Bands, Fans To Celebrate Joey Ramone’s 50th Birthday

Late Ramones singer's mother, brother organizing bash next month in New York.

Joey Ramone’s mother promised her son a 50th birthday party and he is going to get one.

On May 19 — what would have been the punk-rock icon’s big day — family, friends, fans and, of course, other bands will honor the late Ramones singer at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.

“In the weeks prior to his death, we often talked about his upcoming 50th birthday, and Mickey [Leigh, Ramone's brother] and I promised Joey that for this very special day, we would throw the best and biggest birthday bash he ever had,” Charlotte Lesher, Ramone’s mother, said in a statement. “He is going to have that party. It will be a celebration of his life and music and it’s gonna be a gas.”
Lesher and promoters aren’t saying yet who’ll perform at “Life’s a Gas — Joey Ramone’s Birthday Bash,” although they’re promising major acts. A spokesperson for the event said Lesher and Leigh want fans to show up to honor Joey, not just to see the special guests.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. birthday tribute show go on sale Monday (April 30) for $15. More information is available by calling (212) 582-0275.

Another Joey Ramone tribute, described by Leigh as a “punk-rock memorial,” is scheduled for Monday. “Remembering Joey — A Brother’s Tribute” will be held at CBGB, the legendary New York club where the Ramones helped invent punk rock in the mid-1970s.

Leigh will host the event and will perform four of his favorite songs written by Joey — “I Remember You,” “I Want You Around,” “Danny Says” and “Questioningly.” His band will include longtime Ramones producer Daniel Rey, Dictators guitarist and recent Joey Ramone collaborator Andy (a.k.a. Adny) Shernoff, and drummer Pat Carpenter, from Leigh’s band, Stop. The Stitches, a New York punk band, will also perform a few Ramones songs, Leigh said.

“It’s going to be very unstructured,” he said. “It’s going to be an extension of the funeral — a rock and roll version of that. We’ll be drinking and playing music and telling stories. Friends can get up and talk about Joey. It’s more for the locals.”
Among the people expected to attend are Blondie singer Deborah Harry, Joan Jett, Dictators singer Handsome Dick Manitoba, Plasmatics guitarist Richie Stotts, Dead Boys bassist Jeff Magnum and Furious George singer George Tabb.

“Remembering Joey” is scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday. Admission is free.

Ramone, whose music and style influenced bands from the Sex Pistols to Green Day, died on Easter Sunday after a seven-year fight with lymphatic cancer (see “Punk Pioneer Joey Ramone Dead At 49″ , “Joey Ramone Laid To Rest” ).

Lesher has asked that anyone who wishes to make donations send checks “In Memory of Jeff Hyman” to: New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, 525 East 68th Street, Box 123, New York, NY 10021.