EAST VILLAGE, NY—Richard Reinhardt is best known as Richie Ramone, the drummer for the Ramones from 1982 to 1987. During those years, he also performed as Richard Beau on albums by Velveteen and Fred Schneider. He then disappeared from the music scene. 20 years later, he debuted a classical composition entitled “Suite For Drums And Orchestra,” based on themes from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, with the Pasadena Pops in 2007. (He is proposing another “Suite For Drums And Orchestra,” this one based on James Bond movie songs.) He recorded with a few little-known bands beginning in 2011, and in 2013 released his first solo album, Entitled, which featured new songs written by Richie as well as new recordings of songs he wrote for the Ramones.
Sometimes it seems like anyone who played in the Ramones even briefly has been limited to tribute performances to the punk rock icons. While CJ and Marky Ramone have specialized in covering Ramones songs for new audiences, Richie Ramone has in part moved on.
Tonight at The Bowery Electric, Richie led a 20-song set comprised of newer songs he introduced on his solo album along with songs he wrote or performed with the Ramones. The show opened with “Criminal,” the lead track from his solo album, followed by two songs he wrote for the Ramones, “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” and “Smash You.” He later sang additional songs he wrote for the Ramones, including “I Know Better Now,” “Humankind,” “(You) Can’t Say Anything Nice,” “I’m Not Jesus” and the unreleased “Elevator Operator.”
Ironically, when he covered Ramones songs that pre-dated his period with the band, he did not pick the best known songs, except perhaps “Loudmouth,” “I Just Want To Have Something To Do,” “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Cretin Hop.” Nevertheless, the significant element of this evening’s performance was that it was a new presentation of older works.
Very much like the Ramones, the music was fast, simple and thrusting power pop; very unlike the Ramones, a great many of the songs featured stinging hard rock leads by guitarist Alex Kane. The quartet was more than ably completed by bassist Clare Misstake and guitarist Ben Reagan, who moved to drums on the songs when Ramone left his kit for the microphone at the edge of the stage. In the end, the package worked; fans who came to hear Ramones got what they came for and also graduated to a new band with new songs and more musical virtuosity.
For more on Richie Ramone, go to richieramone.com.