Joey Ramone goes record shopping at Free Being Records in New York


Joey Ramone goes record shopping at Free Being Records in New York. Photograph- Danny Fields


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Ramones – “Substitute”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Ramones – “Substitute”.

Apparently, this is the 1993 version banned by MTV, but I wouldn’t know what other versions are out there. If any. This is a cover of The Who’s classic and was featured on the Ramones’ covers album Acid Eaters. The video is a tribute to b-movies.

“B-movies mania: The Ramones’ wacky new Radioactive video cover of the Who’s classic “Substitute” directed by Tom Rainone, features a veritable who’s who of B-movies stars.

The cast includes Karen Black, Linnea Quigley, Ken Force, William Smith, and Nicholas Worth, whose combined film credits include “Day of the Locust” , “Return of the Living Dead”, Dawn of the Dead”, “Grave of the Vampire”, and “Don’t Answer the Phone”.

Psycho rock fans will recognize the likes of Mötorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, White Zombie’s Sean Yseult, and the Cramp’s Lux Interior among members of the vid cast. And bonus points go to the viewer who can spot famed comic book artist Robert Williams.”

.bilboard February 5, 1994

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Ramones – “Havana Affair” It´s Alive 1977


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Ramones – “Havana Affair” It´s Alive 1977.

Many casual listeners often dismiss the work of the Ramones as little more than good, dumb fun their comic-book ‘juvenile deliquent’ image and their focus on short, simple songs.

However, a close listen to the group’s lyrics will reveal a fast and fierce sense of humor at work. Case in point: “Havana Affair,” a nifty little tune from The Ramones that tackles the subject of cultural imperialism in its own uniquely witty style. The lyrics take the form of a first-person confession from a Cuban peasant who has been transform into an U.S. government spy by the CIA: “I used to make a living, man, pickin’ the banana/Now I’m a guide for the CIA/Hooray for the U.S.A.!” 

These oddball lyrics are given a typically tight Ramones punk-pop melody that weds hyperactive verse melodies stuffed full of notes that bounce high and low with a hypnotic two-line chorus that uses the same manic style of the verses but also works in a few descending-note hooks.

The Ramones’ recording of “Havana Affair” gives it the energy it needs by building it on a bouncy bass line that provides a solid backbone for the frenetic guitar riffing and one-two drumming. It also works in a few clever production flourishes, like the thudding, echoed drum beat that punctuates the chorus and short but punchy instrumental breaks that highlight fuzz-tone riffs paced by a steady cowbell accent.

The final touch is added by Joey Ramone’s goofy deadpan lead vocal, which affects a hysterical mock-Latino intonation for lines like “I used to make a living, man, pickin’ the banana.” All these touches add up to a tune that is witty as it is catchy and this combination ensures that “Havana Affair” remains an enduring favorite with Ramones fans.