MTV Video Music Awards
DVD Offers Inside Look At The Ramones
From the time he rejoined the Ramones in 1987, drummer Marky Ramone toted a video camera during the band's trips around the world. It's that footage that allows fans intimate access to the legendary NFrom the time he rejoined the Ramones in 1987, drummer Marky Ramone toted a video camera during the band's trips around the world. It's that footage that allows fans intimate access to the legendary New York punk group on "Raw," the band's first authorized DVD.
Due Sept. 28 via Image Entertainment, the DVD was compiled by director John Cafiero with the help of Marky and guitarist Johnny Ramone.
"Marky shot over 200 two-hour Hi-8 tapes," Cafiero tells Billboard.com. "As a result of watching them all, I really did feel like I had been on the road with them for years, which was kind of a dream come true for a kid who grew up loving the Ramones."
The DVD's main feature plays like a lighthearted scrapbook of the Ramones, with highlights of the band's 20-year career. More than 20 songs, television and concert clips and videos are interspersed with footage of the band members enduring life on the road.
"There's a lot of things... that I was really grateful to put in because if I didn't have that camera, nobody would have," Marky Ramone tells Billboard.com.
While the Ramones were as well known for their infighting as for their short blasts of rock fury, Marky's footage belies that aspect of the band's notoriety.
"You know, in order to fight and argue, you've got to be close," Marky says.
"All bands have their problems and conflicts, and there's no denying that the Ramones had their share," Cafiero adds. "But the raw footage, no pun intended, did not lie at all. There was no doubt about it that the band genuinely enjoyed themselves and had a good time."
Marky admits that working on the disc brought a lot of emotions to the surface, especial relating to two deceased members of the band: frontman Joey Ramone and founding bassist Dee Dee Ramone.
"You start dreaming of them," he says. "It's good to see the images, but along with that comes the reality, and the reality is that they just died too early and they still had a lot to offer."
In all, more than five hours of Ramones material populates the disc, on which Marky and Johnny Ramone offer a running audio commentary on the main feature.
Other bonuses include television appearances, including several on the low-budget New Jersey-based "Uncle Floyd Show," the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receipt of an MTV lifetime achievement award, 18 scenes deleted from the feature and a dozen hidden "Easter eggs" that fans will have to hunt through the disc's menus to find.
But the prize bonus is "I Ramone," a half-hour of concert footage captured in Rome in 1980, just after the release of the band's Phil Spector-produced album, "End of the Century." Shot on film, it laid forgotten in the vaults of an Italian television station for two decades after its one-time broadcast.
"It was a good time in the group," Marky remembers. "We were never in Italy [before] and it was something different. We were in Rome and it was [in a park] behind the Vatican ... where the Pope lives! Too bad he didn't want to see the show."
Both Cafiero and Ramone warn that "Raw" is likely the holy grail of memorable Ramones footage and fans shouldn't expect to locate more in the future.
"[In the Ramones' era] there really wasn't the access to the stuff ... like video cameras. Things were too big to lug around," Ramone says. "These are really the best incidences of the whole thing. To be honest, I think this is the cream of the crop."