Richie Ramone’s first solo CD “Entitled” and U.S. tour
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
(Originally published in the NAMM 2014 Issue of Rock N Roll Industries)
Being a die-hard Ramones fan, it was truly an honor to have the opportunity to sit down with the legendary drummer Richie Ramone. Richie Ramone, who joined the Ramones in 1983 and recorded three studio albums with the band, is the only Ramones drummer to ever be the sole composer/writer of Ramones songs and sing lead vocals. Richie released his first solo CD, “Entitled,” on October 8th, 2013 and is about to embark on a U.S. tour.
Richie Ramone will be embarking on a North American tour, starting January 29th in Las Vegas and ending with a homecoming show in L.A. in March. Details are still in the works for L.A., but the show will be full of surprises. Richie’s first video for “Criminal,” which was directed by Steven Hanft, debuted on Billboard.com in early January.
Richie Ramone’s current line-up includes Alex Kane (Life Sex & Death/Clam Abuse/AntiProduct) on guitar, Clare Misstake (UK tribute band the Ramonas/NOiZEE) on bass, and Ben Reagan (The Feederz) on rhythm guitar (and drums).
METAL BABE MAYEM: You released your first solo CD “Entitled” on October 8th, 2013. How has the overall response been so far?
Richie Ramone: The album has been getting great reviews and the fans are eager for my North America Tour, which starts January 29th in Las Vegas. DC Jam Records is doing a killer job with the record.
MBM: That’s great! What can fans expect from a live Richie Ramone show?
Richie: Something to sink their teeth into and a night they will never forget. My shows are like a big party where everyone gets hammered and has a good time. We will play all the songs off the new album, as well as some classic Ramones songs, and a few surprises thrown into the set. I want the fans to be part of the show and sing along with me. Coming to a city near you, so don’t miss out.
MBM: I think it’s awesome that you are doing both drums and vocals for this project.
RICHIE: Yeah, I play drums and sing. I come out to the front too, and the second guitar player jumps on the drums so I can mingle with the people. It’s kind of hard to just stay behind the kit all night and sing, but I just don’t want to stand up front and just be a front man either. People know me for my drumming, so I make both things happen.
MBM: You have the best of both worlds. How would you describe the sound and style of the band?
RICHIE: It came out just like I wanted. I wanted it to have a punk edge with a metal influence. That’s why I got Tommy Bolan to record on the CD. He is an amazing shredder who adds that color to the record that’s not so blues based. It’s more iconic. You know, different notes that blues players really don’t play. (LAUGHS) And that’s why I like it. It gave it its own sound and came out really good. I like that. Now you have aggression and anger… All that stuff coming out. Metal and punk… Put them both together and it’s pretty heavy.
MBM: I read that Alex Kane recently replaced Tommy Bolan. What happened?
Richie: Tommy is working on another NYC album and was not able to come on the road. Sometimes things just work out that way.
MBM: I think it’s really cool that Alex Kane is playing guitar in the band. How did you connect with him?
Richie: I’ve known Alex for a couple of years, and he is a great player. We have worked together on some other projects, and it was just a matter of time before we would tour together. He is a very exciting player.
MBM: How did your bass player, Claire Misstake, come into the band?
RICHIE: I’ve known Claire for a couple years and we have worked together on and off. I wanted to do something different for the touring band and Claire’s perfect. She sings good, she’s total pro, and she has real high energy. She lays that solid foundation down for us, which I like.
MBM: How did you find Ben Reagan, who plays rhythm guitar in the band, and switches to drums when you’re up front on vocals?
Richie: Ben had a habit of stalking me for the longest time, and everywhere I went in Hollywood, he would be there. Finally we got to talking and now he is playing with me. Ben does it all, and is a very important element for the live shows.
MBM: What inspired you at this point in your life to come out with this project?
RICHIE: That’s a good question. It’s just something inside of me that wanted to get out. That’s how it happened. (LAUGHS) Kinda weird.
MBM: Did you write all the material?
RICHIE: Yeah. Tommy co-wrote one song with me, but it’s all my material and I re-recorded like three or four songs from The Ramones days that I wrote for them. I did them with my own sound.
RICHIE: “Humankind” is on there. “Smash You,” which people really like, is on there. That one’s pretty poppy. “I’m not Jesus” is on there also.
MBM: I noticed that “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” didn’t make the final cut.
RICHIE: Yeah. That’s on the vinyl only. Not on the CD. It’s a bonus track.
MBM: That’s good reason for people to buy the vinyl.
RICHIE: Yeah, so many bands have covered that song. I wanted to make it a special little bonus thing.
MBM: What was the inspiration on that song? Is there a story behind it?
RICHIE: When we first moved to New York City I had no money. I was like 17 or 18 years old. We went to the clubs and when everybody got up to dance we’d steal their drinks off the table. One time I got a drink that was laced with LSD. That’s how the story came about. We’d go and we’d drink anything we could find.
MBM: That’s crazy. I read that you will be playing SJC Custom Drums while you’re on tour. How did you connect with them?
Richie: I first played their drums in London a few years ago and thought they sounded great. So I contacted one of their reps, Geo, and they made me a kit with the exact specs I wanted. SJC really takes care of me!
MBM: Very cool. Anything else you would like to say to your fans?
Richie: Thank you for being the greatest fans in the world. Get “Entitled,” get your tix to one of my shows, and I will see you soon. Peace….
MBM: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk Richie. It has truly been an honor. I wish you all the best with “Entitled” and your future endeavors.
For more information on Richie Ramone, please visit: www.richieramone.com