MANHATTAN, NY—Joey Ramone, the late vocalist of the groundbreaking punk band the Ramones, this year would have turned 65 years old on May 19. For the past 16 years, this day has been reserved for an annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash at a local venue, drawing many of his contemporaries and recalling the glory days of the late 1970s punk rock movement. This year the event was held at The Studio At Webster Hall.
Ramone’s late mother, Charlotte Lesher, and brother, Mickey Leigh, organized the first Joey Ramone Birthday Bash one month after Ramone lost his seven-year battle with lymphoma in April 2001. Lesher and Leigh had promised Ramone that they would celebrate his 50th birthday. That first tribute was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The event has continued annually, drawing many of New York’s original punk rockers to celebrate and perform Ramones songs.
This year’s concert began with mini-concerts by David Peel & The Lower East Side, The Threads, The Queers, Tracy Thornton’s Pan For Punks, Blue Coupe and Barb Wire Dolls. Craig Leon, the producer of the first Ramones album, answered questions from the audience. That Ramones album celebrates its 40th anniversary, so various performers took the stage to re-create the album with a house band consisting of guitarists Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys and Walt Stack of The Bullys, bassist Mike Watt of The Minutemen and The Stooges and drummer Clem Burke of Blondie.
All proceeds from the concert went to lymphoma research in memory of Ramone. Further donations may be contributed to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research at P.O. Box 1107, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276.
Show date: May 19, 2016