Just when it appeared the Ramones tribute album We’re a Happy Family
was nearing completion, a few more artists have signed on for the project.
Garbage and Kiss approached Happy Family co-producer Rob Zombie after
Dee Dee Ramone, the group’s founding bassist, died earlier this month (see
” ‘Dee Dee Ramone Was Punk Rock’ To
Friends, Fans” ). Before that, Metallica were the only holdouts,
remaining undecided on which of four tracks they would hand over (see “Rob Zombie’s Ramones Tribute LP Just Waiting
For Metallica” ).
Joining previously reported contributors Eddie Vedder, Red Hot Chili
Peppers, Marilyn Manson and U2, Garbage will lend a version of the boredom
anthem “I Just Want to Have Something to Do,” and Kiss will record an
as-yet-undetermined track next week. Zombie said he thinks his
theatrical-rock inspirations will cover either “Rock & Roll High School” or
“Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio?” With either of those, Zombie said he’d
have hit all the classics.
“The scope of the Ramones record has really grown,” he said. “We always
wanted it to be really special, but it turned into these superstars wanting
to get on the record, which is fine. I mean, that’s really the point we
wanted to prove — these huge megabands were influenced by the Ramones.
I think Kurt Loder said at one point when Joey died [last year], ‘You can’t
judge the value of a band by record sales.’ ”
Zombie added that horror novelist/Ramones fan Stephen King has agreed to
write the liner notes for We’re a Happy Family, which carries a
September 17 street date, according to his manager.
Although he said he had enough interest from the music community to make the
LP a double album, to pay proper homage to the punk progenitors, only the
cream of the crop will make the final cut.
“We don’t want to just throw a song on there just because someone did it,”
he explained. “We want it to be good, ’cause a lot of times people treat
tribute records like, ‘Uh, yeah, I’ll whip up a demo for that on my weekend
and just stick it on there,’ but that’s not what we want. We want people to
take it seriously and really care how it sounds. And now with Dee Dee
passing away, it’s more important than ever to just really get it done.”
As for Zombie’s contribution, he has recorded a version of the Ramones
staple “Blitzkrieg Bop,” though passed through his interpretive sieve, the
rally cry “Hey! Ho! Let’s go!” might be the only thing recognizable to some.
“I recorded it two ways,” he said. “At first I recorded it kind of
faithfully, and then I realized that was pointless, because when you hear
someone recorded a song faithfully, you go, ‘I don’t wanna listen to this
crap, I’ll just listen to the original.’ So really it’s been more [about]
deconstructing the songs and making them sound like something else, ’cause
even when I played it for [the tribute's other co-producer,] Johnny Ramone,
he was like, ‘Wow, I never could have imagined you could have twisted it
around like that.’ ”
Zombie will rock Ozzfest beginning July 6, but first he’ll give radio
stations “Demon Speeding,” the third single from The Sinister Urge,
on June 25.