Saturday, September 25, 2004

 

Henry Rollins on the Passing of Johnny Ramone

From an e-mail that's going around:

As you probably know by now, Johnny Ramone (the guitar player of the one
and only Ramones) died last week on September 15th. From what I have read and
heard, he died in his sleep, surrounded by friends and family. About a week
before he passed away, I was over at Johnny's house visiting with him and his
wife Linda. It was hard to see Johnny Ramone with his hair short and gray. He
was thin and in pain. We talked about a lot of stuff: the upcoming Ramone's
tribute show, his health, film, music, and the times we played together. I told
him about the time the movie Rock & Roll High School played at the Ontario
Theater and how the Ramones walked through the theater right before the lights
went down and pretty much the whole place emptied into the lobby. He asked me if
I had seen the Ramones documentary, End of the Century (I had not seen it but
had heard amazing things about it). He told me he had a copy of the final edit
and if I wanted to, we could check it out. So we did. We sat there and watched
the whole thing. It was great and it meant a lot to watch it with him. It was
heavy to watch him watch himself and I wondered what he was thinking. After the
film was over, we talked awhile longer but it was late and Johnny was tired so
it was time for me to leave. He said to come by any time and I said how about
next week. We made plans to watch a movie and I told him I would call. I put my
hand on his arm and said, "I'll see you soon, young man", and then Linda walked
me out and I went home. That's the last time I ever saw him. I did call him a
few days after our visit to see when was a good time to come over again and he
said that he had people coming by for the next few days. Since I had to go east
to do some shows I told him I would call him after the show on Sunday and we
would set something up. That was the last time I spoke to him. On the day he
died, I was about to call him when I got the call that he had passed away. It
may sound lame, but it felt good to have the chance to personally thank him for
how The Ramones influenced a lot of bands and reached more people than anyone
could imagine. He was very humble about it all.The Ramones 30th Anniversary
Tribute happened on September 12 at the Avalon in Los Angeles. The Red Hot Chili
Peppers, The Dickies and X played great sets and then CJ Ramone, Marky Ramone
and long time producer Daniel Ray took the stage and played while different
guitar and vocal teams came out and did Ramones songs. Tim Armstrong, Danny
Bosstone, Brett Bad Religion, Eddie Vedder--everybody sang and played great. I
went onstage with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and we did Judy is a Punk,
Commando and Blitzkrieg Bop. It was a rush and over before I knew it. I was
standing on the side of the stage catching my breath and Jones said that it was
too bad we didn't have another five songs because we were just getting into it.
I got to meet Tommy Ramone backstage, he's the only Ramone I hadn't met yet,
that was so cool. The evening's host, Rob Zombie, an extremely good guy, called
Johnny on his cell phone from the stage and we all cheered as he held up the
phone so Johnny knew we were there for him. When CJ and company went back
onstage to do Pinhead I figured it was my time to get out before the parking lot
was full of people. I slipped out the side exit and was back in my room minutes
later, still sweating. What a night. I'm glad that Johnny knew the show went
down and that it was a success. I believe that Johnny he was holding on for the
show and once it happened, he let go. What a man, what a band.


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