Joey Ramone Punks Up Intel Music Fest

Former Ramones frontman recruits everyone from the Dictators to Ronnie Spector to perform at the New York event.

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, 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

talent perform."

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

one roof.

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."