HENRY ROLLINS On The Passing Of JOHNNY RAMONE
September 25, 2004, 18 years ago
HENRY ROLLINS has issued the following statement:
As you probably know by now, JOHNNY RAMONE (the guitar player of the one and only RAMONES) died last week on September 15th. From what I have read and heard, he died in his sleep, surrounded by friends and family. About a week before he passed away, I was over at Johnny’s house visiting with him and his wife Linda. It was hard to see Johnny Ramone with his hair short and gray. He was thin and in pain. We talked about a lot of stuff: the upcoming Ramones tribute show, his health, film, music, and the times we played together.
I told him about the time the movie Rock & Roll High School played at the Ontario Theater and how the Ramones walked through the theater right before the lights went down and pretty much the whole place emptied into the lobby. He asked me if I had seen the Ramones documentary, End Of The Century (I had not seen it but had heard amazing things about it). He told me he had a copy of the final edit and if I wanted to, we could check it out. So we did. We sat there and watched the whole thing. It was great and it meant a lot to watch it with him. It was heavy to watch him watch himself and I wondered what he was thinking. After the film was over, we talked awhile longer but it was late and Johnny was tired so it was time for me to leave. He said to come by any time and I said how about next week. We made plans to watch a movie and I told him I would call. I put my hand on his arm and said, “I’ll see you soon, young man,” and then Linda walked me out and I went home. That’s the last time I ever saw him.
I did call him a few days after our visit to see when was a good time to come over again and he said that he had people coming by for the next few days. Since I had to go east to do some shows I told him I would call him after the show on Sunday and we would set something up. That was the last time I spoke to him. On the day he died, I was about to call him when I got the call that he had passed away. It may sound lame, but it felt good to have the chance to personally thank him for the music and how much it meant and how The Ramones influenced a lot of bands and reached more people than anyone could imagine. He was very humble about it all.
The Ramones 30th Anniversary Tribute happened on September 12 at the Avalon in Los Angeles. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Dickies and X played great sets and then CJ Ramone, Marky Ramone and long time producer Daniel Ray took the stage and played while different guitar and vocal teams came out and did Ramones songs. Tim Armstrong, Danny Bosstone, Brett Bad Religion, Eddie Vedder--everybody sang and played great. I went onstage with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and we did 'Judy Is A Punk, Commando' and 'Blitzkrieg Bop'. It was a rush and over before I knew it. I was standing on the side of the stage catching my breath and Jones said that it was too bad we didn’t have another five songs because we were just getting into it.
I got to meet Tommy Ramone backstage, he’s the only Ramone I hadn’t met yet, that was so cool. The evening’s host, Rob Zombie, an extremely good guy, called Johnny on his cell phone from the stage and we all cheered as he held up the phone so Johnny knew we were there for him. When CJ and company went back onstage to do 'Pinhead' I figured it was my time to get out before the parking lot was full of people. I slipped out the side exit and was back in my room minutes later, still sweating. What a night. I’m glad that Johnny knew the show went down and that it was a success. I believe that Johnny was holding on for the show and once it happened, he let go. What a man, what a band.