Joey Ramone
By Joseph A. Rosen
Celebrating what would have been the 56th birthday of punk-icon JOEY RAMONE, details for the yearly JOEY RAMONE BIRTHDAY BASH have now been announced. The 7th annual Bash will take place Saturday, May 19 in New York at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza. As in past years, tickets to the event were entirely sold out even before the line-up was announced. Now Mickey Leigh – event organizer and brother of Joey Ramone – can announce that in addition to a full roster of superstar artists, the evening will include a full set by rock and roll legends The New York Dolls.

Leigh knows RAMONE would have been excited that the Dolls are included in this year’s bash because, “Joey used to play the first Dolls album so much that the grooves eventually wore out on the vinyl, creating new arrangements to the songs, but he kept playing it anyway.” Leigh adds “The New York Dolls’ influence on the Ramones is well documented, and a nod is given to them in just about every interview the Ramones did regarding the band’s formative years.”

RAMONE, who passed away in April of 2001 after a seven-year battle with lymphoma, had a history of encouraging up-and-coming bands in New York’s downtown music scene by showcasing them at his special “Joey Ramone Presents…” events. Since his passing, his mother Charlotte Lesher and Leigh have carried on the tradition “by keeping everyone that was close to Joey, including his fans, occupied and positive on what would otherwise be a sad, somber day.”

This year’s celebration also includes the world debut of Slinky Vagabond, a new band featuring the combined talents of former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, Blondie’s Clem Burke, David Bowie touring band member Earl Slick and Keanan Duffty. Retro-1960’s garage band The Chesterfield Kings and NYC punk-rockers The Bullys are also featured in the lineup, as well as the return of Tyler Fyre’s Lucky Daredevil Thrillshow, and a sneak peek at film footage from the forthcoming Ramones Double Live DVD, slated for release in August 2007. This year’s event will be MC’d by Little Steven Van Zandt and Matt Pinfield.

The evening will conclude with The Friends of Joey All-Star Jam featuring rare live appearances by original drummer Tommy Ramone and the first reemergence of Elvis Ramone, since he left the band in 1987. Joining them on stage will be Queercore inspiration and punk rock pioneer Jayne County, Walter Lure, The Dictators’ Andy Shernoff and J.P. “Thunderbolt” Patterson, Furious George’s George Tabb, Willie Nile, Richie Stotts of the Plasmatics, Al Maddy, Walt Stack, Tish & Snooky, longtime group producer “Fifth Ramone” Ed Stasium and Mickey Leigh. As always, Sean O’Sullivan’s Punk Pipers will round out the night on the bagpipes. Additional unannounced surprise guests are expected to join in. This year’s Bash is being sponsored by Trash and Vaudeville, Tripp NYC, The Village Voice, (Thirsty magazine), Manic Panic, NY WASTE, and Creative Bubble.

A raffle will be held at this year’s event to raise money for The Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research. The raffle tickets are priced at $2 per ticket and will be available night of show (May 19) at the venue, as well as at the following locations (between May 11 – 17): Trash and Vaudeville (4 St. Marks Place NYC – check store hours); Niagara (112 Ave. A @ 7th St. NYC 4pm-4am); 2A (25 Ave. A between 1st & 2nd Sts. 4pm-4am); Continental (25 Third Ave. nr. St. Marks Place 4pm-4am). The raffle drawing will be held at the Bash, with the Grand Prize a T-shirt from JOEY RAMONE’s own collection, and second prize five CDs from RAMONE’s own collection. Additional locations and raffle information can be found at