Rob Zombie and guitarist John 5 at the Ramones tribute. All photos by Brian Michaels for the LA Beat.
Hey ho, they’re all gone. But Ramones fans and horror buffs gathered at Hollywood Forever Cemetary last weekend for the 10th annual Johnny Ramone Tribute, an event made extra poignant with the recent death of Tommy Erdelyi, the last man standing from the group’s original lineup.
This year’s tribute was the first to feature live music, with Ramones cover sets inside the Masonic Temple by Rob Zombie and his band, followed by Steve Jones with Duff McKagan and Zombie’s drummer backing assorted front-persons including Duff’s daughter Drace, and another young female singer named Jessie Jo. Fred Armisen, thankfully NOT in character as Ian Rubbish, appeared instead to be channeling Elvis Costello as he accompanied himself on guitar through two highly credible covers from End Of The Century. Billy Idol turned up to sing the last two songs of the night, “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “California Sun,” which he did with great gusto.
And what a trip to hear the Pistols guitarist playing Ramones covers! But he did a fine job, as did all concerned. It was so good, in fact, that I was all ready to pogo but it turns out to be very hard to in a modern audience where everyone has their cell phone out. I could easily knock into someone, and they would drop their phone and break it, and the episode would caught on someone else’s camera phone, and go viral on youtube with the title “RAMONES TRIBUTE RUINED BY POGOING ASSHOLE.” And you wouldn’t want THAT.
Before and after, patrons mingled in the field, visited Johnny and Dee Dee’s headstones, both decorated for the day, listened to records spun by perfect-choice DJ Howie Pyro (nice segue of “Come On Now” into “Tried To Hide”, dude) and checked out Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s horror memorabilia collection. Zombie’s film The Devil’s Rejects screened in the meadow. Pretty sick stuff – evidently DDT did a job on him too.