On May 22 the new Joey Ramone record, “… Ya Know”, will be released. It’s really a compilation of old demos with newly recorded backing tracks. Ed Stasium did a exceptional job framing Joey’s vocals with new instrumentation and it’s certainly a trip to hear Joey’s voice coming through the speakers again though there is a part of me that wishes people could hear the original raw demos.
I was honored to be asked to play bass on four of the tunes; New York City, 21st Century Girl, Cabin Fever and Eyes of Green. Through the magic of modern technology I was able to rock out with the great Bun E Carlos from Cheap Trick on Eyes Of Green without ever sharing the studio with him. I predict in a few years people will be able to make records even if they can’t play an instrument or sing in tune…. mark my words!!
The most special song for me is “Make Me Tremble”. I co-wrote it with Joey and played all the music. When Mickey (Joey’s brother) expressed interest in using it on the new record we were unable to find the original 8-track master tapes. I could only find the DAT copy that I kept as a rough mix. That is the version used on the album. No remixing or overdubbing, just this unembellished document of the 3 or 4 hours we spent in the studio. It’s a sweet, simple song documenting a different side of Joey.
May 19th IS JOEY’s BIRTHDAY…. PLAY MUSIC ALL DAY LONG TO CELEBRATE!!
I just got back from Nashville where I wrapped up a few mixes for my new record with Vance Powell. I met Vance many years ago when he was doing live sound for Dave Alvin. He’s since gone on to work with people like Tammy Wynette, Tom Jones, Wanda Jackson and record a few classics albums with Jack White, garnering three Grammy’s in the process…… hey Vance, don’t forget to mention me from the podium when you win the Grammy for this one, along with God of course.
This was probably the easiest mix in my xx years in the music business. Lou Whitney (who was also Vance’s mentor) did such a great job tracking that we were able to knock out mixes in 3 to 4 hours. That allowed us plenty of time to hunt down some Nashville BBQ …. and who knew Nashville had decent ethnic food? I tried Thai, Vietnamese and El Salvadorian cuisine while I was down there…. though I didn’t know Thai food came with biscuits and gravy !
When Richie Teeter joined the Dictators he was a few years older and already married, which instantly made him more mature than the group of nihilistic, knuckleheads that recorded ‘The Dictators Go Girl Crazy’. Suddenly we had a responsible guy who could keep a beat, sing like a bird and provide a solid foundation that never wavered.
When the music business snubbed our first album I was determined to write songs that would allow me entrance into their exclusive club… naively assuming I actually belonged there. Richie’s voice and rock-hard drumming upped our game and provided the sheen that enabled The Dictators to finally garner some radio play.
I wouldn’t say he totally embraced The Dictators lifestyle but we bonded over our intense love for all things music. Richie was way
more accepting than me, appreciated everything from anarchic British punk to wimpy pop to German prog-rock. His taste was so genuine and authentic that I wouldn’t even make fun of him when he listened to Genesis. He wasn’t concerned with trends; he just honestly loved an amazingly wide assortment of sounds.
My last communication with Richie was his request for a vinyl copy of the Dictators compilation “Everyday is Saturday. Unsurprisingly, he told me he had given up on CD’s and was only listening to music on vinyl. I knew he was going through treatments for esophageal cancer but his ‘gonna beat it’ attitude disguised the difficult stage he was really at.
Richie was quite possibly the nicest guy I ever met which makes it even more depressing to acknowledge that he is the first member of the expanded Dictators family to pass away. We beat the odds for so long but time’s relentless march takes no prisoners… it was great to know and play with you my friend, we won’t forget.