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  • Writer's pictureJohn Carlow

Have the Rolling Stones Killed.........

Back in October of 2007 I went to Lucky Bar to see a Ramones tribute band out of Vancouver I knew nothing about. I recall Black Flab was on the bill. I was just starting out shooting live music. Years later I look back on the many wild Ramores gigs I’ve shot at various venues (mostly Tavern of the Damned ) since and thought, its high time to pay tribute to this tribute.

Chat/ images John Carlow/Finding Charlotte Photography & the Ramores

In 2000 the Ramores played their first gig at The Java Joint in Surrey, BC. This tribute to New York punk legends, The Ramones, has since played over 60 gigs with over 20 different “cast” members. Check out the loaded roster at the end of this story.

AU:Who am I speaking with and how are you connected to the Ramores?

Joey Ramore. Singer, founding member.

AU:How did this all come about? Was the foundation for The Ramores created from The Jolts?

JR:The Ramores actually predate the Jolts by about 5 years. We came up with the idea when my band at the time, The Bitchin' Cow-Punk Massacre, couldn't find anyone to open a Halloween gig we booked at the Java Joint in Surrey. My good friend Erik (Ricky Ramore) and I decided we could just put on wigs and do 10 Ramones songs – how hard could it be? We put the word out on the BC Punk List (the local punk message board) that we were looking for a rhythm section and ended up with Rob from The Retreads (Robbie Ramore) and Kristen (Billy Ramore) from Blue Collar Bullets, completing the original lineup. We originally practiced in my parent’s garage but would eventually jam in the back room at the Java Joint.

AU:The name?

JR:We had a few stupid names we kicked around originally, but then Ricky suggested we use The Ramores. That name came about because in my grade 12 annual I had thanked all my favorite bands, but because of my sloppy writing, I ended up thanking “The Ramores". We thought it was funny.

AU:You decided to play a certain early era of the band. How did you come to that decision?

JR:We originally picked whatever songs we felt like doing (we definitely played “R.A.M.O.N.E.S” and “Spiderman” at our early shows), but as we started taking it more seriously, we just gravitated to the first four albums. The energy of those songs is just so simple and pure. By 2007, when the rest of The Jolts guys fully joined, we wanted a template to work off of, so we just did It’s Alive from start to finish for a while.

AU:Will fans ever hear “Durango 95” opening a Ramores show?

JR:We started all our gigs with “Durango 95” in the early days, but with so many great songs to choose from, I usually prefer to get right to the classics (and I just love the instant chaos when we start with “Rockaway Beach”).

AU:Have you ever been in communication with anyone from The Ramones?

JR:No. Never meet your idols, right? Although Evan (Vinnie Ramore) and Dylan (Donny Ramore) opened CJ Ramones’ UK tour dates in 2018 with The Isotopes.

AU:What do you do to stay as authentic as possible to the actual Ramones?

JR:Not sure if there's anything we do consciously, besides leather jackets and pizza. The current lineup all learned how to play instruments from listening to the Ramones, so it's pretty easy to channel the attitudes and sounds of our favourite band.

AU:Some of your stage banter is excerpted from Ramones gigs. I noticed “I’d just like to say this gig sucks! “ from the Ramones Simpsons appearance , sometimes draws a confused look from some who don’t know the reference.

JR:I love to pull stage banter directly from live recordings, and that one is just perfect. We've played the Happy Birthday song that they do on the Simpsons, as well.

AU:Memorable gigs?

We played Keithmas (the annual Keith Richards birthday foodbank fundraiser) one year when the Jolts weren't able to do it and put together an awesome set of four Rolling Stones songs as the Ramones. I'm sure it confused a lot of people.

We also got asked to play the first gig at CBDB's (now Bullet Farm), doing all of Rocket to Russia, to a crowd that pogo’d until the whole building was shaking and the wooden floor was bouncing.

AU:What was the funniest/ or unusual thing to ever happen at a Ramores show?

JR:Our first big gig was Naughty Camp 2001. I think we played at noon on the Sunday, in front of a 100% hungover crowd. During “The Crusher”, two women in luchador masks jumped on stage for a fight.

Also, wig mishaps have been common over the years, but I think we have it figured out now.

AU:Are there plans to build on to the show in the future, or keep it status quo? ( later material….a Schlitzie Pinhead maybe…? )

JR:Our plan is to get back on track, performing all the Ramones albums chronologically. We’ve done the first three now and are working on getting Road to Ruin and End of the Century ready to go.

Hey Ho…………..Lets Go !

Current lineup

* Joey (Sean) - vocals - The Jolts

* Donny (Dylan) - bass - guitar - Dylan Rysstad, The Jolts, Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club, The Projectors, The Mandelbaums, The Badamps, Neo Nasties

* Grassy (Shane) - bass - Sore Points, Nervous Talk, Hot Blood Bombers

* Daddy (Trevor) - Sore Points, Nervous Talk, The Ballantynes

Former Members

* Ricky (Erik) - guitar

* Billy (Billy) - drums -Blue Collar Bullets, Billy the Kid, Billy Pettinger

* Robby (Rob) - bass - The Retreads, The McCrackins

* Nicky (Nicky) - drums - The Hextalls

* Vinnie (Evan) - bass - The Jolts, Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club, The Kidnappers

* Matty (Matt) - drums - The Jolts, Street Legal Dirt Bike, All Star Assassins

* Marko (Mark) - drums

* Lucky (Lucas) - guitar - The Spinoffs, The Chick Magnets, Tarleks

* Shitty (Shane) - guitar - The Badamps, The Spinoffs, The Radii

* Snakey (Matt) - bass - Battle Snakes, Shitty Neighbors

* JJ (Josh) – bass - The Jolts, Fashionism, Chain Whip, Greenback High

* Huey (Evan) - bass - guitar - The Jolts, Tang, Oswald

* Juicy (Jeske) - guitar - The Wanna-Be's, Hanzai

* Minnie (Chris) - guitar - Repossessors, The Get Highs

Edited version was Published Absolute Underground Volume 18-5 Issue 107


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