NEW YORK -- When Joey Ramone stepped on the stage with Nada Surf to do a
cover song by Iggy Pop and The Stooges Wednesday night, Iggy himself would have
reveled in the moment.
Just the sight of the three young boys of Nada Surf, dwarfed in size by the
towering Ramone, whose face was barely visible by his trademark rose-colored
glasses and a shroud of black, heavy shoulder-length hair, was a moment of
pure rock bliss.
"I asked Nada Surf what Ramones tunes they wanted to play," the lead Ramone
told the audience who had crowded into Coney Island High for the concert held in
honor of '70s rock legend Pop known for his misfit antics as well as his
musical influence on punk and grunge. "They picked some obscure ones," he said
dryly, "Here's 'I Want To Be Sedated.' "
Mayhem ensued and the dancing didn't stop as Ramone and Nada Surf rolled out
classics such as "Judy Is A Punk," "Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?" "My
Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg)" and "Teenage Lobotomy."
Without forgetting, of course, that the night's performance was a tribute to
Pop, part of the promotion for the various artists' compilation We Will
Fall: The Iggy Pop Tribute, Ramone and the three fresh-faced boys from
New York City played a rousing version of the Stooges classic "1969."
"Iggy Pop and the Stooges were nominated to the Rock And Roll Hall
of Fame today," Ramone told the audience who screamed and clapped wildly.
Dressed in black jeans and a black T-shirt, Ramone's presence on the stage was
awe-inspiring, both for his musical reputation as one of the original punk
rockers and his sheer physical size.
The energy from having new, young musicians paired with rock
legends such as Ramone was infectious to say the least, for the bands as well
as the crowd. Nada Surf bassist Daniel Lorca and lead singer and guitar player
Matthew Caws ambitiously played and hopped around the stage, while the gangly
Ramone, standing at center stage, stammered and nodded his head. Even drummer
Ira Elliot, obscured by bad lighting and his drumset, ran out to the front of
the stage to garner some attention.
The "No Dancing" sign on the club's wall served little purpose as the audience
moved with blind enthusiasm.
The show also included Iggy-inspired performances by Bush Tetras, who turned
out a superb and mournful version of "Sister Midnight." Other original songs
by the all-girl punk band included "Heart Attack," "Flowers" and "Satan."
But it wasn't only the musicians who seemed to be in Iggy-like moods as the 200
or so black-wearing, pierced, a bit dazed and tattooed audience members filled
the East Village Club with a pure Pop-infected energy. While Broadway's Tower
Records, in a CD signing promotion earlier that day, had given away free passes
to the show, there was no evidence of a non-fan, tourist contingent in the
And Joey Ramone wasn't the only guest to appear on stage next to Nada
Superdrag's Tom Pappas sang a rousing version of Iggy's "1970," one
of the highlights of the Ramone-less Nada set, which included seven songs off
their Ric Ocasek-produced Hi/Lo album. New songs "Firecracker" and
"Bacardi" were showcased, as well as Nada Surf's MTV pick "Popular," which
singer Caws abridged by commenting that he hoped people weren't taking the
After the show, Caws spoke about playing beside, or more accurately, below Ramone.
"We practiced two weeks ago, and a couple of days ago," said an
exhausted and exhilarated Caws, before taking a well-deserved seat
on the staircase to catch his breath.
Apparently, the whole thing was a bit overwhelming. [Thurs., Sept. 18, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]