In his usual spirited fashion, Joey Ramone, former frontman of punk padres the
Ramones, is focusing some of his creative energy these days on arranging the
pop-punk-powered Intel New York Music Festival.
And that's no small feat.
Among other things, he sees this summer's event as a way to get out and have
a good time and swing some of the spotlight toward lesser-known acts who
deserve to be seen, if not recognized. But mostly, he sees it as a maniacal
musical celebration of sorts.
Ramone, who previously assembled bands for the Macintosh Festival -- the
precursor to the 2-year-old Intel Fest -- has now put together a bill that features
REO Speedealer, the Independents, the Pristeens, the Dictators,
Ronnie Spector and a secret
surprise guest for the festival that runs from July 15-18.
"I wanted to do it to have some fun and also to put together a great bill of my
personal favorite bands," Ramone said, adding that he also wanted to provide
some exposure for his friends in the horror-ska band the Independents and his
hero Ronnie Spector, formerly of the R&B act the Ronettes, who he just helped
ink a deal with Creation Records (Oasis, Primal Scream). "I think making the
Internet a part of the festival and sending this stuff out live is really cool."
A selection of popular New York clubs such as CBGB's, Coney Island High and
the Mercury Lounge will play host to the festival -- including performances by
Ramone, Mike Watt, Modest Mouse, Victoria Williams, Jesus Jones, the reunited Sunny Day Real Estate, Jesus and Mary Chain, James
Taylor Quartet and Philadelphia psychedelia act Bardo Pond -- which will be
cybercast at www.intelfest.com, a site that will feature behind-the-scene photos
and interviews with participating artists.
Festival co-executive producer Andrew Rasiej emphasized the advantages of
carrying the event online and predicted a large Internet turnout.
"Technology is getting successful enough that interactivity is getting to a point
where it feels like you are participating in an event," Rasiej said. "Fans will be
able to chat online with each other and with the RealVideo and RealAudio
[technology] go from club to club," he said, referring to state-of-the-art computer
programs that allow Internet users to see and listen to bands online.
"Technology is creating a situation to empower fans to see some of the hottest
Planners for the festival actively sought to create a healthy blend of alternative
music, oldies and world music to develop a lineup with broad appeal, he added.
Additional bands confirmed for the Intel New York Music Festival include: D
Generation and 22Jacks, as well as the Deep Elm Showcase featuring Apple
Seed Cast, Brandtson, Camber and Pop Unknown.
"We wanted to create as eclectic a mix as possible," Rasiej said. "Just like every
club in New York has its own look and feel. We decided to create a balance. But
it's not always easy to create a balance, sometimes it takes a lot of arm twisting
and begging to create illustrious bills."
Michael Gibbons, guitarist for Bardo Pond, said his outfit enjoys playing
festivals, including the recent Terrastock festival in San Francisco, which
featured a collection of psychedelic underground pop acts performing under
He expects this festival to offer something of its own.
"We always groove to play festivals," said Gibbons, 29. "It's pretty exciting,
especially since Joey Ramone and Jesus and Mary Chain are going to be
playing. There's a good amount of enthusiasm and definitely a lot of people.
With all the good bands, you can just slip out and see someone else."