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Richie Ramone Plays Paladino’s for New Year’s Eve – No New Resolutions in 2016, Just Good Music

richie ramone-hi-fi-new-years-2016

Richie Ramone – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Richie Ramone will play a New Year’s Eve show that kicks off a new album and a European tour in 2016.

Ramone will play Paladino’s on New Year’s Eve, supported by Cairo Knife Fight, Kyle Gass Band, Kill My Coquette and Fatal Error.

Tickets are still available

Ramone, who played with the legendary group in the 1980s, has a new album, tentatively called “Cellophane,” which will feature nine new, unrecorded songs.

NYEPALFLYERv3“I’m really proud of this record,” Ramone said. “We’re writing the songs right now and we’re touring Europe.”

He’s written songs for the Ramones, probably the most well-known of which is “Somebody Put Something in my Drink.”


Europe has been a welcoming region for Ramone, who with Clare Misstake, Alex Kane and Ben Reagan, have nine upcoming stops in the U.K., a few Ireland shows and then hit Germany, Italy and Holland.  They’ll be back in the USA in the spring.

“You know, it’s half and half how we travel,” Ramone said. “We’ll take the plane, use the van. Touring is what we live and breathe.”

The reception to anything Ramones is huge overseas and over the years, Richie has built a reputation here in the US as well.

“The Ramones have devoted fans and I’m a piece of that,” Ramone says.


Alex Kane – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“And it’s always great that the people come out to the shows.  After the show, I talk to people and I’ve heard more than once —  or more than 10 times really — ‘I didn’t know what to expect.’  They get a good show and then they come back.”

Ramone is recording new material for the album now.

“This album is great I loved my first record, but on this is the bar is raised, I really love this record.  a lot of fast stuff.  I didn’t re-do any of the old songs.  The first record I did four or five songs from before. But these are all new songs – they’re still being written.  They’ve been around less than a year.”

Richie’s using his faithful band on the record. Clare has been with Richie three years and Alex has been with the group for two years.

“I’m using the band on the record,” Richie said. “They’ve been with me a while now.”

Some song titles include “Just To Be Clear,” “Cellophane” and “I Fixed This.”


Richie and Clare Misstake share a laugh at Hi Fi Rockfest last summer – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“We were touring Sweden that’s what they would say,” Ramone said. “If I say ‘I’d like a cheeseburger,’ they’d say ‘I fixed this.’  Funny things happen like that, and  I always put my personal experiences into my music.”

‘The fans lift me up and give me energy’

“‘Cellophane’ is all about how I feel.  We perform night after night.  I feel when I come to these shows I’m kind of tight or worn out.  The fans lift me up and the fans give me energy night after night.”

Right now it’s record time.


Richie Ramone – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“They used to say June Carter Cash would say, ‘Ok honey let’s go make some history,’   and when I heard that I always remembered it,” Ramone said.  “It’s amazing. Music lives forever, until the end of time there will be a copy somewhere.  I’ll see a single with my old band for hundreds of dollars, a little 45.  The stuff lives forever.”

As for the what’s coming up?

“All I can say is I’m really excited about 2016,” Ramone said. “I think it’s going to be a great year.”

Hi-Fi Rockfest: Punks Rock Queen Mary in New Long Beach SoCal Venue

Richie Ramone performs at Hi Fi Rockfest in Long Beach

Richie Ramone performs at Hi Fi Rockfest in Long Beach – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Queen Mary Events Park Hosts Sonics, Kennedys, The Two Tens

By DONNA BALANCIA – The first annual Hi-Fi Rockfest was an interesting mix with everyone from Luicidal showing its Southern California muscle and The Two Tens to  veterans The Dead Kennedys and Naked Raygun headlining.

At a new Long Beach venue, the bands performed in the shadow of The Queen Mary and the first-time event christened The Queen Mary Events Park for its first use, event employees said.  Parking, though pricey at $18, was convenient.

As for the performances, the new event brought in some top talent.


Richie Ramone – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Richie Ramone and his band performed some old favorites as well as some of his newer tunes.

Ramone, whose band was a clear favorite among attendees, played some of the notables, including “Somebody Put Something in my Drink,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Cretin Hop” and “I’m Not Jesus.”

“Richie’s a real showman,” said one Rockfest attendee. “He’s single-handedly bringing back the style of ’70s punk rock and what it’s all about.  I think he smelled a little like he was  drinking.”

Ramone drummed with pink sticks to call attention to Breast Cancer Awareness.  He walked on stage with a half-empty bottle of Jamison, which may have contributed to his collapse onto audience members who hoisted him back on the stage at one point during his set.

“It’s a hard way to make a living, sometimes I really wonder why I ever went into making music for a living,” he said afterwards.  Judging by the audience reaction, he’s doing just fine.  His album, Entitled, is strong and he’s coming out with a new project soon.


Trevor of the True Rivals – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Upstarts the True Rivals, based in Los Angeles, held the audience attention as they jumped and moved all over the stage.

“We enjoy what we do,” said frontman Kevin Bensignano. “It’s cool to be able to play with these great bands.”

The True Rivals is a band to watch.

Detroit’s Downtown Brown was entertaining with a great front man who stole the show.

The concert kicked off with The Two Tens, whose set included “Ella Don’t Like My Hat,” “I Can’t Win,” and other up and coming hits.  Vocalist and guitarist Adam Bones is dynamic and his hair seems to have a life of its own. Drummer Rikki Styxx is a wild woman behind the kit and has friends and family in all facets who support the music.


The Sonics – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The Dollyrots’ Kelly Ogden, Luis Cabeza and even their 2-year-old son, River, on hand.  Styxx recently played with The Dollyrots on their recently ended tour.

The Sonics, meanwhile, still know how to put on a show after many years in the limelight.  The original punk rockers had the crowd jumping, despite drummer Dusty Watson losing a stick into the audience — and the extreme heat of the day.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”21″ gal_title=”California Punk Weekend”]

Punk Weekend Rocks With Cheetah Chrome, James Williamson in SF Show

Cheetah Chrome James Williamson and Streetwalkin' Cheetahs

Cheetah Chrome James Williamson and Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs – photo by Kuuguy1

By DONNA BALANCIA – It was a great weekend in California for the punks.

Cheetah Chrome and The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs hit San Francisco; Richie Ramone, The Sonics and The Dead Kennedys rocked The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif.; and Bad Religion and Guttermouth played the Picnic in Pozo.

On a day that brought out punk rock’s best across California, the choice was difficult as inevitably, fans opted to go regional.

Cheetah Chrome

Cheetah Chrome gave a great one-off show in San Francisco – Photo © 2015 Russell Allen

Cheetah Chrome of Dead Boys fame took the stage of San Francisco’s Verdi Club stage with his West Coast Band, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, and gave the crowd its money’s worth.

“The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs got the call to back Cheetah Chrome at this awesome punk festival and he mentioned that James Williamson would be sitting in, but to keep it secret for a while,” said Frank Meyer of The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs. “Eventually the word got out, so there were  definitely a lot of Stooges fans in the audience.

“The place was packed and Cheetah’s set was well-received throughout. Then the place went absolutely berserk when James came on stage,” Meyer said.  “People are fascinated by him.”

Chrome and the Cheetahs opened with the classic “Big Cat,” and played some favorites including the RFTT tune “Amphetamine,” “Ain’t It Fun,” with Ralph Carney from Tom Waits’ band on sax, and Williamson came on for “Raw Power” and “Search And Destroy.”

Williamson, who last January hosted the Re-Licked concert featuring Chrome and The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, had one question about the gig: “‘Ain’t It Fun’ to catch up with Cheetah Chrome?” he asked.



See video of James Williamson, Cheetah Chrome and The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs here courtesy of Kuuguy1:

The California Rocker Interview: Richie Ramone Talks New Album, Family and Life in the Suburbs

Richie Ramone - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Richie Ramone – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Richie Ramone may be one of the last of the Ramones, but today he’s creating new traditions.

The former drummer of the Ramones has his own band with whom he tours the world, he has a true family, and lives in the heart of Southern California.

Richie Ramone and his band will be playing the Hi Fi Rockfest at the Queen Mary Events Park in Long Beach on Sept. 26.

At the day-long show, he joins bands including the Dead Kennedys, Naked Raygun, Street Dogs and The Two Tens.

“The Rockfest will be a great time,” Ramone said. “It’s gonna be cool playing with the Dead Kennedys and the rest of the bands. We’re looking forward to it.”

With a new record on the horizon and a steady gig as a touring musician, Ramone, born in New Jersey as Richard Rheinhardt — says things ain’t half bad.  A few years back, he relocated for the warm weather of the valley, where he lives with his fiance, Tiffany, and their three rescue dogs.

“I got it pretty good,” Ramone said. “I’m writing music, I’m touring and I’m not in the snow,  Life’s good.”

As a drummer and songwriting member of the Ramones from 1984-1987, he learned a lot from his band mates.  During 500 live performances with Joey and the crew, Richie watched and took it all in.

Joey Ramone credited Richie with helping steer the band into new territory during the later years.

The creator of such hits as “Somebody Put Something in my Drink,”  Richie also wrote “I’m Not Jesus,” “Can’t Say Anything Nice,” “I Know Better Now,” “Humankind” and “Smash You” the title track the Ramones’ re-release, Smash You: Live ’85.

Richie Ramone - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Richie Ramone played a recent gig in Hollywood – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

He went from playing in some hit-and-miss New York-area bands to being the drummer of choice for the punk icons and he played some 500 live performances with Joey and the crew.

And during that time, he watched and learned. The experience was invaluable for eventually running his own band.  Ramone released his first solo album, called Entitled in 2013.

While he’s a talented songwriter, perhaps the best part of the job, Ramone says, is performing.

“I love touring all over the place, but I love Europe, it’s more rowdy,” Ramone said. “I think it’s because it’s a different culture and the people don’t stand around with their arms crossed.  In the U.S. it’s more reserved, and even in the U.K., it’s more reserved.”

He’ll be touring in Europe starting in February to support his band’s new record called In The Neighborhood, Ramone said.

Why is it called that, and what’s on the record?

“Hey, I’m not giving away my secrets,” he laughed.

It’s a safe bet the record doesn’t have anything to do with Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood — or his own block in the valley.

But we won’t know what’s going on with the record because he said he’s not going to play anything off In The Neighborhood at Hi-Fi Rockfest, and he’s not giving any hints about the product.

Richie Ramone - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Richie Ramone – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“I don’t do that because really, you yourself have to know what’s good,” he said.  “Some people will love it, and some people won’t and that’s that.”

But Ramone’s looking forward to getting on the road, and that’s for more than the big reason of playing to the crowds.

“I love checking out the food from all over the world, like when we’re in the U.K., we’ll have Bangers and Mash, and of course, I love the food in Italy.”

Speaking of Italy, it’s also one of Ramone’s favorite places to play – he says the crowd really gets into it, it’s more rowdy he says.

Meanwhile back home in the valley, Ramone and Tiffany tend to the three rescue dogs — Greta, a boxer, and two miniature pinchers Jack, and Curley.

“Three dogs, that’s enough,” Ramone said.

At Hi-Fi Rockfest, expect to see Ramone alternate between drumming and fronting. Ramone says it’s the way he likes to do it.

“That’s how we keep it real,” said Ramone after a recent gig at Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood.  “I’m a drummer first.  But I can’t sit behind the drums all night, I need to connect.”

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