I have been a fan of the Ramones since new 6th grade classmate Steve Marino introduced me to the punk rockers. I thought their sound was so original and unique, but I didn't realize how important they were to the music scene.
Richie Ramone joined the band in February 1983 and stayed with the band through August of 1987. The talented drummer has been called the greatest drummer the Ramones ever had. This comes from critics and lead singer Joey Ramone. That is high praise, especially from Joey, considering the amount of dissension often found in the band. Richie is also the only Ramones drummer to write songs and sing lead. His stint in the Ramones might have been relatively short, but he it was memorable.
When I signed on to do coverage of Chicago Pop Culture Con, I contacted Richie about an interview. He quickly agreed and I even did extra coverage on his October appearance in Chicago. That story can be found on the Patch at Richie Ramone Will Rock Reggie's.
Walking into Chicago Pop Culture Con, Richie was the first celebrity I saw. Of course, I immediately went to him. Although quiet, Richie has an aura about him. Maybe it was just me being a fan, but he has that "natural" rocker presence.
I kept the interview short, because time is precious at these events. I can't keep Richie from his fans for too long. We talked about him joining the Ramones, being their best drummer and his upcoming book release. Released November 27, I Know Better Now: My Life Before, During, and After the Ramones is available on Amazon.
I'm definitely adding Richie's book to my library. It should be arriving in the mail this week. I can't wait to dive into it and learn more about Richie.
Extremely talented and versatile, Richie debuted a classical composition in 2007. He was both the featured soloist and the concerto's co-composer. I have listened to Richie's work outside of the Ramones and I am even more in awe of him. Of course, the Ramones will always be special to me, but my interest in Richie goes beyond the Ramones.
It was a real pleasure talking to Richie during and after the interview. It brought me back to my early days of loving the band. Although Richie joined the band about 6 years later, he is part of such a big part of their history. Now, I am proud to say he is a part of Johngy's Beat history.
Go to RichieRamone.com for more info and updates on Richie. You can also follow Richie Ramone on Facebook.
Thank you to Richie for his time and consideration. Thanks to Tim Zurko of Zurko Promotions for the hospitality and access all weekend.