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Joey Ramone’s New Record Report

Hanging with Professor Irwin Corey "The Worlds Foremost Authority", Marky Ramone and Joey Ramone

I’m in disguise on the left with Professor Irwin Corey “The Worlds Foremost Authority”, Marky Ramone and Joey Ramone

 

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!!

Viva Nashvegas!

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 !

Richie Teeter – 1951-2012

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.

The Reason Rally

Wow!!!…. The Reason Rally was downright inspirational, so many brilliant musicians, comedians and speakers. Tim Minchin and Eddie Izzard totally killed it. The sense of community was not dampened by the rain…… I’m so proud to have been a part of it…… plus my photo with Kevn Kinney who backed me up  was in Time Magazine and The Washington Post!

The Reason Rally

The Reason Rally

This coming Saturday, March 24th I will be appearing at the ‘Reason Rally’ on the National Mall in Washington D.C. along with Eddie Izzard, Bill Maher, Penn Gillette, Richard Dawkins, Bad Religion, Tim Minchin, and PZ Meyers. I am proud to have been asked to perform my songs at what is shaping up to be the largest secular event in world history.

This is a rally that supports issues that I am passionate about; a separation of church and state, stem cell research, access to contraception, skepticism, rational thinking, critical thinking and most importantly an end to superstition in the 21st century.In my lifetime I have seen a seismic shift in race relations and women’s rights. March 24th is the day for secular Americans to stand up a
nd be counted!

Tracking completed for new record

Tracking is done for the new record. I went to Springfield to record 4 songs but things went so well I ended up recording 7, including a tune I wrote while I was there. I was planning on an EP but it now seems as if a full length CD is more likely. I think these are some of the best songs I ever wrote but time will tell if that is true.

I have many personal issues to deal with over the next month but you can’t stop the rock!…. we start overdubs next week with Trica Scotti, Brian Hurd and a few guest stars!!!

January 9, 2012: I start recording tracks for a new CD this week. I wanted to record in Muscle Shoals with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section but my time machine isn’t working, so I chose the modern equivalent … Springfield, Missouri and The Skeletons. These guys – Lou Whitney, Donnie Thompson, Joe Terry and Bobby Lloyd Hicks – are superlative musicians and have been playing together for decades. They’ve toured and recorded with Dave Alvin, Steve Forbert, Jonathan Richmond, Scott Kempner, Syd Straw and even Bo Diddley. They know how to bring out the best in a song as only experienced players can do.

I’ll report later on as things progress….. meanwhile wish this heathen luck in the heartland.

Recording starts this week with The Skeletons

I start recording tracks for a new CD this week. I wanted to record in Muscle Shoals with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section but my time machine isn’t working, so I chose the modern equivalent … Springfield, Missouri and The Skeletons. These guys – Lou Whitney, Donnie Thompson, Joe Terry and Bobby Lloyd Hicks – are superlative musicians and have been playing together for decades. They’ve toured and recorded with Dave Alvin, Steve Forbert, Jonathan Richmond, Scott Kempner, Syd Straw and even Bo Diddley. They know how to bring out the best in a song as only experienced players can do.

I’ll report later on as things progress….. meanwhile wish this heathen luck in the heartland.