The Ramones are the rarest of punk pioneers: They’re all still alive. They haven’t disintegrated into an embarrassing lounge act. They still put out viable records—as in their latest release, Acid Eaters. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Ramones’ first performance, and we asked lead singer Joey Ramone to recall it for us. ”Uh, it’s not real vivid in my mind,” says the former party animal, with a laugh. Fortunately, he remembers other stuff.
Who started punk?
Everyone thinks the British, but we did when we started in ’74. When we played London in 1977, people like Johnny Rotten (of the Sex Pistols), the Clash, and the Damned all told us we were responsible.
If you won a $10 million sweepstakes, how would you spend it?
I’d start my own radio station—a dream I’ve had for years. I’m a product of AM, and I want to bring back free-form radio, but make it contemporary. I’d call it WILD and play bands like the Ramones, the Stooges, Motörhead, the Beatles, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam.
What’s always in your fridge?
It used to be just a six-pack, but I’m kind of healthy now, so mineral water. My only vices are coffee and the occasional Bounty bar. I even clean my house. What’s happening to me?
What three people should be permanently sent to the biosphere?
Oh boy. Saddam Hussein. And that guy from Operation Rescue—Randall Terry. And La Toya Jackson. She’s talentless and annoying—I can’t stand her.
What subject interested you most in school?
Biology. And English. I had a really good teacher once. We’d bring in records and discuss them. I remember bringing in the first Turtles album. But most of my teachers were the sickest perverts, weirdos, and fascists.
Who was on your school lunchbox?
I went with the Jetsons. Or the Monkees.
What’s the most embarrassing album in your collection?
Back in the ’70s, I never would have admitted to liking the Eagles. But they had some good songs.
Who does your laundry?
Mostly I’ll drop it off. Once in a while it’s fun to do myself, but you’ve got to get in a laundry state of mind. It’s a spur of the moment thing.
Can you imagine yourself as an old man?
God, I hate to think about it. I hope I’ll be open-minded and optimistic. I hope I finally have my act together.
Do you have a favorite holiday?
I hate holidays.