Richie Ramone - Entitled (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Richie Ramone

Entitled (2013)

DC Jam Records

With the passing of Tommy, all four of the original Ramones are gone. That hardly means we've heard the last from everyone's favorite cretins. There have been two Joey solo albums since his death. For years now, Marky and CJ have been playing Ramones sets. They have been both continuing and profiting from the band's legacy. 2013 marked the return of the prodigal Ramone, Richie, to claim his rightful place in the first family of punk.

As brilliant as the first three Ramones albums were, by the early 80's the band was running out of steam. While every record had a couple of classic songs, their attempts at pop success were miserable failures. When internal strife and substance abuse issues forced Marky out, Richie became the Ramones' third drummer. Johnny has been quoted as saying that Richie breathed new life into the band. Richie also wrote a couple of well known songs, most notably "Somebody Put Something In My Drink". Too Tough To Die was the first album that he played on, and it was a return to form for the band. They embraced their rough and tumble punk roots. They would stick to this path for the rest of their career, even after Marky returned a few years later.

With his first solo album, Richie is looking to reclaim his place in Ramones' history. He plays the drums, sings and wrote all the songs. Entitled is a well written, well performed and well produced collection of songs. It's as much hard rock as punk, but the songs have driving drums and memorable choruses. The title track is a statement about how Richie deserves to be recognized for his contribution to the Ramones. He also re—recorded three songs that he originally wrote fore the Ramones. "Smash You", "Humankind" and "I'm Not Jesus" are more modern sounding versions of songs that were perfect the first time around.

Richie's voice is a bit of an acquired taste, and probably the album's biggest shortcoming. It takes some getting used to, but it will grow on you. It has a bit of a waver to it. I can't tell if he's trying to emulate Joey's singing style, or if it's just his heavy New York affect. It's certainly got an abundance of NYC attitude. The album closes with another statement song, "Forgotten Years". It's as if the lost Ramone is serving notice that he will not go quietly.

I've always been loathe to embrace the various Ramones' solo projects, there is just no way any of them can live up to the bands lofty standards. If you're expecting another Leave Home , you will be disappointed. If you can accept this for what it is, it can be enjoyable. I have come around to appreciate the surviving Ramones.