Too tough to die

Richie Ramone brings back his own blitzkrieg to Bob’s

by Gary Spencer

Unless you’ve been cryogenically frozen like Han Solo or live under a rock, then you know who the Ramones are—NYC’s godfathers of punk, the band that changed the landscape of rock music when they released their eponymously-titled debut album in 1976 and went on to become one of the most influential bands in American music history. When you hear the count off “one, two, three, four!” and hear their signature buzz saw three-chord attack, you know you’re listening to the Ramones. Any band playing punk rock since then owes a debt to the Ramones, and it’s not often that a member of a band with such legendary stature rolls through the Gem City. But such a rare occasion is about to go down Sunday, when Richie Ramone performs at Blind Bob’s in downtown Dayton.

Ramone was born Richard Reinhardt in Passaic, New Jersey. According to Ramone, he grew up in a musically oriented household where he was inspired to pick up playing the drums.

“My parents made everyone learn a musical instrument,” he explains. “I took drum lessons at a young age and even studied with Joe Morello for a short time.”

But soon Ramone was lured to New York City, and there he discovered the hard and fast sounds of the burgeoning NYC punk movement that had been underway.

“I was too young for the original punk movement, but when I moved to NYC in 1979, that’s when I went off the rails,” Ramone says. “I started listening to the Cro-Mags and Motorhead, to name a few. That hard, aggressive sound inspired me.”

A few fateful years later, opportunity knocked for Ramone when he was offered a once in a lifetime chance to join the Ramones at the height of the band’s popularity.

“I was hanging at the Shirts house in Brooklyn and Little Matt said he had to go to the city,” Ramone explains. “He was a roadie for the Ramones and he said they were auditioning drummers. I asked if he could put my name in the hat, and the following week I got a call from Monte, their tour manager. I went to the audition and eventually won the prize—being in the right place at the right time worked for me.”

Richie would go on to record the albums Too Tough to Die, Animal Boy, and Halfway to Sanity with the Ramones, all of which featured several self-penned original songs including one of the band’s most enduring hits, “Somebody Put Something in My Drink.” Richie would go on to perform more than 500 concerts with the Ramones all over the globe until his departure from the band in 1987.

“I was in one of the greatest rock bands of all time,” Ramone says. “All of a sudden I was touring the world and doing what I worked hard for since the age of six. It was one of the greatest times of my life.”

After leaving the Ramones, Richie moved to L.A. and played with some bands but stopped after a few years due to burnout. Yet, another chance opportunity related to the Ramones came about some time later that altered Richie’s career once again.

“Joey’s brother invited me to the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash and that got my juices flowing,” Ramone says. “I started writing again. I was playing some stuff for friends in my studio and they said you should make a record. I got a deal with DC Jam Records and was on my way.”

Richie released his first solo album, Entitled, for DC Jam Records in 2013, consisting of songs that would have fit in perfectly with the songs he wrote and played on doing his tenure with the Ramones, full of chugging guitars, fast but simple rhythms, catchy riffs, and thoughtful yet straight to the point lyrics. Richie sees the music he’s making now a bit differently than when he was a Ramone.

“I think I grew as a singer and songwriter,” Ramone says. “It is more singer friendly, and the lyrics relate to everyone.”

He is now on tour in support of his second album, Cellophane, which will be available for purchase at the show at Blind Bob’s Sunday in advance of its official release in August. Richie promises it’ll be a fun and memorable occasion for fans of his work with the Ramones and of punk rock in general.

“I think I played in Dayton with the Ramones but never with my band,” Ramone says. “I come out right after the show to take pics, sign anything, and talk to everyone. I play songs from my albums, stuff I wrote for the Ramones, as well as a bunch of classic Ramones material. It all meshes nicely and makes for a wild night. I expect everyone to leave sweaty and tell their friends what they missed.”

Richie Ramone will perform Sunday, July 3, at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. Duderus, Jasper the Colossal, Aurelius, White Outs, and The Raging Nathans are also on the bill. Tickets are $12 in advance. Show is open to attendees 21 and over and begins at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit blindbobs.com.

Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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