BP Fallon remembers Joey Ramone


Joey Ramone by & © BP Fallon

Letter from America by BP Fallon: Sunday April 15th 2001
Reprinted from The Irish Times April 24th 2001

I’m sorry to have to tell you that the Mayor Of The East Village Joey Ramone died this afternoon. He died from lymphatic cancer. His mum Charlotte said he was listening to U2’s In A Little While in his room at New York Presbyterian Hospital when he died. “Just as the song finished, Joey finished,” Charlotte said. He was 49.

Only a month or so ago I saw him on his perambulations, gangling down St. Mark’s Place, this rubbery creature who towered giraffe-like above the gaggle of excited Japanese girls who formed a moving clucking mass around him as he walked. And as he walked his neck craned down to meet their smiling upturned faces, this most unlikely – and enormously likeable – apostle of cool, mane of black hair blowing this way and that, automatic hand tugging it back, those yellowy-orange prescription shades like the bottoms of milkbottles that when the light hit them in a certain way you would see those bulbous eyes that he hid from the world, these eyes still excited by the quest but equally – more? – still shy and self-effacing.

Just a pop singer…

Just the singer in the fastest, blastest, tightest, rockin’est, coolest band of their magic moments.

Just fucking Joey Ramone.

First time I saw Joey was at the Roundhouse in 1976 when the Ramones blitzkrieg bopped into London for the very first time, waving a ‘Gabba Gabba Hey!’ placard and taking no prisoners. It was the Bicentennial Fourth Of July, a fact trumpeted by these feisty young American invaders from Queens, New York. Bloody hell.

The Ramones nailed ev’ryone to the wall.

Johnny’s chainsaw guitar, legs apart, moptop flying. Dee Dee’s barked exhortations of “1,2,3,4!” Tommy attacking the drums like the bloke from Black Sabbath on Lemmy-quality speed.

And in the middle at the front at the mic stand stands the human stick insect Joey Ramone, a mess of hippy hair at British punkdom’s Damascus, the hand holding the mic drowned by this scraggly waterfall of Woodstock visual, the face virtually absent, this humanoid freak looking like a geek and singing like Adonis.

Make no mistake, Joey was a romantic.

The Ramones sound, it was like a stripped-down Phil Spector record, speeded up and the sweetening gone and the naked engine snarling, heavenly choir transformed into gutter-gaunt revving roadster, this little monster hot-rod racing, rockin’ tough and hard. Hoodlum music with a smile, delinquent teen vignettes like Teenage Lobotomy and Beat On The Brat and Cretin Hop and Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment. Gene Vincent, the punk from Norfolk, Virginia who’d scored with Be Bop A Lula twenty years earlier, even Gene Vincent couldn’t have said it better. Really, the titles say it all, fast and funny and to the point. I Wanna Be Sedated. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue. Classics…

And on top of this full-speed full-tilt amped-up electric mayhem there’s this voice of pop that when Phil Spector finally got to produce the Ramones – ‘cos he did and even if it was mad and even if it was crazy which of course it was because that’s just the way it is sometimes with ol’ Uncle Phil, well it was fated and that’s it. Anyways… down the line Phil gets to produce the Ramones and he takes this Joey voice, this perfect pop voice for today people and he melds it to Baby, I Love You and God forgive me but it’s as good as Ronnie Spector’s immaculate vocal on the Phil Spector-produced original by The Ronettes. But while Mrs. Spector had sang it with wet-lipped joy and celebration, in Joey’s reading it was as if he was pleading his love. It was beautiful.

Last time I saw Joey sing was with Ronnie Spector. Ronnie sang Don’t Worry Baby and then they did a song written by one of Joey’s peers, Johnny Thunders, a song Joey had produced for Ronnie Spector’s new EP, Johnny’s song You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory…

There on St. Mark’s Place we nodded greetings at each other.

Joey had always been one of those characters who you weren’t really sure if they actually remembered you or not, he seemed so gently affable but kinda out there at the same time.

The Boomtown Rats did a tour, their first tour of England proper, supporting Talking Heads and the headliners the Ramones, in 1977. Joey was the same then, Mr. Vagueout dreamin’ his dreams, charismatically freakish on stage and genuinely sweet to the ever-awed fans who crowded into the dressing-rooms after ev’ry show.

Then another BP charge with the unlikely name of Snips, a mate of Chris Spedding who’d sung with Ginger Baker, Snips landed the support on the latest Ramones tour. This is ’78. On the plane to Belfast I find myself sitting next to Johnny Ramone, Mike Clark Byrds hair framing a tight face. “How old are you?” I say idly (as one does…). Johnny thinks about this for a while, then ponders the question a bit more, then drifts into further cogitation. Finally, he takes in air and says, with great consideration, “Mid twenties”.

Dee Dee was another story altogether (see BP Moves Into Chelsea Hotel, Dee Dee Visits. Weird scenes from inside the goldmine vol. 69).

Anyways, when the plane gets to Belfast – this is the gig before the epochal Dublin gig at the State Cinema in Phibsboro – when the plane gets to Belfast all the Ramones, this cartoon rock’n’roll band of hair and leather jackets and ripped jeans, they scruff into a scruffy van and their manager Linda Stein, she swans into a flash limo. Ah, rock’n’roll high school…

After that Ronnie Spector gig here in New York at Life in the West Village a year and a bit ago, Arturo Vega the Ramones lighting guy from the year zero, he does all their graphics and stuff, he’s introducing me to Joey yet again,”Uh, you know BP Fallon?” “Yeah, you were on the tour we did with Snips,” Joey deadpans back drily, quick as a button and on the button too, memory sharp as an owl’s. “You used to wear a short green velvet robe, didn’t you?”

So on St Mark’s Place a few weeks back, we nod our greetings and amble on by.

I never thought I’d never see him again. God bless Joey Ramone. Gabba Gabba Hey!

– BP Fallon, East Village NYC April 15th 2001.


Local TV Coverage of the death of Joey Ramone on Easter Sunday 2001


Joey Ramone and fan at CBGB 2000 by & © BP Fallon


Ronnie Spector & Joey Ramone NYC 1999 by & © BP Fallon


Debbie Harry & Joey Ramone from Punk Magazine 1976


Just kids: Dee Dee & Joey via Phyllis Stein’s Facebook


Not kids anymore: Joey, Ronnie, Keith & Dee Dee

Joey Ramone May 19th 1951 – April 15th 2001
Dee Dee Ramone September 18th 1951 – June 5th 2002
Johnny Ramone October 8th 1948 – September 15th 2004
Tommy Ramone January 29th 1949 – July 11th 2014
God Bless Da Brudders x
and Arturo Vega October 13th 1947 – June 8th 2013
Linda Stein April 24th 1945 – October 30th 2007

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BP Fallon & The Strypes live on The Paul McLoone Show on TodayFM

BP Fallon ~ vocals
Ross Farrelly ~ vocals/harmonica/backing vocals
Josh McClorey ~ guitar/backing vocals
Pete O’Halloran ~ bass guitar
Even Walsh ~ drums

‘I Believe In Elvis Presley’ by BP Fallon/Aaron Lee Tasjan

‘Still Gonna Drive You Home’ by Josh McClorey/Ross Farrelly/Pete O’Hanlon/Evan Walsh

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Josh McClorey & BP Fallon & Ross Farrelly by Niall Walsh

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Pete O’Hanlon & Evan Walsh by Niall Walsh

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Soundcheck “I-2-3-4″ via Fans Of The Strypes

With thanks to Paul McLoone, Ed Smith & Gavin Blake & a doff of the cap to Niall Walsh. What a brill vibe :)

Today Thursday March 19th 2015 ~
The Strypes play Kenny’s in Lahinch in Co Clare, Ireland on their Roadtest Tour.
BP Fallon plays his official SXSW Showcase at the Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas at midnight ~ in the band tonight are guitarists Aaron Lee Tasjan and Danny B Harvey and Joe King Carrasco ~ the fabled ‘BP Fallon Live In Texas’ lineup ~ plus backing vocals by The High Priestess Of Effervescence Annie Marie Lewis.

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BP Fallon & Annie Marie Lewis shake it at SXSW. Photography by Radek

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Just announced ~ BP Fallon will play eight gigs at SXSW in Austin, Texas, to celebrate the release of the new album ‘BP Fallon Live In Texas’. He will also speak on the SXSW panel that honours his friend and musical collaborator Ian McLagan who died suddenly in December.

The two guitar maestros Danny B Harvey and Joe King Carrasco ~ who both play on ‘Live In Texas’~ are in the SXSW band. Danny B Harvey voodoo man plays with rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson and with Lemmy of Motorhead too. And Joe King Carrasco, Texas legend and guitar hero who grew up on Hank B Marvin and Joe Meek and Wooly Bully.

Joining them on wildcat vocals and added effervescence and shaking a tailfeather is Annie Marie Lewis of the Lewis clan ~ Jerry Lee is her uncle, fact fans, she’s rock’n’roll royalty and the explosive Annie Marie Lewis, she is made for this.

And BP Fallon will warble and twitch and enjoy the whole sonic circus.

BP Fallon ~ vocals
Danny B Harvey ~ guitar/backing vocals
Joe King Carrasco ~ guitar/backing vocal
Annie Marie Lewis ~ backing vocals

Aaron Lee Tasjan ~ guitar/backing vocals/BP’s musical soul brother since they wrote ‘I Believe In Elvis Presley’ together six years ago ~ will join the rock’n’roll adventure here and there. And who knows who else might partake of the stage.

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Hot To Trot ~ Danny B Harvey & Annie Marie Lewis ~ photography by BP Fallon

Tues March 17th St Patrick’s Day
Noon ~ Opal Divine’s Marina, 12709 N Mopac Expy, Austin, TX 78727
3pm ~ Opal Divine’s Pen Field, 3601 S Congress Ave K100, Austin, TX 78704
5.40pm ~ Opal Divine’s Davenport, 3801 Capital of Texas Hwy N, Austin, TX 78746

Wed March 18th
2pm ~ Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABC
SXSW panel ‘Upward & Onward – Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan Remembered’.
500 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701
4pm Hotel Vegas ‘Good Vibrations’ party, 1500 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

Thurs March 19th ~
Midnight ~ Official SXSW Saustex Showcase Saxon Pub, 1320 Lamar Square Drive, Austin, TX 78704

Sat March 21st
5.15pm ~ Maria’s Taco Xpress hosted by Alejando Escovedo
2529 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Sun March 22nd
Afternoon ~ Red Horse Ranch
8pm ~ Continental Club hosted by Alejando Escovedo
1315 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

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The twang’s the thang! ~ BP Fallon & Danny B Harvey ~ photography by Nathan Edge

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BP Fallon & Aaron Lee Tasjan take their daily exercise on Red Horse Ranch ~ photography by Radek

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BP Fallon & Joe King Carrasco plus Eric Burdon of The Animals on Red Horse Ranch – photography by Brian McDermott

Come get it!!! BP Fallon Live In Texas at SXSW 2015. And what a band !!! :)

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IT’S ALIVE!!! THREE-HOUR SPECIAL WITH BP FALLON & PAUL McLOONE & THE STRYPES

To celebrate the release of his album ‘BP Fallon Live In Texas’, BP co-hosted the Paul McLoone Show on TodayFM with BP and Paul spinning some of the greatest live recordings ever ~ plus a surprise live performance in the TodayFM studio by BP Fallon & The Strypes

HEAR IT HERE 9 ~ 10pm Ist HOUR

collage-albums

The Clash – I Fought The Law
The Smiths – Panic
David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars – White Light/White Heat
Lou Reed – Sweet Jane
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)
Muddy Waters – She’s 19 Years Old
Bob Dylan – Hoochie Coochie Man
BP Fallon – Does Anyone Care What Anyone Says In Rock’n’Roll
MC5 – Kick Out The Jams

HEAR IT HERE 10 ~ 11pm 2nd HOUR

collage-albums

Blondie w/ Robert Fripp – “Heroes”
The Cramps – Thee Most Exalted Potentate Of Love
The Ramones – Chainsaw
The Strypes – Stormy Monday Blues
Live In Studio: BP Fallon & The Strypes – I Believe In Elvis Presley/I’m Still Gonna Drive You Home/I Believe In Elvis Presley
Live In Studio: The Strypes – Waiting For The End Of The World
Cliff Richard & The Drifters – My Babe
Jerry Lee Lewis & The Nashville Teens – Mean Woman Blues
Keith Richards – Gimmie Shelter

HEAR IT HERE 11pm ~ midnight 3rd HOUR

collage-albums

The Rolling Stones – Love In Vain
King Curtis & The Kingpins – Memphis Soul Stew
Little Stevie Wonder – Fingertips Pt 2
The White Stripes – I Fell In Love With A Girl
BP Fallon – Increasingly Often
Marc Bolan – Spaceball Ricochet
Leonard Cohen – Chelsea Hotel
Bob Dylan & The Band – Like A Rolling Stone

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Ed Smith (producer), Evan Walsh (Strypes drums/vocals), BP Fallon (DJing/vocals), Ross Farrelly (Strypes lead vocals/harmonica), Joss McClorey (Strypes guitar/vocals), Paul McLoone (DJing/Undertones lead vocals), Pete O’Hanlon (Strypes bass guitar/vocals) & Gavin Blake (sound). Photography by Niall Walsh

With many thanks to everyone ~ it was such a groove :)

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BP Fallon & Josh McClorey of The Strypes ~ maybe both of them will be live on the radio tonight ~ listen to hear!

Today Thurs Feb 19th 9pm to midnight GMT ~ in USA 4pm to 7pm EST ~ BP Fallon joins host Paul McLoone ~ plus special surprise guests ~ on the radio this evening to co-present ‘It’s Alive’ ~ three hours of the greatest live recordings by Primal Scream, MC5, Keith Richards, Jimi, Muddy, Hank, Dylan, JB, Sly, the world, whoever, all on stage and in your ears on the Paul McLoone Show on TodayFM.

This live records marathon is to celebrate the release of the superb live album ‘BP Fallon Live In Texas’.

‘BP Fallon Live In Texas’ buy now on iTunes only $8.99

Will there also be an amazing band playing live in the radio studio? Listen to find out!

HEAR TODAYFM HERE
Tonight ~ “It’s Alive!” 9pm to midnight GMT & in US 4pm to 7pm EST :)

BP Fallon & Paul McLoone “It’s Alive!” Three Hours Of The Greatest Live Recordings Live On The Radio
(TodayFM)

Love You Live x

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