Joey Ramones' Road Report: Hangin' With Eddie

Addicted To Noise special correspondent Joey Ramones reports: Two years ago

there was this big show at Carnegie Hall. It was a tribute to the music of

Pete Townshend sung by Roger Daltry, and was billed as taking place on Roger

Daltry's birthday. As a big Who fan, I wanted to go, but when I heard Four

Non Blondes and the Spin Doctors were playing and there was no guest list and

a pair of tickets was $600, I said "Fuck that!" To my surprise, my friend

the filmmaker/video director extraordinaire George Seminara, (Ramones, Snow,

King Missile, etc.) called me up and asked if I wanted to be his date for the

Daltry show, and I said, "Yeah, great."

It was a torrential rainy night, we went in, and sat upstairs surrounded by

Roger Daltry's new record label. It was a real sleeper-- literally. The high

points of the evening were definitely Eddie Vedder, who came out with an

electric guitar and sang three Who songs by himself, Pete Townshend, who

played two songs without Daltry, and Alice Cooper singing "I'm A Boy,"

which was pretty funny. The Chieftains were really cool too. When the show

was over George woke me up to go to the private birthday party for Daltry at

the La Bar Bat on W. 57th Street.

The party was in a private room in the back of the club. Very exclusive. We

were in the hoi polloi section. Daltry came in and I gave him a copy of

Acid Eaters, for his birthday, with a birthday message inside. Then

Eddie Vedder walked in with all the paparazzi trailing after him. When Roger

Daltry saw the paparazzi, he went over and put his arm around Eddie to make

it look like they were buddy-buddy--everything that Eddie hates. So Eddie

grabbed me and pulled into the picture as well, which made me feel good.

After the smoke cleared, he came and sat down next to me. I didn't know what

to expect because you hear a lot of shit, but actually he's a real nice guy.

I was pleasantly surprised, he's down to earth, grounded, and a real rock

and roll fan. A real Who fan, he got wangled into performing this night . He

was telling me this story about his first time in New York City. It was

winter and being a surfer, it reminded him of this song--he couldn't think

of the title. I said "New York's A Lonely Town " by the Tradewinds. He said,

"Yeah, that's it. "So on my way to Phoenix , Arizona for our shows with

Pearl Jam (earlier this month), I decided to surprise him with a little

gift, I figured it would kind of give him a kick.

I called my editor, Jaan Uhelszki about locating the original vinyl single.

She tracked down Jonathan L., the columnist for Album Network and

former program director for KUKQ in Phoenix, who knows everything about

vinyl--and what he doesn't know his friend Johnnie B., (KUKQ) would.

(What's with all these initials?) Johnnie suggested that Jaan get in touch

with a store called Prickly Pair and ask for a woman named Lorraine. When

Jaan called Lorraine, she was told that they had two copies --one was six

dollars and the other was four dollars and the six dollars one was in better

shape than the four dollars one. What a surprise. She told Jaan she would

hold them for me.

Problem was, I didn't have any wheels. So I suggested that if maybe somebody

could run them over, I'd get them into the show. Lorraine said these two guys

who were brothers were going to come over to my hotel with it, and all they

wanted was an autograph. They came over, they really were brothers, they were

real nice guys, and were all excited. Lorraine and her husband wanted me to

sign the other single for the record store. I signed their shirts, and got

them tickets to the show, and I signed the record, " to Lorraine and Roger

at the Prickly Pair." The record was the original 45 vinyl single, on the Red

Bird label. The real deal. They didn't charge me for the record, which

flipped me out.

Everything was going real nice so far. The Embassy Suite, the hotel that we

were staying at was really pretty, it was like a rain forest. It wasn't that

it looked so much like a rain forest , but it had that quality. It was

totally relaxing, with a pool and a hot tub that looked like it was

naturally made. When we arrived they were having a record breaking heat wave.

It had been 106 degrees earlier but when we got there it was only 104

degrees. Shira Wild stopped by the hotel; she's the president of the

Arizona chapter of the Ramones fan club. A long time fanatic . She was cool.

We then we drove to the venue, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum for our 5:00

PM sound check. All the Pearl Jam crew and techs were really great. They

gave us everything we wanted, it wasn't like we were just an opening act. It

wasn't billed that way either, we were billed as "The Special Guest Stars."

They made us feel totally welcomed. Years ago, in the early 80's we played

the same venue with the Kinks who pretty much screwed us.

On stage Pearl Jam and crew had all kinds of ceremonial objects. They had

some stuffed cows, and big brass urns which were later lit, and burned

through-out the show. The cows were noticeable, but only noticeable if you

were doing a soundcheck. That was the basis of their stage-lighting. Their

stage show is so low key, but it's very cool. The fires were burning on top

of the amplifiers, like an eternal flame. And at the tech's stations were

candles, and more urns which were also lit. I guess this stuff makes them

feel comfortable. It seems like a personal comfort thing, like putting dice

on the dashboard. I was going to ask Eddie about them, but then I thought

maybe they're like sacred cows.

Eddie came over and was real warm and friendly. Really himself, no

bullshit, no airs, no crap. So I said, "I got a gift for you." I told him I

remembered the story he told me at the Daltry party , and I gave him the

single. He was real touched that I remembered the incident. He said that

having the Ramones opening up for Pearl Jam was a little strange for them.

Implying that it should be the other way around, and that having us on the

show was "gracing them." I told him that we really appreciated them asking us

on. And both John and I told him that they were the first band of that

magnitude to ask us to be on their shows. He told John that it was a "dubious

honor" to have us on the show, and being such a big Ramones fan, it would

take some getting used to.

Eddie was saying he wants to lay low, do some recording when Pearl Jam

finishes these dates. He said he's going to stay in New Orleans, there's a

studio there where he's gonna do some work. John went over to Eddie and

immediately starting to talk to him about baseball, Eddie's into baseball

too. As I walked into the cafeteria, Jack Irons, Pearl Jam drummer, and

former member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, walked out wearing a striped

bathrobe. He was real cool and genuinely happy to have us play. We ate

dinner. I had a very tasty fettucine alfredo, vegetables and peanut butter

pie that was toooo good. Grabbed a cup of coffee, and started warming up for

the show. We were going on 7:30. It was sold out in advance; in front of the

stage there was a pit, and it was mobbed. The fans were packed in so tightly

there wasn't even any room to move. As we were walking on stage John

mentioned, "Even if they hate us, they can't leave."

(To be continued....)