The Johnny Ramone Tribute at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday (Aug. 11) brought together rock ‘n’ roll elite and fans alike for a screening of cult classic The Warriors and to celebrate the life of Johnny Ramone, who died of prostate cancer in 2004.
Curated by Vincent Gallo, the event also featured a Mr. Musichead photo gallery and appearances by John Frusciante, Henry Rollins, Fred Armisen, Steve Jones and Starcrawler. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School director Allan Arkush was there to introduce Walter Hill, director of The Warriors, along with cast members Michael Beck and Joel Weiss.
But it was all spearheaded by Johnny’s widow, Linda Ramone, who has been putting on the event for 13 years to honor his legacy and benefit prostate cancer research.
“Each year I do a movie that Johnny liked and have all of his different friends come,” Linda told Billboard. “Johnny was a really huge movie buff.”
This year’s pick, The Warriors, was a favorite of Johnny and Linda to watch with good friend Gallo. The film focuses on rival gangs in dystopian New York City – specifically The Warriors, led by Swan – a character Arkush said Johnny identified with because he was a tough leader.
“Johnny Ramone loved The Warriors because he thought The Ramones were a gang,” Arkush said when he introduced the film.
If that’s true, then Linda is a perfect parallel to Mercy, Swan’s fierce love interest who never leaves his side.
The idea for the event was first generated at the statue unveiling Linda planned for Johnny shortly after his death. Linda says Johnny, who is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, told her before he died that he wanted all his friends to talk about him.
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School was shown the next year, evolving the event into what it has become today – and proving that Linda is not alone in sticking by Johnny.
“It’s usually just the friends, whoever’s in town. So if Billy Idol or Duff or Henry Rollins is in town – whoever is in our little family,” Linda says. “Rock ‘n’ roll people do stick together, no matter how big you are.”