HEY HO! LET’S GO!
My sister graduated high school in 1984 and my gift to her was meeting the Ramones. It wasn’t difficult – I called their management company and said I wanted to interview Joey for my college radio station, WOZQ (which was true). Then I called their road manager. Then Joey Ramone called my house and I interviewed him for 45 minutes. He was every bit as nice and sweet and funny as you’ve heard, and he did a station ID for ‘OZQ. And then we were on the list for the show at this dive bar/restaurant in the middle of Connecticut.
When we got to the venue (“venue” is really an overstatement) the bouncer informed us that there was no list because the band’s van had broken down and they were scrambling to find transport for the band and their equipment and their roadies. I could not convince the bouncer to let us in. We were both underage and there was no list. So my sister and I waited in the parking lot behind the venue, trying to maintain our look (super-cute-new-wave-girls) while pacing between a picnic table and a Dumpster. Finally a couple of cars drove up. I pounced on the non-Ramone, a business-looking guy who was driving. “Are you Morty?” I demanded. He seemed surprised to be accosted while the band roamed freely behind him, but he said, yes, he was. I bitched and whined about the mean old bouncer who wouldn’t let us super-cute-new-wave-girls in because after all WE WERE ON THE LIST. Clearly we should have been his top priority.
The poor man must have been exhausted and might have actually had different priorities but he walked up to the door with us and told the bouncer to let us in. The bouncer refused. In my memory he is about 6’3” with enormous biceps and shoulders like speed bumps. This memory may or may not be accurate. In any case the road manager, this Morty, persisted. “Are you girls going to be drinking?” “No, sir,” we assured him (that was actually true; we had no money and besides, I was driving back to Hatfield after the show, provided my Fiat started).
“So let them in already.” Morty was already walking away, back towards “backstage,” the dirt parking lot with the picnic table and the Dumpster. The bouncer grimaced and let us in, redefining “grudgingly.” I’d like to think my sister and I hugged and kissed Morty the beleaguered road manager, but I think we just smirked at the bouncer and flounced into the venue. Which was a dive bar/restaurant in the middle of Connecticut with a dirt parking lot and American Colonial furniture surrounding the dance floor.
The set finally started. It was loud and awesome, just like the other seven times I saw the Ramones. My sister and I were in the middle of the dance floor. I don’t remember anything about the crowd; in my memory it’s just a lot of shadowy silhouettes. In any case I’m sure no one was as super-cute as we were. After their first few songs Joey said hello to the crowd. I don’t remember ever hearing a lot of chatter between songs at Ramones shows, just Joey pausing for breath while everyone waited to hear Dee Dee count it down. ONE TWO THREE FOUR and they were off again. But that night Joey said, “we’d like to say hi to our new friend, Hope. Hi, Hope!” My sister went berserk. She jumped up and down and screamed and waved and yelled “THAT’S MY SISTER!”
We met the band after the show and it was extremely cool. But I will never forget seeing my little sister after Joey said hi from the stage, her glorious red hair, Mickey Mouse t-shirt & denim mini-skirt, super-cute and excited and happy and rocking right out.