bam!He wentdown,man.It wasfunny.
I: How manypeople were there?The booksall saylike 30people...
R: That soundsaboutright.Notverymany.
I: Did youknowanybodyelse there?
R: Yeah,a couple of the Blondie people.Ithinkthisiswhentheywere still Angelandthe Snakes.
I: What kindof a place wasPerformance Studio?
R: It wasa nice place.It wasn'tpalatial butit wasgood,it was a reallygoodstudio.A lotof great bands
usedto rehearse there,like Blondie beforetheywere calledBlondie.Andthe Dollsjustbefore they
I: It was a rehearsal andperformance space?
I: What was itlike inside?Doyouremember?
R: Mm. Well...itwasonthe 2nd floor.I remembertheyhad thisoldelevatorthatwasreallysmall and
rickety.Youcame off the elevatorandthe entrance wasto the right.You go inthe doorand there'slike
a -- an office tothe right,and thentothe leftthere wasa hallway,shorthallway.Yougothru two
soundproof doors,thenyoucome intothisbigroomand the stage wasat the far end.Thatwas the
rehearsal roomandthe -- uh -- where live shows,where theydidlive shows.
I: How bigwas it?
R: It wasbig,like -- Idon't know,maybe 30 or 40 feetlongbyabout15 feetwide.Hadanoldwooden
floor.Uncovered.Dark,the wallswere wassome darkcolor,and theyhadcurtainson the walls,Iguess
for the sound.Theyhadlightsforthe stage.Andthere wasa couple of stepsleadinguptothe stage
fromthe front.That's where Joeyfelldown.Theydidn'thave abackstage areaso the band wouldjustgo
up these couple little stepsinfronttothe stage.
I: What do yourememberaboutthe Ramonesfirstshow?Itmust've beenamazing.
R: Well,uh-- I remembertheyweren'tverygood! (laughs)Actuallytheywere kindadrunk.Theywere so
nervousthattheyhad a couple of drinksbefore the show.Ithinkthatwas the lasttime that ever
I: Firstand last!
R: I thinksoyeah.Afterthattheyneverdrankor didany drugs before ashow,thatwas the rule,even
for Dee Dee.Johnwouldfine them!
R: Yeah!He'd take $25 out of theirpayif theywere late or if theyfuckedupinany way.Theynever
drank before ashow,ever.
I: I don't see howyoucouldpossiblygetthroughone of theirsetsfuckedup.
R: Exactly.Youcouldn't.But I have to say,that firstshow,besidesbeingdrunktheywere reallypretty
I: It's hard to imagine the Ramonesbeingbad --
R: There was,uh -- there wasalottaenergythere,youcouldtell theyreallywantedtobe good,butthey
justweren'tyet,theyweren'ttogetheratall.Theydidlike 5 or 6 songsand thenDee Dee fell backwards
intohisamp and broke it,and thatwas the endof the show!My jazz rock friendsthoughtitwaspretty
much a waste of time,butI dug it,I lovedit.There wassomething happening,youknow?Itwasn'tthe
usual thingyou'dsee back then,withbandstryingtobe reallyskillful and -- profound.This wasreally
different-- itwasreal.I thoughtit wasamazing.It wasn'tdull,that'sfor sure!
I: So howdidyou meetJohnny?Didyoutalkto himafterthe set?
R: Ohno. My friendsintroducedme toMonte afterthe show,he was reallynice andsaida lotof nice
thingsabouttheirgroup.Theyall thoughtof themselvesas"real musicians,"y'know.Andtheyall were
kindalaughingaboutthe Ramones,soIsaid Well Ireallylikedtheirset.We were all standingaroundand
thenthe,um -- the Ramonescame out and startedpackinguptheirstuff.ButI didn'ttry to talk to them
because theydidn'tseemlike theywere inthe moodtotalk!Theylookedalittle freakedoutathowit
didn'tgo so well,andJohninparticularwasprobably...
R: Well -- No.Disappointed.Youknow.He hadit inmindhow it wasgonna be and itwasn't like that.At
all!You know,the masterplankindagot derailedthereandI'msure he wasannoyedwithhimself.
Probablywonderingwhythe fuckhe hadlethimself drinkbefore he played.He hardlyeverdrankatall
at thispoint,that's the funnything -- he quitgettingfucked-upwhenhe was20. That was like 5years
before.Soforhimto be evenalittle outof iton such an important...I'msure he wasnothappywith
I: Did youtalkto themat all that night?
R: Well,Dee Dee came overat one point,he wasjustcuriousto know whatanybodythoughtwhohad
justseenthem.Buthe was also,like,he knew ithadn'treallygone verywell.SoIjusttoldhimI loved it
and I saidI thoughttheywere greatand I hopedIwouldsee themagainsoon,andhe said,"Yeah,when
aboutplayingandeverythingbuttheycareda lot, theytookit reallyseriously.Always.Theyhatedit
whentheyfuckedup.Johnusuallytookituponhimselftotell them, of course.Scoldthem.SmackDee
Dee inthe head.Justso nobodyeverfelttoogoodaboutanything!Evenif thingswentwell,he'dsti ll
findsomethingtobeatupon somebodyfor.PoorDee Dee!Johnwasalwayssmackinhim.Like akid
I: Like the Three Stooges.
R: (laughs) Withoutthe laughs,yeah.He trulywasMoe!
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