The Johnny Ramone Tribute 2016 - Live in Los Angeles (Cover Artwork)
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The Johnny Ramone Tribute 2016

Live in Los Angeles (2016)

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On July 24, 2016 my younger brother and I headed to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to partake in the 2016 Johnny Ramone Tribute festivities. Not only were there around 3,000 people there to see screenings of Rock N’ Roll High School and Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, but it was also a punk star-studded night. It was MC’d by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and Johnny Ramone’s wife Linda Ramone, but also Shepard Fairey, Henry Rollins, Inge Johansson, Jeff Ross, John Doe, and the main cast of Rock N’ Roll High School were there.

To start things off, Linda Ramone and Steve Jones began the event by talking about Johnny Ramone and how important the Ramones were to punk rock and rock n’ roll in general and they talked about the importance of the film Rock N’ Roll High School. Right after that Linda brought up Johnny Ramone’s doctor who treated him during his illness and they talked about the real need to spread awareness of prostate cancer, which is what The Johnny and Linda Ramone Foundation were taking donations for at the event.

Linda Ramone then brought up Henry Rollins who told the incredible story of the time he, Ian MacKaye and some of the D.C. punks went to see of Rock N’ Roll High School in the theater for the first time when it was originally released and all four Ramones showed up to the movie. He also talked about his utter love for the Ramones and how influential they were on him. This was the first time I had ever seen Henry in real life so this was especially cool for me.

Henry Rollins spoke for about five minute and then it was John Doe’s turn to speak for a few minutes. Once he was done he brought up the main cast of of Rock N’ Roll High School (including Clint Howard, director Ron Howard’s brother, who was proudly wearing a classic Ramones emblem T-shirt) to do a Q&A, which was incredibly interesting to listen to as someone who had seen the movie at least three times up until this point.

After that there were a few minutes for us to walk around and visit Johnny’s gravestone, which is a pretty big statue of him playing his guitar and wearing his leather jacket. And in the cathedral of the cemetery there was a small exhibit of Kirk Hammett’s (of Metallica) vintage horror movie posters on display. They were half-century old posters that were absolute works of art in pristine condition.

So after looking around for a while my brother and I came back to the main area and Steve Jones mentioned to the audience that it was also Linda’s birthday, so they brought out a cake with a picture of her and Johnny at their wedding on the frosting and everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” Steve Jones then played an acoustic cover of “Rock N’ Roll High School.” I did not expect him to perform anything, so this was quite a treat.

Once he finished playing the song, the movie was projected on a giant white wall once it became a bit darker outside. The one thing I totally forgot about Rock N’ Roll High School was how subtlety hilarious Dee Dee is in it. I can't figure out how he was able to keep a straight face in some of his scenes. It is still an absolute classic film. Once Rock N’ Roll High School ended, there was a brief break and then they started Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.

This year’s Johnny Ramone Tribute was a really fun and great way to honor the man that pioneered punk rock guitar playing and it really did the Ramones justice. At the same time it wasn’t over-the-top. It was executed just right. I may have to make this an annual event for myself. The only complaints I have about it were that the security staff was clueless as to what was going on and where to go and there was that one drunk guy THAT. WOULD. NOT. SHUT. UP. THE. ENTIRE. MOVIE. But none of those things ruined the evening for me. If you can make it out next year, especially if you are a die-hard Ramones fan and want to hang out with other die-hard Ramones fans, you definitely should make the trip.


My younger brother Andrew’s opinion of the event:

I’m not terribly into the punk scene. I’m more comfortable at a Sufjan Stevens concert. Though I like the punk scene, this was unlike other punk shows I had ever been to for a few reasons. It was out doors and there were thousands of people there and everybody was sitting watching a fun movie. It was like sitting in on a giant family movie night or a picnic with the Ramones nation. The movie was great (my first time seeing it) and it was complimented by old, drunk fans cheering incoherently throughout the duration. It was a hoot.

You can see an obnoxious amount of photos and some video clips of the event over on the Punknews Instagram.