John Cafiero is living a punk rock fan's dream. In recording the debut album for his band Osaka Popstar, the singer/guitarist has recruited former members of the Ramones, the Misfits, Black Flag and t
John Cafiero is living a punk rock fan's dream. In recording the debut album for his band Osaka Popstar, the singer/guitarist has recruited former members of the Ramones, the Misfits, Black Flag and the Voidoids.
A lifelong Ramones fan, Cafiero is particularly thrilled to have drummer Marky Ramone behind the kit for the album. "I'm honored, because when I had garage bands in high school, I always used to tell people, 'Just play like Marky Ramone,' and nobody could ever do it," he tells Billboard.com.
"Marky's really in top form," he adds. "He's always been a phenomenal drummer, but I've got to say that he only continues to get better. Now, 20-25 years later, he's really at the top of his game."
Cafiero also tapped the talents of Misfits bassist Jerry Only, Black Flag guitarist Dez Cadena and singer/songwriter Daniel Johnston. Additionally, the sessions served as a musical reunion for Ramone and Ivan Julian, who were bandmates in trailblazing New York punk act Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Julian contributes guitar, bass and piano to several tracks, including covers of the Hell classics "Blank Generation" and "Love Comes in Spurts."
"Ivan was always a very good guitar player," Ramone says. "It was good seeing him. He's healthy, he's in good shape and he's still playing the guitar good."
Recording for the set, dubbed "Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk," was put on hold while Cafiero worked on compiling and directing the forthcoming Ramones DVD  "Raw," due Sept. 28 via Image Entertainment.
"When Marky first asked me to do 'Raw' I was in the middle of recording the debut CD," Cafiero says. "It was a difficult spot to be put in because I knew that undeniably the CD release would be put off for a while as a result, but I just had to do [it] anyway, because I wouldn't even be doing a CD if it wasn't for my influence from the Ramones."
As a preview, the Osaka Popstar track "Wicked World" appeared earlier this year on Rykodisc's two-disc "Twentieth Anniversary " compilation. A clip of the track can also be found at the band's still-in-development official Web site .
"I'm back in the studio finishing my vocals now that we're wrapped on 'Raw,'" Cafiero adds. "It'll be done by the end of this year and out in early 2005" on Mifists Records/Rykodisc.
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