I’m gonna start this by stating right here right now that the Ramones released seventeen official albums they had three drummers, two bass players just the one guitarist and one frontman. Of the seventeen they had three live albums, a few compilations with the best being ‘Ramones Mania’ vol One and two. The classic ‘It’s Alive’ absolutely peerless as a double album never bettered by anyone anywhere in any genre.  The other two were alright, ‘Loco Live’ which was alright and the last hurrah! of ‘We’re Outta Here!’  for the purposes of this article I’m excluding these three because it would seem unfair somewhat as ‘Its Alive’ might well finish top of the pops on the sheer quality of the tracklist and the quality of the performances. Sure I love ‘Get Your Ya Ya’s Out’ and I love ‘All Those Wasted Years’ and to be fair ‘No Sleep Til Hammersmith’ is a bit of a banger and whilst I’m here ‘Live Bootleg’ is pretty good as well and maybe ‘Iggy Live At The channel’ is also faultless but to be fair we’re here to chew the fat over a Ramones top ten maybe live albums, in general, is for another day so… without further ado here’s my Top Ten Ramones Studio Albums…1-2-3-4 Hey Ho Lets Go!

Number Ten – ‘Acid Eaters’ The last spot goes to the band’s covers album.  I don’t remember many or any other bands making a record of covers they loved and making them their own. I’m amazed how they even reached a consensus as to what went on the record never mind Brexit Imagine the debate in camp Ramones as to what went on this album.  I guess there might be question marks about who plays what on it and even if they had the appetite to compile the record but as a finished body of work I remember being quite excited at hearing The Ramones and how they’d tackle some of these great tunes would they pull it off?  Would they have people laughing openly at their attempts at real grown-up cover songs? Well, all that went out the window when the band rattled through the intro of ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Mind’.

Some of the covers were predictable to be fair but the delivery was pretty decent as well. ‘Substitute’ is stright forward and ‘Out Of Time’ is hammed up whilst The CJ sung take of Slades ‘The Shape Of Things To Come’ is a real curveball.  No surprise to see the band playing a Jefferson Airplane and Animals songs respectively again fairly standard takes to be fair.

Now ‘7 And 7 Is’ was far livelier and a great version.  Joey gives it some in his performance and a really good cover. the Ramones doing Bob Dylan wasn’t something anyone ever envisaged I’d wager but CJ does a good job on bashing this one out.  The version of the Seeds ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ was one I always liked but to compare it to Johnny Thunders is like night and day.  Thunders wins by a TKO. Is there an American band who hasn’t covered a song by John Fogerty? A fact for you pop pickers this track has been covered or recorded by 401 bands/artists.  A good song done fairly well but lacks imagination. The Troggs ‘Can’t Control Myself’ is one of the best songs on the album and there had to be a surf song on the album they’d already owned the best surf song recorded but this sappy take is a bit of a wheeze.  But all in all the potential car crash album didn’t materialize and The Ramones came out on top. It just squeaks into the top ten because of its kitsch appeal and they certainly recorded worse records than this no question about it.  Favourite track – ‘Out Of Time’.

Number Nine – ‘Mondo Bizarro‘ There are a few reasons ‘Mondo’ gets in so I’ll outline my case in the defense of this fine record.  Point one, Its still the Ramones, point two CJ makes his debut, It had several of the bands best post Dee Dee songs on it.  The Ramones were still fun live and they were still better than a lot of bands in the early ’90s. ‘Censorshit’ was one in the eye for the PMRC and whilst a bit behind the curve of tipper bashing and a song that no doubt got under Johnny’s skin but it was a blast across the bow that the Ramones weren’t dead yet.

Dee Dee was still writing songs for the band even though he was long gone and there is no denying that ‘Poison Heart’ is right up there with the best the band has ever had their name credited on and not far behind it is CJ’s ‘Strength To Endure’.  Whilst it might get a little stretched in the middle it does come back around and ending with ‘Touring’ is a right toe-tapper and if you’re any sort of fan you’ve sung your socks off to this one.  I remember reading a review at the time before I’d heard the record and it claimed the Ramones were finished and it was a lazy record that had no merit but I don’t find it lazy or lacking merit having three excellent songs is enough for that not to be the case and I like ‘I Won’t Let It Happen’. ‘Cabbies On Crack’ is a nice riff and Joeys voice is at its elastic best as he manages to get the lyrics out without taking a breath. I will concede I can do without ‘Heidi Is A Headcase’ to be fair.  Favourite track – ‘Poison Heart’

 

Number Eight- ‘Brain Drain’ I always loved the cover art and I even went to the cinema to see the movie pet cemetery to hear the Ramones play out at the end.  I first had this on CD and even now I’m bugged how quiet the mastering is.  Way quieter than any other CD in my collection bar none. As for the music the it was the first album recorded with Marky back on the drum stool after six years away. It was also the last album the band did on Sire Records and was maybe the last consistent record they did before the inevitable slide to the end. the constant friction was taking its toll but when ‘I Believe In Miracles’ chimes in it’s like they’ve wound the clock back more than a few years as its a return to the policy of front-loading their record with the best tune.

‘Don’t Bust My Chops’ and the Dee Dee sang ‘Punishment Fit The Crime’ is a great tune and this being three of the opening four songs why wouldn’t you think the boys were back in the saddle? and ‘Palisades Park’ is a banger and could have sat nicely on almost every Ramones album ever. ‘Pet Cemetery’ is a great song and ‘Learn To Listen’ is New York hardcore and Joey growls like a bear and the riff on ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ is quality.  I’ll always defend ‘Brain Drain’ there are more than a couple of decent songs on it and Joey was right on form. To close the album that came out in the May of ’89 the Ramones sling ‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)’ inspired move and a song that should be on every Now That’s What I Call Christmas’ album but strangely it’s never included, oh well, their loss. Favourite Track – ‘I Beleive In Miracles’

Number Seven- ‘Pleasant Dreams’ The band seemed obsessed about their pursuit to be loved and to have big hit singles and to be part of the mainstream. Forget songs like ‘Outsider’ they always craved to be insiders and part of the establishment and get the kudos other bands were having but always seemed to allude the Ramones. Album number six was time for another stab at the mainstream success they went for 10CC’s Graham Gouldman to bring that pop sheen they felt might propel them up the charts and into peoples hearts.

It’s evident from the opening track ‘We Want The Airwaves’ that the sound was less in your face and with the addition of keyboards it was certainly more polished.  Regardless of that the opener is a good tune even if I’m not sure how much of a part Johnny plays on this one. Even the songs that were “Ramones Like” they were certainly toned down and softer like ‘Alls Quiet On The Eastern Front’.  It does, however, house the classic ‘KKK Took My Baby Away’.  I always loved the Ramones power-pop leanings and even with the outsider’s influence on the sound and (possibly) the songwriting songs like ‘Don’t Go’ might not have been up there as memorable Ramones classics but they were trying to evolve and the harmonies were different yet still it was The Ramones.

Songs like ‘You Sound Like Your Sick’ are just the powers that be letting the kids run feral out the back to keep them on track but alas the straying from what the band did best ultimately flopped and they didn’t have hit after hit after hit but ‘Pleasant Dreams’ did signal a shift in the band as they were trying different things how could you not like ‘Its Not My Place’ and ‘7-11’ they were no brainers for Joey who was always susceptible to leaning towards the 50s style on the melodies. ‘Come On Now’ could easily have been a Blondie song from the keyboard sound to the melody. ‘This Business Is Killing Me’ must have been more closer to home than any of us cared for but the band had a real beef as to why they didn’t have mass acceptance. To end with a slice of great power pop ‘Sitting In My Room’ this experiment ultimately failed and the world didn’t catch up.  Favourite Track – ‘KKK Took My Baby Away’.

 

Number Six- ‘Animal Boy’.  Kicking off album number nine with a song written by the drummer might seem brave but on listening to ‘Somebody Put Something In My Drink’ it’s a no brainer as Ritchie showed he could pen a decent tune no doubt about that. It common knowledge that around this time Joey and Johnny weren’t getting on and Dee Dee sided with Joey and Johnny went on record to suggest Joey should go do his solo album and he wouldn’t tour the UK and maybe that tension was reflected in the album but to be fair to Dee Dee he pulled a cat out of the bag on ‘Animal Boy’ as it contained some really strong songs and also featured the six-string work of Walter Lure of the Heartbreakers. The title track is a heads-down Ramones banger. You also have the Dee Dee vocals on the great ‘Love Kills’ his song about Sid & Nancy. I always thought it was one of the bands toughest sounding records with uncompromising tunes like ‘Apeman Hop’ but they did then show their softer side and a cheesy stab at chart success with ‘She Belongs To Me’. There are a few cringy moments that hold the record back like ‘Crummy Stuff’ which might be my least favourite Ramones song ever but let’s not detract from what else is on ‘Animal Boy’.

‘Bonzo goes To Bitburg’ was a minor hit and a real highlight but it was the fact joey only wrote three songs the same as producer Jean Beauvoir.  The album was dominated by Dee Dee who closed the record off with the chiming ‘Something To Believe In’. Favourite track – ‘Bonzo Goes To Bitburg’ closely followed by ‘Love Kills’.

Number five- ‘Too Tough to Die’ Marky was gone and Ritchie was now on the drum stool for the first time and what an album to make your debut. Back to writing songs that were harder and dare I say it tougher, certainly less pop smart with the band admitting as much with Joey quoted as saying “We were focused in the same direction, and it made a difference. We knew we needed to get back to the kind of harder material we’d become known for. The pop stuff hadn’t really worked, and we knew we were much better off doing what we did best”. It was now the mid-eighties and the band had almost been at it fo ra decade they were already on the third drummer they failed to make too big a dent in the pop charts so now it was time to knuckle down and write an album for themselves and for the people who just got it and loved them unequivocally.

The title track was the template along with the opener ‘Mama’s Boy’ the band were making an ugly record of tough songs and by the time the wonderful ‘Durango 95’ had finished (I always loved the intro but always wondered why it was in the middle of a record and not at the start) it did however preface the wonderful ‘Wart Hog’ an utter Dee Dee classic the sound of a rabid dog straining at the leash I always loved ‘Wart Hog’ still do. ‘Howling At The Moon’ being the stick out like a sore thumb track in the middle of the record with the keyboards and synth pumping out the rhythm. ‘Human Kind’ and ‘No Go’ were always the dark horses on this record and song I always loved ‘No Go’.  It was the Ramones not compromising and doing what they wanted and the big question did Johnny play that solo? Maybe Maybe not its a great record regardless of the constant squabbling within the camp, at last, they seemed to have all been on the same page even if it’s hard to believe that Joey never wanted to include ‘Wart Hog’. Also, anyone who’s ever been to New York and gone to central park must have had a photo taken in the tunnel haven’t they?  Or is it just me?  Favourite Track – ‘Wart Hog’.

 Number Four– The Sophmore album ‘Leave Home‘. More than the debut even now ‘Leve Home’ sounds like a band who found their feet and weren’t mucking about its a bit more business-like and not the sound of four guys chancing it and not sure if they have a bunch of songs that might be decent on ‘Leave Home’ they are a step up in professionalism (cough cough) and whilst they might have felt hell were still getting away with this but we might actually be good at it.

Again the opening salvo of the first four songs on side one are incredible and to us brits it was exotic.  what the fuck was burger King? Carbona, not Glue? From ‘Glad To See You Go’ to ‘Oh Oh I Love Her So’ it’s faultless and they’ve even expanded the sound with ‘I Remember You’ and throwing it in so early is brave. Also worth mentioning the band never wrote a song over three minutes until their fourth album -no prog on the Ramones, no sir.  Its also the first album that had a song I wasn’t sold on and to be honest playing it back now I’m still not fussed on ‘Suzy Is A Headbanger’.  Maybe its the fact its sandwiched between two outstanding songs in ‘Carbona Not Glue’ and the unbelievable ‘Pinhead’.

the thing with @Leave Home’ is that a lot of the songs always sounded so much better live when the tempo was faster. ‘Swallow My Pride’, ‘California Sun’ and ‘Commando’. My favourite songs on the album are ‘Pinhead’ and ‘You’re Gonna Kill That Girl’ and one of their best ever ‘Glad To See You Go’.

Number Three – ‘Rocket To Russia‘.  three albums in under eighteen months is an incredible feat and same old same old with the power of hindsight an incredible album with some of the bands most iconic tunes. Its no secret that there are plenty of bands who frontload an album with the strongest songs and this isn’t by chance its something bands (sometimes) take forever and a day deciding on the track running order and quite often it’s important but The Ramones man I’d like to think spent about two minutes deciding or someone did it for them because quite frankly it doesn;t matter because who can possibly decide if an album like ‘Rocket’ should open with the unbelievable ‘Rockaway Beach’ or ‘Sheena Is a Punk Rocker’ or what they settled on the full force wall of sound ‘Cretin Hop’. Again no song over three minutes and before you could even get comfortable ‘Rockaway Beach’ has already been and gone.  How the fuck did these kids from Queens write and play a song as good as that? forget the tempo, forget the chorus, forget the drum beat forget those time changes just home in on the melody and the deliveryon the harmonies its one of the best songs ever no doubt about it. Then to come down theres the morning-after hangover of ‘Here Today, Gone tomorrow’. the Stooges could have written ‘I Don’t Care’ (probably did but Dee Dee nicked it) the audacity of a bunch of scruffy herberts just out of high school writing a song of the caliber of ‘Sheena’ should be upsetting but its upsetting that this wasn’t number one for months across the globe.  Its a near-perfect slab of rock and Roll with the melody of The Beach Boys mixed with the musicianship of some delinquents is something that needs to be explained.  Maybe people have always had cloth ears when it came to what sold and what didn’t.

The lyrics of ‘We’re A Happy Family’ always intrigued me where did the inspiration come from? the album flip-flopped from the melodic bubblegum power pop the band did so well like ‘Ramona’ to the straight-ahead bish bash bosh of the opener. On another day this might be my favourite Ramones record it potentially is the most consistent but it wasn’t the first but on the other hand maybe because it wasn’t the first (or second) it’s remarkable but it has to sit somewhere and that somewhere is number three. Oh, and Tommy said goodbye after this album and took a backseat.  Favourite track – ‘Rockaway Beach’

Number Two – Self Titled Debut. ‘The Ramones’ One another day this would be number one and I guess as far as debut albums go there have been plenty that was regarded as a bands best partly down to the fact they had years to write the songs then to follow it up a band generally has less time and so on. But listening back this is pretty faultless for any album the songs are just glorious.  Take the handclaps on the Mono Version (audio nerd alert) it sounds like Tommy is there next to you it’s that good.  What a powerful thing. The funny thing is listening back to give it a critical ear I find myself just smiling at the sheer quality of the songs and not just the big hitters like the opening three tracks which would go down as one of the strongest opening trio anywhere ever. ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, ‘Beat On The Brat’ and ‘Judy’ are amazing.  Being of a certain age maybe I can’t appreciate what an impact this record would have had on a young man  when hearing it first but I got into the Ramones on my number one and maybe thats been a big reason as to why thats the case and why I can’t separate that from being objective all these years later and the many thousands of plays these records have had over the years.

I can feel the danger of ’53rd & 3rd’ and what it must have felt like hearing ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’ sure there are no weak tracks on this record and maybe its the little things that stand out for me now like the gang vocals on ‘Chainsaw’ and hearing Johnny trying to be louder than Joey I’m sure he is, listen to it. Favourite track is probably ‘Judy Is A Punk’ Why? those handclaps and tambourine whilst the Bass and Guitars are raging like fuck it’s such a beautiful thing and probably could never ever be written today by anyone. Favourite Track – ‘Judy Is A Punk’

Number One – ‘End Of The Century’ Might not be everyone’s choice )I’m Aware of that) and one that has made people laugh but it was the album I came in on and therefore my exposure was the four geeks on the cover and I can still remember dropping the needle on dads Marantz turntable and playing it for what seemed like days on end preferring it to food and football and as soon as it finished I’d play it again until I’d fall asleep.  No I didn’t really have a clue who Phil Spector was and it wasn’t until years later reading about the wall of sound and the firearms used to get the band to record parts of this amazing album.

‘Do You Remember Rock and Roll’ is my ringtone has been since I had a smartphone and even now I might not pick up because I have to hear a bit more of the song (sorry bout that if I haven’t picked up) then into the Bass drilling down before the acoustic guitar! WTF The Ramones and acoustic guitars? It might have been akin to Dylan ditching the acoustic and horrified fans ditching him when fans heard this but remember I hadn’t been there from the start. ‘Danny Says’ is soppy Joey at his best. They really pulled the band out of their comfort zone and I’ve got this far and not mentioned Johnny’s hair on the cover and their four for three on t-shirts in Walmart to bring then band into the 20th Century with such a bright bold cover. Again featuring the four musicians something I’m sure they insisted on. Its a maligned album with some claims its disjointed -piffle! ‘Chinese Rocks’ is a classic full stop, Don’t care that it’s about copping dope and I don’t care they borrowed Steve Jones tone for ‘The Return Of Jackie And Judy’ the roll on the floor tom is enough for me. Spector might well have been a few sandwiches short of a picnic and his experiment did yield the magnificent opening track and they’d not sounded so brutal as they did on ‘Lets Go’ so much for getting softer and they borrowed the Dead Boys drum roll on this one as well and the Dead Boys were/are awesome so that’s a tick in my book.

Christ, you could play ‘Baby I Love You’ to your girlfriend or your mother and still have street cred with your mates.  Joey pulls a blinder on this one by singing from his cotton socks to the tip of his plentiful barnet one of his best vocal performances bar none.  It might not have the best Ramones songs on it but as a complete piece of work, I fuckin’ love it! From the fuzzy radio tuning to the fade-out of ‘High-Risk Insurance’ it’s brilliant. It’s full of Ramones hallmarks and noticeable markers but they took a chance with Spector and in my eyes, it paid off.  they could have rested on their considerable laurels by now and churned out another Ramones record but they didn’t they expanded the envelope and took a chance All hail my favourite Ramones record.  ‘End Of The Fucking Century’ Ave it! Favourite song-  ‘Do You Remember Rock And Roll’

So there you have it might not be a perfect summary and I doubt it’ll be your favourite Ten Ramones albums. Maybe if you ask me in a weeks time it might be different.  Of the albums that didn’t make it into this particular list I can’t really think of one album that I don’t like.  There are songs I’m not too fussed on but overall for a band who spanned many decades and changes in consumer buying habits as well as internal band changes and losing their main song writer survived and every time I had the pleasure of seeing them play they were on form.  They looked like the coolest gang and championed being outsiders I loved The Ramones the first time I heard them and love them now.  So go play your favourite Ramones song and spread the word – We accept you one of us!

Buy the Ramones Here

“Easy Like a Sunday Morning” (like Fuck it is)

Three down and one to go and Sunday is a pretty big deal around RPM HQ as our mates are playing on the Introducing stage later but everywhere we look its clash city.  At one point we wanted to see four bands all playing at the same time across the complex so it literally came down to the toss of a coin where we would go and who we would see. With the venue opening at midday we needed to be in the Empress to catch a band we’ve covered a lot lately and who’ve impressed everyone whos seen and heard them.  Hands Off Gretel take the stage to a really healthy crowd considering the day and time and proceed to entertain with a really tight performance as the band really locked in like their lives depended on it and the audience was right there with them. After catching the first 30 minutes of the set we then had to cross the divide via Almost Acoustic where Ratboy was performing his magic to a full room we managed to catch him driving swords through someone’s arm and a more gentle coin trick but we couldn’t stay as all roads lead towards the Introducing stage where Trigger Mcpoopshute took the stage looking rather splendid in their religious outfits.  I even heard some punter comment that Shovel had a decent set of pins in his sheer stockings! I did turn to see what depraved human had such thoughts on the lords day. To be fair Trigger knocked out a rather impressive set of Welsh hardcore fuelled by late-night kebabs and strong cider whilst entertaining and putting a smile on peoples faces with their tales of everyday folk and cheeky charm.

Having seen the band turn in some loose sets this was a different Trigger with a much tighter sound with Bam at the drum stool.  Songs like ‘Skidmarks and Spenser’, ‘Sheep’ and ‘Drinking With The Big Boys’ were going down a storm in front of a very impressive audience and it was only 1.15pm but the only question people were now pondering was ‘Fish Or Bird’? Fuckin’ loons.  Who writes songs about penguins? Bloody entertaining though.

Right that’s three rooms already and it’s not even 2 pm so it must be time to head to Casbah to see if Dan Banger has turned up this year and low and behold he’s bloody made it and finally, Pizzatramp are in the house and what a fuckin’ beautiful noise they make live.  Regardless of if its some tiny venue in the bowels of South Wales or the cavernous Club Casbah at Rebellion Pizzatramp are on fire right now as Sammy plucks that thunderous bass and locks in with Dan they are a formidable force and their Hardcore is a beautiful thing they open with ‘CCTV’ and its brutal ‘Claire Voyant’, ‘He’s Gone Full Mitchell’ and the quite brilliant ‘Millions Of Dead Goffs’ pretty much make up the opening salvo of their set and I’m happy and it seems like half of Blackpool have gotten the memo and decided to turn up to see Pizzatramp with ‘Grand Relapse’ getting a decent airing their (Brown puckered) Star(fish) is burning brightly. We cut the set short and dash over to the Opera House for Johny Skullknuckles Kopek Millionaires who have just gone on by the time we catch our breath.

‘sometimes (Love Just Isn’t Enough)’ sounds fantastic and the change of pace from hardcore Sunday to power pop punk rock was just what I needed. I love Johnys style of writing and a lot of his material reminds me of early Hanoi Rocks and ‘Tell Me Baby’ sounded great as did ‘1981’ from ‘Dirty Beef Hands’ but the ray of sunshine in what has been a difficult time recent for Johny was his touching tribute to Kathy which touched everyone in the Opera House and got a standing ovation and the track of the set ‘Punk Girl From Another World’ an exceptional set from The Millionaires.

After recently seeing Suede Razors in Bristol Johnny and Darrel urged me to pop into the empress and catch the set so if it’s good enough for those two, of course, I was going to be there. so grabbing my spot on the barrier more for something to lean on than anything else the band duly took the stage and Darrel Wojick fresh from checking out Trigger McPoopshute takes the stage and proceeds to ram down some sweet boot boy rock and roll mixing the best of Slade with Rose Tattoo with a bovver boy take on the Four Horsemen.  ‘My city’ kicked off proceedings and for the next half an hour and some they rammed it down the Empress ‘TV175’ going down a storm and the punters flooded in. ‘Passion On The Pitch’ was dedicated to Blackpool fans and their fight for their club and it was nice to hear some Americans and a Canadian knowing their shit and fuck the Oystens would have gone down well.  ‘Bovver Boy’ was a particular high point of the set.  a band who have the chops and know-how to rock and roll and will always be welcome over here if the USA still won’t let them ply their craft.

One of the must-see bands on the introducing stage had to be Rotten Foxes who turned up looking rather splendid in their double denim, cut off nut huggers and wrestling belts. They really put on a show for those gathered in the sweatbox. As for what they played fuck knows, it was absolute pandemonium and punk as fuck with Charlie Harper whistling on the sidelines whilst members of Zero Zero, Pizzatramp and Trigger knew where the only place to be at half three on a Sunday afternoon was and that was in this very room sweating like Ian Krankie in a wardrobe. The songs came thick and fast, fuck, make that very fast as bodies flew around, Hardcore as fuck. An absolute pleasure to witness such beautiful chaos done so well. True to their single ‘Arrive Raise Hell Leave’ Rotten Foxes absolutely killed it.  I wish it had gone on longer and it would have been awesome to see these boys tear somewhere like Casbah a new one with this racket. Don’t quit it’s only just begun. Rotten Fuckin’ Foxes!

We needed to grab some food so Svetlanas were forfeited as was our planned peek at Teenage Bottlerockets (next time for sure). Dirt box Disco are up next and with a quick pint, we head for Club Casbah. Having Weab quit the band to go his own way it left Spunk Volcano to take over lead vocals and this being the first opportunity for us to see the band we first caught way back when they had no more than a couple of shows under their belt this was going to be interesting but seeing so many people turn up and stay til the end must have put wind in their sails as they knocked out classic Dirtbox after classic dirt box with ‘My Life Is Shit’ seeing a frenzied pit chanting the chorus back to Mr. volcano must have felt good that they decided to carry on post Weab. Something of a Rebellion fixture it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Empress is beginning to heat up again as CJ Ramone takes the stage and for the next hour we’re treated to a whole bunch of classic Ramones tunes and some choice cuts from CJ’s solo records all that was missing was a track or two from Bad Chopper. ‘One High One Low’ from the new album slipped in comfortably alongside classics like ‘Bonzo Goes To Bitburg ‘, ‘Rock n Roll High School’ and ‘Rockaway Beach’. ‘This Town’ also off the new album sounded huge but was the aperitif for Blag The Ripper who entered the fray to creepy crawl around the Empress knocking out ‘KKK Took My Baby Away’. CJ then gave a wonderful tribute to his former bandmate Steve Soto who had been performing with him and who died only little over a year ago as last year Adolescents gave a tearful tribute to Soto ‘Rock On’ was apt. the next special guest happened to be Blags bandmate Nick Oliveri.

as if the Empress wasn’t hot enough ‘Warthog’, ‘Commando’, ’53rd’, ‘Sedated’, ‘Blitzkreig Bop’ and to wrap it all up why not go over the top with a sparkling version of ‘R.A.M.O.N.E.S’. Thank you and goodnight.  Fuck me that’s how to do a festival – No bullshit – no fucking around just bish bash bosh!  It reminded me of Buzzcocks who were mentioned several times over the weekend and amusing stories were regaled they were a band who got festivals and usually just blitzed it – well, CJ Ramone just did that – 29 songs in an hour, Smart!

We’re in the home straight now and it’s still pretty full-on We toyed with the idea of going into Empress for The PRofessionals but it was too hot so we went for a wander around the bizarre and dipped in to catch the start of The Skids who weren’t mucking about and once they’d put up the correct graphic giving away the fact that The Damned were indeed playing the Machine gun Etiquette set later gave the game away, oh well the rumours were true. Doh!. ‘Of One Skin’ followed by ‘Charade’ it looked like they were playing the same set they were dishing out around Europe which is fine I’ve not seen the band since they reformed and by the sounds of it they were bang on form. Knowing I had one last lap to complete the heat upstairs on the balcony was almost unbearable and it literally felt like the ‘Saints Were Coming’ if I’d have stayed up there so back to Club Casbah for a glance at Conflict and DOA then settled for a few tunes from King Kurt a band I’d not seen for over twenty years hoping to catch some ‘Destination Zulu LAnd’ but alas it wasn’t to be as I had to venture via the backstage bar for some refreshments before making my way down the front for one final hurrah.

The Damned doing ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ although I’d seen them several times on the last MGE Anniversary tour this time it was with added Paul Gray who always did justice to the Algy bass lines.

As the band took to the stage and Captain offered up the introduction of “Ladies And Gentlemen, how do?” the place seemed to be absolutely rammed and didn’t need an invitation to go nuts as the album was unfurled in sequence well,  up until ‘These Hands’ that seemed to have been left off.  Again not quite its entirety but it would have been fun to hear it for us anoraks. Man The Damned are on fire at the moment and seem to be really enjoying their time on stage. Vanian being quite animated tonight taking the lead with amusing anecdotes whilst Sensible being, dare I suggest it, quite restrained.  Maybe the Wintergardens heat was taking effect whereas we all know Vanian has spent the day relaxing in his air-conditioned crypt so would be fresh as a daisy.  Once they wound up MGE also missing ‘Liar’ as well I might add. They then proceeded to indulge a few extras like ‘Street Of Dreams’ and a rather splendid ‘Ignite’.

I guess they had to play ‘Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow’ before hitting the home straight with ‘Wait For The Blackout’ followed by the anthemic ‘New Rose’,’Neat Neat Neat’ and ending the set with ‘Jet Boy Jet Girl’ and the curtain was brought down on another exception headline set from the original punk rockers and still the best there is. Don’t let Hayward and Sutton tell you otherwise 😉 (DD)

With Dom over in the Empress watching The Damned for the bazillionth time it was left to yours truly to witness rock legends The Dwarves, big dicks swinging, give Blackpool’s punk rock community the bloodiest nose of the weekend. With HeWhoCannotBeNamed back in the fold, there is that added sense of danger and anarchy about the band as they launch straight into ‘Way Out’ and the Club Casbah mosh pit goes suitably apeshit. ‘Sluts Of The USA’, ‘Devils Level’ and ‘We Only Came To Get High’ follow like repeated punches to the face and just when I thought it couldn’t get any crazier a minor drunken skirmish breaks out in front of me during ‘Speed Demon’ and the sight of a topless female pit member sends Blag and the boys off into a world where there ‘Better Be Women’ and ‘Free Cocaine’. ‘We Must Have Blood’ sees He Who and Blag demolish the drum kit, and in a shower of beer, they are gone. Wow! Band of the weekend for me and many others. Don’t agree? Go fuck yourselves. HA! (JH)

Rebellion Sundays are real hardcore as the body is usually wondering why it is being subjected to continued alcohol, dehydration and stairs, stairs and stairs. So having an unbelievable line-up makes it all worthwhile and following playing another set I shot across to the acoustic stage to catch Catlow (of the Poly Esters) set the afternoon on a great footing. A Pizzatramp, Suede Razors 1-2 gets me right in the mood to swing by the Arena to catch Birmingham’s utterly brilliant The Liarbilitys.  Their Antagonisms record sounds fantastic live and Birmingham’s Bleeding is surely one of the best punk rock songs of recent times.  I made a point of popping into the Introducing Stage at numerous points throughout the weekend, sampling some really excellent bands (that Rotten Foxes set was something else!!) but one that really stuck with me was Tequila Mockingbyrd. The female quartet were devastating and really should be checked out, as their Hanoi Rocks meets L7 swagger is infectious.  This led me nicely into catching something very familiar but no less good in the shape of Welsh stalwarts Foreign Legion. Marcus Howells might have led the band in its many forms for decades but they show no signs relenting in any way and are on top form with a set of old standards are spot-on new songs.  With the finish line in sight, I head back to join the hordes watching the Professionals before watching The Dwarves deliver the ultimate coup de grace.  What a weekend?  When can we do it again? (DS)

 

 

Rebellion 2019 was an absolute pleasure from the superb company to the many bands I met shook hands with, had conversations with to the work colleagues also covering the festival to the incredibly hard-working and always smiling staff keeping the bars stocked to make sure everything was hunky-dory.  The bouncers who did their jobs well especially the guys n gals in the Empress who did amazing jobs and always with a smile to the catering staff and stallholders to the people like Darren Russell Smith and Jeannie Russel Smith, Stu Taylor and Daryl for putting this incredible Festival together keeping the prices real. Dod and the photographers who do such an excellent job in capturing it all, the stagehands and sound and light guys for doing such an amazing job under so trying circumstances and the good people of Blackpool for being so welcoming time after time and all the band we saw turn in such awesome sets and the bands we didn’t get round to seeing maybe next year. The PR people for running such a smooth operation you all make this festival lark look like a piece of piss.  The artists upstairs along with the people who were interviewed and interviewers and finally all the punters who love alternative music and keep the scene ticking over buying the music and the merch.  I have a list of bands who should play next year who would go down a treat if anyone wants to know.

Rebellion is always a pleasure and never ever a chore. Now can I go to bed and get some sleep please?  Same time and same place next year? Fan-Fuckin-Dabi-Dozy!

Authors: Dom Daley, Johnny Hayward & Darrel Sutton

Its August and this week sees us roll with our comprehensive Rebellion Festival round-up so why not run our twent choice cuts from our perspective.  We’d have listed the likes of Zero Zero and Rotten Foxes but they’re not on Spotify so we’ve gone with a solid old and new twenty plus.  Check em out there has to be something for every taste in there. Remember kids don’t just stream go out and watch these bands and buy their merch and music.  It keeps them making the music we love.

 

Pirates Press is incredibly proud to announce more of the details and the list of bands playing the 15th Anniversary “ROCK THE SHIP” weekend, October 17-20, 2019 in the Bay Area (CA).

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to host an epic punk rock show on the flight deck of a legendary AIRCRAFT CARRIER! Three months from TODAY, your favorite Pirates are doing just that – and have tagged on a bunch of other shows scattered around Oakland and beyond, so everyone can celebrate with us in style!

350 LIMITED Weekend Passes will go on sale at 9 am Monday morning (California time) @ ROCKTHESHIPFESTIVAL.COM. If you want to see most of these bands, you need one.

Individual tickets to the Saturday show aboard the USS Hornet will be sold once the weekend passes are gone, but having a weekend pass is the only way to attend the 4 other official “ROCK THE SHIP” events at the Starline Social Club & Ballroom. You’ll get a poster and free gift too!

Trust us, you’ll be kicking yourself for missing this. Don’t assume you’re going to be on a list or get one later – get ready for MONDAY.

Again, 9 am PT MONDAY. ROCKTHESHIPFESTIVAL.COM – Don’t miss out!

***All of the Pirates would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to TIM ARMSTRONG for this brilliant piece of artwork he made for us, as his contribution to the festivities – followed by another round of praise and THANK YOU’s to HOLDMYTICKET, LAGUNITAS, USS HORNET FOUNDATION, The City of Alameda, Audra and Greg @ Dino & Luigi Presents, and everyone at all the venues for helping make this all come together!***

Well, we’re almost there folks its Sunday on our preview and by now there will be sore heads, aching limbs, sunburn, and ringing ears and aching jaws from having such a good time and laughter that’s usually how Sunday pans out but not necessarily in that order. By now you will have got the hang of how to best navigate your way through the Winter Garden and how best to avoid the heat and there will be some who are only now getting into the swing of things and only just warming up.  We’ve already opened a book as to what state our friends Trigger Mcpoopshute will be in before they hit the introducing stage.  I just hope Blackpool has enough Special Vat on tap because they will find it and the Karaoke bar.  Anyway, I digress.

On with the show.  first up will no doubt be a very early start for many as Hands Off Gretel hit the Empress Stage between 12:50pm – 1:30 pm. With their recent album and live shows, they’ve had plenty of praise around these parts and it’ll be great to catch them on such a big stage and big room compared to the tight confines of Clwb Ifor Bach. But wait, get your time warp daps on because there are more clashes than outside a Swansea v Cardiff derby.  1.55 also sees our mates the wonderful Kopek Millionaires return to the festival in the Opera House and hang on those Welsh herberts Trigger McPoopshute are also kicking up a shitstorm over on the introducing stage at 1.15 and if you shout loud enough I’m sure they’ll play ‘Sheep’ and my favourite ‘Skidmarks & Spencer’.

It’s just not fair because Pizzatramp will be causing offense and singing songs about Goths at 2 pm over at Club Casbah or whinging about having their fuckin’ backs being fucked and calling Bono names but I can guarantee they will be entertaining and totally crushing the room.  Next up for me will be those filthy garage punk noise bringers Rotten Foxes again on the introducing stage where double denim hot pants will no doubt be the order of the day and songs about Danny Dyer will be belted out for the gathered masses. Around the same time, The Svetlanas will also be delivering the noise over in The Ballroom and they went down very well last year. You could stay put and chill because up next is the pop punk of Teenage Bottlerockets in the Empress. Or no doubt like many will head over to Club Casbah for your annual fix of Dirtbox Disco at 5.10 pm. If you haven’t had enough Hands Off Gretel frontwoman Lauren Tate will be putting on an Acoustic performance in Almost Acoustic but I’d imagine you’d have to get there early as it will be busy.

It’s still very early evening and hopefully, you should be just warming up by about now and pacing yourself.  You’ll hopefully have just taken in a bunch of new bands on your radar and awaiting some more established bands who will be along later.  There are a dozen bands playing the Introducing Stage on Sunday many of whom I’ll admit to not having heard but will always dip in because its stages like this where the future headliners might come from and who knows, your new favourite band.  Isn’t that the beating heart of what Rebellion Festival is all about?  You can stay in one venue all day long and come across a whole gambit of bands some you’ll love some you’ll know the name of but have never heard them and others will blow you away and all indoors under the same roof alongside friendly staff who make it such a special place to watch alternative music night after night after night. Anyway, I digress.

The Witchdoktors play their garage punk rock n roll just before Foreign Legion kicks in with their Oi! infused street punk.  Weaving around the stages takes some skills that you should no doubt be a Jedi master at by this point so negotiating Conflict, DOA and then King Kurt will be a piece of piss right?  Yeah right.  and if you’re still in one piece The Motherchuffin’ Dwarves are taking the Casbah stage home tonight and will no doubt devastate what’s left of the audience.  I see they’re down for a 55-minute set so it looks like they’re playing twice then kids 😉

Anyway back in the Empress the final curtain call sees CJ Ramone knock out a whole bunch of classics from 7 pm and lets face it he’s never let us down and his new solo album is a bit tasty as well so in fairness throw your laminated stage finder timetable out the window buy yourself a Dark Fruit and just follow your ears and you’ll be taken to a stage that will put a big smile on your face.  The Professionals follow CJ then The Skids follow the Professionals but its top trumps time for me because the Damned close the festival that is as long as The Dwarves haven’t raised the Winter Gardens to the ground from the Casbah at the same chuffing time!  it’ll be a flip of the coin no doubt or we will have to split review duties and by witching hour it will all be over – done and dusted.  Back to our hotels and B&B’s with our pathetic bruised and beaten carcasses dissecting our weekend – our long lost weekend down the musical wormhole that is Rebellion festival.  If you’re still in with a chance of going but can’t decide to take it from us you won’t regret it – not for a second (well that might be a lie – your legs might be saying otherwise)  There is no other festival quite like it in the UK and we love being a part of it year after year.  I’m packed and ready to rock n roll now where did I leave my kiss me quick hat?

Roll Up Roll Up tickets available Here

Hooray, another day another new album from the Last Ramone in through the door to shout 1-2-3-4.  Solo album number four I believe and once again Fat Wreck Chords have got CJ Ramones back.

What does it sound like?  What do you think it’s going to sound like doofus! C’mon its like a guy who joined one of the best gangs ever, made some records with them, toured the world and lived the dream.  Sure when that all stopped it must have been weird – so take a break recharge the batteries and come back doing exactly what you do you’ve earned it (who wouldn’t) To be fair since being back in the saddle he has made consistently good records under the name CJ Ramone.

He never fell out of love with punk rock and I’m delighted to say that this one is more of the same.  I don’t want my Ramones to break new ground; do industrial, rap, murder ballads or grime.  Hell, I want a steady beat (‘This Town’) I want catchy sing-a-long Chorus and loud guitars.  The occasional hand clap and maybe a dozen songs that put a smile on my face and that’s exactly what CJ does.  Thank God for that.

There are covers like the awesome ‘Crawling From The Wreckage’ to be fair you have to go some to mess that one up and this is a particularly good take.  I mean Dave Edmunds is a legend around these parts so why not tip the hat and give it a good run through besides CJ know it a top tune.  There are highs such as ‘Waiting On The Sun’ wait what’s this an acoustic guitar and some brushes on a snare? Sure is, ‘Hands Of Mine’ is a curveball but man what a great song. CJ’s vocals are warm and the songs flows like a late night red.  A lovely tune and another string to the bow methinks.

Worry not punks ‘There Stands The Glass’ is fast and furious and back in the groove and a great cover it is too. Some Cowpunk al a Supersuckers on ‘Moving On’ and in the home straight CJ pumps a fist in the air on ‘Stand Up’ something he’s always done so well. ‘Blue Skies’ is timeless with a great hook and melody.

Closing this record with ‘Rock On’ is a beauty and a tribute to Steve Soto who passed away last year just before his band the Adolescents played Rebellion which was a moving performance and fitting tribute to their brother and bandmate and this is a heartfelt tribute and one I’m sure Steve would have been proud to hear and I’ve no doubt there will be a ray of sunshine shine down on CJ whenever he plays this live.

Another day another great record fro CJ Ramone and long may it continue. the Holy Spirit is with us all God Bless you CJ Ramone!

 

Buy The Holy Spell Here

Author: Dom Daley

Seeing as its the last roundup of 45’s in 2018 we check out some recently released singles as well as look forward to some about to hit the shelves of virtual stores (mainly) and gawp at some videos made.  here goes.

First off you might have gathered already here at RPM that there are bands we believe in wholeheartedly and right at the top of that list is without doubt shit islands darlings of the underground The Hip Priests.  They have a brand new album in the bag ready to unleash on us mear mortals early in 2019 and I’ve been reliably informed that it is going to blow us away so when they said they had a split recorded and ready for release how could we turn down a sneak peek at the masters of garage punk rock n fucking roll and their awesome new split featuring a pretty impressive Satanic Overlords.

The Hip Priests/The Satanic Overlords – Split (Gods Candy Records)

with their usual promised exclusive for the Spasm Gang issue this blindingly good EP kicks off with ‘Press Darlings’ and as far as I can hear its a profanity-free bundle of pure energy and a chorus that you will just want to shout back at Von Cruz when you catch them live.  The bulked-up duel guitar attack of Silent Mike and Austin Smith is a real force here and at a time when Shit Island is crying out for bands to rise up and rally, the Hip Priests are front – centre. I’d go over the top with these guys as long as ‘The Nihilist Twist’ was playing from the circling choppers.  Now its fair to say when they’ve done splits before they’ve not shied away from a challenge  as bands like the mighty Dwarves have accompanied them. I have to say these two songs from The Satanic Overlords give The Priests as close a run for their money than any predecessor has as their superb take on ‘Beat My Guest’ is a killer and the delivery is pure proto-punk that would raise an eyebrow from Handsome Dick if he were to hear this bad boy.

V8 Interceptor – Steamin (self Release) Well next up we have a video shot in a caravan.  Awesome? Fuckin’ right it is in a mobile home for God’s sake – enjoy

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Andy McCoy – Soul Satisfaction (Ainoa Productions Oy) 

Its been a while since we’ve had any new music from the most talented guitar slinger of a generation and it was this time last year when he released his one track Christmas single so this is a most welcome CD to emerge from Finland. My only complaint about this is a four-song CD single for the price of an album is a bit of a sting but on inspection the fourth track ‘Wild Kingdom’ is listed as being a non album track which would suggest that the sheriff has an album all wrapped up and ready to go which is exciting and by the sounds of these songs its certainly going to please the purists amongst us who want to hear the king of the six-string knock out something along the lines of ‘Too Much Too Soon’ or ‘Building On Tradition’ and not Grease Helmet. The lead track is a rocker with a whole bunch of that McCoy magic built around a rolling riff and a big groove with his unmistakable drawl capping off a fine tune.  Now ‘Gimme Time’ starts off with some super cool sax and then a gentle paced song that is a step in the right direction – great song! ‘Bible And A Gun’ is a honky-tonk romp as is the non album track of ‘Wild Talk’ plenty of bluster and a rollicking piano laying the foundation for McCoy to do his thing.  Welcome back Andy we’ve missed you now get this album done we need it! Facebook

CJ Ramone – Christmas Lullaby (Fat Wreck Chords) With a month full of big hitters CJ is in great company and with the first and only festive 45.  Two track one being a cover of The Kinks ‘Father Christmas’ and the other being the lead track ‘Christmas Lullaby’ being a classic Ramones lite Crimbo tune the only thing its missing is some sleigh bells oh wait, hang on – there they are.  Well done CJ for taking this on.  In a world that’s gone to shit and left fights right on every turn the festive tunes seem to have dried up until now.  Its warm and fuzzy and a little bit of festive fuzz from CJ.  His rework of the Kinks tune is more what you’d expect from a former Ramone bruda.

Purchase Details Here

 

Alvin Gibbs & the Disobedient Servants – Ghost Train (Time & Matter Records) An album that has really got us excited here at RPM is the soon to be released long player from UK Subs four stringer Alvin Gibbs.  Alvin has put together a two-track taster from the album in the shape of a traditional two-track seven-inch record with amazing artwork from Gaye Advert this features a plethora of special guests that would be a veritable whos who of punk rock n roll and on the one side you have the fantastic ‘Ghost Train’ which is Alvin looking at mortality because lets face it, none of us are getting any younger it sounds like the finest bit of punk rock n roll Iggy never wrote.  It would have fitted in on his Brick by Brick album with its meandering rhythm it’s a real grower that you’ll find yourself humming long after the song has finished.  Make some room for the flip side as ‘Clumbsy Fingers’ is spectacular and has Alvin’s motoring bass line that really attacks your core.  Now if Guns n Rose were to announce a new single and they played this on the radio there would be a collective wetting of gentlemen’s undercrackers and the magazines would be clamoring over themselves to tell you how good it is so with a bonkers solo from the one and only Brian James to boot it falls to me to tell you that if there are any left you really do need to pick one up – Pronto!  Buy Alvin Gibbs Here

Young Skulls – Bomb Train Blues’ (Slovenly Records) With a swirling organ and a frantic beat Young Skulls have got this garage punk rock n roll thing off to a tee and with the opener ‘Bomb Train Blues’ they scream and howl their way into my brain with relative ease because this is excellent.  Continuing the locomotive theme  (and I thought it was Christmas) on the B Side is a slower but none the less agressive menacing ‘We’re Gone’ its wreckless and exciting as it pounds towards its natural death They’re not fucking about here kids there are no festive jingle bells or chestnuts roasting on an open fire just raw vital garage punk rock.  check em out Bandcamp

 

 

The Troubled Bones – Broken Biscuits EP (Self Release) Its a longish story why its taken this one so long to get onto RPM but its here now and that’s all that counts.  Leading the way is the brooding slow burn of ‘Broken Biscuits’ with its hand jive rhythm it’s walking a path previously trodden (more recently) by the likes of Jim Jones and at times the Urban Voodoo Machine Trouble Bones understands what it takes to make good music and do it with aplomb. With their roots in a blues-based voodoo swamp rock thang, there are traces of the Cramps in this and ‘Ma Cherie’ is a great number with its waft of European chic there is a certain Joie de vivre to proceedings and a most enjoyable EP it is too.  Check out them Troubled Bones at the link and tell em RPM sent you  facebook

 

Ditchbanger Demos (Self Release) I daren’t not give these gents a few words after contacting us as one look of their artwork it could be my ditch they’re diggin’. Coming out of the big smoke this three-piece aren’t fucking about with a thrashing punk rock n roll that isn’t taking any prisoners and from the off ‘Light A Fire (Under YOur Ass) is like the classic Uncle Sam heaven or Hollywood album in delivery.  Sure its a demo but who gives a fuck eh? I like it – I like it a lot and it might be the heartwarming sound of three mates kicking out the jams and being their own biggest fans its a beautiful thing. ‘Moosehead’ is like old school speedrock just like Zeke and before you can blink its gone but fear not because they save the best til last and ‘Pure Hell’ is unleashed.  Great stuff look forward to hearing what’s coming next. Bandcamp

 

How about a video to break things up a little?   Well, you’re getting it anyway.  here goes…Radar State with ‘Strays’ from their soon to be released long player coming out in January 2019

 

The Blankz – (Its A) Breakdown (Slope Records) Power Poppin’ punk rockin’ this is a great tune from Arizonians its got a huge new wave synth right through its DNA its gonna’ make you pogo pogo from start to finish with its simple lyrics especially on the B Side ‘You’re Not My Friend Anymore’ its happy go lucky but I’ll be friends with The Blankz if they’re asking they play music I love and do it oh so well and a band that will certainly be on the RPM radar from now on. Simpe no fuss punk rock new wave – love it! Bandcamp

 

 

 

Baby Blue / Triple Junk  – ‘Rock N Roll Or What?’ I always love it when a record crops up and I don’t know why or how it got to circle my orbit and stick around but I am grateful it has and this certainly fits that category. Hailing from Tokyo Baby Blue deliver power pop goodness in the shape of two tracks with the first being a straight-ahead rocker in the shape of ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Sorry’ with a great hook on the chorus whilst the second offering is a more laid back ‘I Can’t Let You Go’ a classic slower number that’ll let you wave your lighters in the air whilst slow dancing.  flip it over and Triple Junk turn up the amps with the perfect accompaniment.  Playing classic power pop and playing it really well. ‘Tax’ being the pick of the two it reminds me of The Breakdowns and Classic Cheap trick now there’s big shoes to fill. Bandcamp

 

Well, that’s your starting eleven for the festive campaign. Some to get excited over and some to hunt down but hopefully, I’ve made it easier for you to find your new favourite band so click on the links and check em out see you all in 2019 keep it RPM for all your 45’s.

 

 

After a quick jaunt across Europe, The DeRellas have been announced to perform at next years Rebellion festival on the back of an excellent show in the Opera House this past August. Joining them will be Headliners Cock Sparrer as well as the excellent CJ Ramone so already its shaping up to be a fantastic lineup. We’ll keep you posted as other acts are announced.

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Rebellion Festival