THE RAMONE’s First gig

I came up with the idea of THE RAMONE basically out of necessity and a lot of resentment towards other musicians as well as the music loving public
It started as a joke, saying to myself, “What’s the most arrogant thing I can do as a musician to tell people I am sick of waiting on everyone to catch up?”
It was a way to say “Fuck all of you musicians don’t want to be in my band or have me in your band, so I will just create one myself”
My outlook has changed considerably since then but the basic idea stuck in my head
The next step was to figure out the “easiest” way to start the ball rolling
Since I started playing guitar and bass by listening to The Ramones, then I would create my own tribute band by myself
It took me about 4 months to get to my first show and here is the story of the week leading up to and the day of the show

I had booked the show after finishing my initial experiments with the concept so that I would have a deadline to meet, forcing me to work more diligently on the concept
Everything went just fine and I had about a week left before the show
I was going to spend a few days visiting the folks in Florida and would be back  2 days before the gig
There was still editing work to do but I could finish that up in Fla. and come back with 2 days to fine tune the edits so that the were perfectly on the 1,2,3,4
The first roadblock was that I had brought my editing computer but had forgotten the power supply
It didn’t help that I used a lot of battery during various sit and wait moments
My step mother let me load some temporary editing software on her computer but it added extra editing time in order to eliminate the watermark that appeared on the first parts of each video
Besides, I would be back Wed. night and would have 2 clear days to fix things

Wed. day comes and our flight gets cancelled
The cheap-ass airline waited until the last second to announce the flight had been cancelled and the majority of people in the line found out before us
They had all booked the only flight out on Thursday
We managed to get a flight out on Friday at 1pm
This meant I was to arrive in Dallas at around 5pm
I was supposed to be on stage at 9pm

*As a side note, I had been in contact with the promoter and was told I could back out if things didn’t work out

Still, the videos were ready to go by Thursday night and I was confident I could load them onto my Video Sampler and have a couple of run through-s before I headed to the show
That was the plan as I got to the studio and had to deal with things that were not addressed while I was gone
People asking me for this and that was adding to my anxiety as I tried to get my shit together for the show
But that was nothing compared to the panic I experienced when I tried to load the somewhat finished videos onto my Video Sampler and nothing happened
I tired it several times on both computers and…….nothing

After wasting an entire hour, I decided to use Video/DJ as a backup and started rehearsing the set
That’s when I plugged in my guitar and heard a godawful noise that indicated my ground wire had come loose from the jack
I figured I would just have to step on the pedal in between songs to turn off the distortion and minimize the buzz

Luckily, the promoter had arranged to have me go on last instead of first
Everybody shifted down one spot and I was given extra time to prepare
I packed up and headed for the Underpass

There were things that did go right, like Dana Buck showing up with my T-Shirts and stickers
At least I got to set up merch as I watched the other bands
Then it was my turn to get on stage
The sound man was having a hard time getting my signals and setup took way too long
The 15 or so people who stuck around to see me had dwindled to 4 before I actually made it on stage
To make matters worse, my guitar had completely crapped out and it took too long to figure out to go with the backup guitar that Mario  loaned me

I started the set and it was rickety
I had planned to rifle through the set by pushing one button to per song on the sampler but ended spending precious seconds fading back and forth on the Virtual DJ program
Even then, I neglected to fade the video over and there were moments where the screen was just me standing there with my mouth open during half the song

If you look at the gig by the numbers, it was a fucking train wreck disaster
I was distracted the whole time which affected my playing
The presentation was completely ruined by having to operate a DJ mixer by hand while simultaneously playing the guitar and singing
Barely anyone stuck around to see it anyways

You’d think that I would have gone home and spent a few days hiding in my pitch black bedroom, nursing my wounded ego and shredded self confidence
However, that wasn’t the case
I decided to look at the gig as a whole instead of concentrating on all of the fragments
The people who did stay knew there were mistakes but were more interested in what I did right and enjoyed the show anyways
But the biggest, boldest mark in the “win” column was that I saw it through and finished it
I had been given the option to back out and cancel almost a week before the show
The same applied on Wed. when my flight got cancelled
The same applied the very day of the show
And yet I kept myself as calm as possible and pulled out an ugly win
But it still counts in the history books as a win
There is video footage and I will get to it, but it was painful to watch at the time and is going to take a lot of editing to make it palatable

This was just an initial experiment
The material I prepared for this show will be replaced with new material, produced from scratch and benefiting from all multitude of mistakes I made along the way
Look for a new show with all the popular hits that you know from The Ramones

Hope to see you out there soon
Buy a shirt while you’re at it


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