Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk at the Queens Museum

The Ramones By Shepard Farley
L to R: Dee Dee, Tommy, Joey, and Johnny. Portraits of the Original Ramones by Shepard Fairey (All Photos By Gail)

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.

Queens Museum Crowd
This is Just The Crowd Waiting to Get In to the Exhibit

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!

Gail Vera Jana

Here I am with Vera, and musician/songwriter Jana Peri!

Art By Yoshitomo Nara
Art By Yoshitomo Nara That was Commissioned For This Exhibit

In this expansive exhibit, the four original RamonesJoey, 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!

Ramones Map

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.

Ramones Albums
Covers of All of the Ramones Albums

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!

Installation View
Installation View of First Gallery

Johnny Ramone Red T Shirt
Johnny Ramone’s Red T Shirt from the Cover of End of the Century

T Shirts and Swag

Sire Records‘ promotional Ramones swag included T Shirts, actual size and miniature baseball bats, and a letter opener!

Ramones Leave Subway
Ramones Leave Subway

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.

Ramones Chrissie Damned
The Ramones with Chrissie Hynde, and Rat Scabies and Brian James from The Damned

Johnny and Tommy
Johnny and Tommy

Ramones at CBs

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.

Marky PJ Johnny Dee Dee
Marky with Actress PJ Soles, and Johnny and Dee Dee from the Set of Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

Rock N Roll High School Poster
Rock ‘N’ Roll High School Movie Poster

How great is this movie? I saw it in the theater right here in NYC when it was fist released in 1979. Oldness!

Mark Kostabi with Adios Amigos Album Art

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!

Adios Amigos Album Art

Ramones Tour Posters
A Selection of Ramones’ Tour Posters from All Over the Globe

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!

Ramones Jeans and Jackets
Amp, with Jeans, T-Shirts and Leather Jackets Worn by The Ramones, Plus Marky’s Autographed Snare Drum

Because of the size of the crowd, I had to beak up this one wall into three shots, left to right.

Ramones Accessories
Sneakers, Microphones, Drum Sticks, Gloves, Glasses, Belt, etc.

Guitars and Amp
Guitars and Tour Case

Ramones and The Damned

Poster from The Ramones, The Damned and Talking Heads Gig in Paris, April 29, 1977.

Ramones T Shirt
The Merch Table: Ramones Concert Ts

Ramones Badges
Ramones Badges

Ramones Tour Rider
Ramones Tour Rider: Dressing Room Catering

Ramones Backstage Passes
Ramones Tour Laminates and Backstage Access Passes

Johnny Japanese Visa
Johnny’s Japanese Visa Application
Video Room Installation View
Third Gallery Installation View with Video Kiosks

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 at the Chelsea Hotel
Dee Dee at the Chelsea Hotel, 1993

Art By Dee Dee

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.

Johnny and Joey as Rats
Cartoons by Dee Dee depicting Johnny and Joey as Rats.

I really enjoyed discovering some cool, Ramones-tribute artworks and cartoons that I had no idea existed.

Joey Ramone Place

Joey seemed to me to be the heart of The Ramones, and he is much-loved and revered, in NYC especially, to this day.

Joey Waves

Don’t Worry About Me…

Joey Collage
Likeness of Joey Created from a Collage of Magazine Photos

Art By Yoshitomo Nara

Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara is a huge Ramones fan. To anyone familiar with is work, his style is immediately recognizable.

Ramones CBGB Diorama

Ramones at CBGB Diorama

Gabba Gabba Hey

Gabba Gabba Hey!

Ramones Plate

Ramones Collectible Plate

Japanese Fan Art

Ramones By Japanese Artist Naoshi

Ramones on the Simpsons

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.

Art By Mark Kostabi

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.

Adios Amigos

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2 thoughts on “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk at the Queens Museum

  1. Love this post! Heard about this exhibit from friends and should try to make it down there. Read the book “Please Kill Me” a couple years back and was super surprised (as you mentioned) how much The Clash and the British scene were just blatantly ripping off The Ramones and CBGB scene. Very interesting to learn! I’m going to share this post on my FB page – good stuff!

  2. I have to go see this. I got the first Ramones album the day it came out in my small towni n Ontario. I had heard “Basement” on the radio and knew this was something that I wanted to be a part of. I never saw the Ramones live I dont know why but at the first Lolapalooza in Toronto, when Jane’s addiction came onstage Joey was standing off to the side, not ten feet away from me. I waved! He smiled! To this day I think the Ramones are the greatest American Rock band, ever.

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