A Tour of Hey Ho! Let's Go! Ramones and the Birth of Punk With Linda Ramone
Read the Billboard article here: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7518085/touring-ramones-artifacts-at-the-grammy-museum-with-seymour-stein-and-linda
On the surface, Seymour Stein and the former Linda Marie Daniele [aka Linda Ramone] would seem to have little in common beyond their thick, outer-borough accents. But the legendary music exec, co-founder of Sire Records and Rosedale, Queens native are inextricably linked by their ties to a band who not only changed their lives, but millions of others, too.
"I'd do anything for the Ramones," says Stein, who upon first seeing the four "cretins" from Forest Hills, Queens perform in 1976 promptly signed them to his Sire Records label. But he wasn't the first or last Stein to be so inspired by the Ramones. His ex-wife, the late Linda Stein, was the first in the family to see the band live and would soon after co-manage them with music impresario Danny Fields. Daughter Mandy Stein, who has known the Ramones since she was a toddler, would direct the documentary Gabba Gabba Heyday! in addition to films onCBGBs and the Bad Brains.
For Linda Ramone, too, the band is a family affair -- only literally. She was not only a fan who witnessed some of the band's earliest gigs at CBGBs, but she would also date singer Joey Ramone (a.k.a. Jeffrey Hyman) for three-and-a-half years before leaving him for guitarist and band mastermind Johnny Ramone (born John Cummings) adding another thick layer of tension to the band's well-documented dysfunction.
"When Johnny was dying, he left me his legacy," Linda says from the L.A. Grammy Museum, which last weekend opened its new exhibition "Hey! Ho! Let's Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk," (after debuting at the the Queens Museum last April). "He said, 'I'd rather be here doing my legacy myself, but if I had to pick one person, I'd pick you.'" For Linda, this has meant hosting annual tributes at L.A.s Hollywood Forever Cemetery where Johnny's memorial statue resides and overseeing her late husband's estate and vast trove of memorabilia which once included baseball and horror relics as well as Ramones keepsakes spanning the band's 22-year career and 2,263 shows.
Surrounded by Ramones artifacts, like a Zippy the Pinhead costume and an armadillo doodle drawn by Joey, Billboard spoke with Linda Ramone and tour manger Monte Melnick, and separately with Seymour Stein and his daughter Mandy, to get their reflections of this trailblazing and endearing--if a little nutty--band.