The Curse of the Ramones
When he was in his teens, Joey began behaving oddly – climbing in and out of bed repeatedly before he was ready for sleep, leaving food out of the refrigerator at night, becoming hostile with his mother when she asked him why he was acting strangely. Once, he pulled a knife on her. He started to hear voices, and could burst into inexplicable anger. In 1972, he voluntarily entered St. Vincent’s Hospital for an evaluation and was kept for a month. There, doctors diagnosed him as paranoid schizophrenic, “with minimal brain damage.” Another psychiatrist had told Joey’s mother, “He’ll most likely be a vegetable.” Not long after, his mother moved into a smaller apartment in the same building but didn’t take him along; instead, he slept on the floor of her gallery.
But by then, Joey had found his path out of a life of cutoff prospects and mental limitation. “Rock & roll was my salvation,” he said in 1999. Another time, he said, “I remember being turned on to the Beach Boys, hearing ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ But the Beatles really did it to me. Later on, the Stooges were a band that helped me in those dark periods – just get out the aggression.” As a teen, he rented a high-hat, and tapped along to the rhythms of the Beatles and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Joey later discovered the epoch-changing music of David Bowie – which offered a new kind of identity and pride to nonconformists. Joey started bands and joined a glam-rock group called Sniper as lead singer, wearing a tailor-made, skintight outfit and calling himself Jeff Starship. He had already left Sniper when, in early 1974, Dee Dee asked him to join him and Johnny in their new band. When Johnny first met Joey, he thought Joey “was just a spaced-out hippie,” according to the singer’s little brother, Mickey Leigh, in his memoir, I Slept With Joey Ramone.
The new bandmates began practicing in Johnny’s apartment; they determined early on that they should come up with a new song every time they met. At one of those early sessions, they discussed what to call themselves. “Dee Dee got the name ‘the Ramones’ from Paul McCartney,” Tommy said. “McCartney would call himself Paul Ramon when he checked into hotels and didn’t want to be noticed. I liked it because I thought it was ridiculous. The Ramones? That’s absurd! We all started calling ourselves Ramones because it was just a fun thing to do. There were times we were pretty lighthearted when we were putting this together.”
Internet Archive Loses First Battle in Publishers' Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
- 'The Fight Continues'
Tennessee Moves to Permanently Expel Police Officers Who Beat Tyre Nichols
- Police Accountability