Hey, do you love The Ramones? I sure do; so much so, that I even made the trek, by subway train and foot, all the way out to Flushing Meadows, Corona Park (a long, long ass way) to visit the Queens Museum, where there is a newly-opened exhibit that is all about Forest Hills, Queens favorite sons, the legendary Ramones. Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk, as you can imagine by the title, is pretty sweet.
On the exhibit’s opening day (April 10th) I journeyed out to Queens with an aggregate group of enthusiastic Ramones Fans, and when we arrived at the museum there was one line to buy tickets to get into the museum, and then another line just to get into the galleries that are showcasing the Ramones exhibit. Holy Mother of god, do I hate waiting on line(s). Fortunately, I know the right people, and one of those people is my friend Anne, who is good pals with Vera Ramone King (Dee Dee Ramone’s first wife, who is a lovely lady) and so we were able to get some Hot VIP Action and skip at least 90 minutes in “The Line Ride,” as I will call it. Mad props to Anne and Vera!
Here I am with Vera, and musician/songwriter Jana Peri!
In this expansive exhibit, the four original Ramones — Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Dee Dee — are most widely represented, along with Tommy’s replacement, drummer Marky Ramone (who had the longest tenure with the band outside of the original four founders), and to a lesser extent members who came along later in the band’s career, CJ and Richie, who show up in a few places. Not unexpectedly, the exhibit’s opening day was a complete madhouse and total party scene. You will learn so much about The Ramones as a group, and about each of them as people, when you visit this exhibit, but I’m going to skip all of that, because I know that everyone really only wants to see the photos. Enjoy!
One of the first things you will see when you enter the first of four galleries is this fun, specially commissioned cartoon map by Punk Magazine co-founder John Holmstrom, tracing the band’s path from Forest Hills to the downtown nightclub CBGB.
The first gallery is dedicated to the band’s songs and records, as well as memorabilia, swag, props, photos and magazines documenting the very first articles ever written on the band. The exhibit also celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the release of the first Ramones album!
Sire Records‘ promotional Ramones swag included T Shirts, actual size and miniature baseball bats, and a letter opener!
There are so many fantastic black and white photos to wax nostalgic over: from way Back in The Day, when The Ramones were just starting out, playing at the late great CBGB, and influencing every punk band, including now-legends of the British First Wave! Even Joe Strummer (RIP) was not shy about admitting how much The Clash ripped off The Ramones unique sound, in case you cannot hear it for yourself.
Joey Ramone Outside CBGB. David Johansen is on the Far Left. Danny Fields and Arturo Vega (Who Created The Ramones Famous Logo), are Also Pictured.
How great is this movie? I saw it in the theater right here in NYC when it was fist released in 1979. Oldness!
World famous pop artist and our good friend, Mark Kostabi poses with his original artwork for the cover of the final Ramones album, Adios Amigos. Mark told me that while the band loved being depicted as Dinosaurs, they did not want them to be wearing Dunce Caps, so Sombreros were substituted in the final album cover, shown below. Trivia!
The second gallery is dedicated to The Ramones On Tour. Here you will find posters, laminates, instruments and stage gear, tour riders and other paraphernalia that goes along with being a hard-touring band, which The Ramones were!
Because of the size of the crowd, I had to beak up this one wall into three shots, left to right.
Poster from The Ramones, The Damned and Talking Heads Gig in Paris, April 29, 1977.
The third exhibit gallery pays homage to The Ramones as individuals, and includes video kiosks and a wonderful collection of fan art/memorabilia that you’ve surely not seen before and will not see anywhere else.
Dee Dee Ramone was a prolific artist and cartoonist whose work has been shown posthumously in galleries such as La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles.
I really enjoyed discovering some cool, Ramones-tribute artworks and cartoons that I had no idea existed.
Joey seemed to me to be the heart of The Ramones, and he is much-loved and revered, in NYC especially, to this day.
Don’t Worry About Me…
Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara is a huge Ramones fan. To anyone familiar with is work, his style is immediately recognizable.
Ramones at CBGB Diorama
Gabba Gabba Hey!
Ramones Collectible Plate
Ramones By Japanese Artist Naoshi
The Ramones as Animated for The Simpsons
The final gallery is a screening room where you can sit, take a load off, and watch videos of the band in concert. Very nice.
When you consider their staggering legacy of music and enduring contribution to pop culture, it is heartbreaking to know that none of the four original Ramones survived to old age. Mark Kostabi created the above drawing of the Ramones as Angels after Tommy’s death in 2014. RIP.
I know that there are tons of photos here, and it seems that I must have taken a photo everything (which, probably), but trust me that all of these pictured items just scratch the surface of all of the amazing Ramones stuff that curator Marc H. Miller managed to gather all in one place. It is unbelievably great. You really must see it for yourself, even if it means having to leave Manhattan.
Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk will be on Exhibit until July 31st, 2016, at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, Corona Park. The Exhibit Moves to Los Angeles in September.