We thought we knew what The Ramonas were all about – a lively younger female version of The Ramones, right?
Well, yes – they are well-established and loved for that role but we never realised that The Ramonas are so much more besides.
The ‘name’ means that audiences will show up – because…. who doesn’t love Ramones songs? Who wouldn’t like to go back to a simpler time? To be 17 again and so on? The 1-2-3-4 sing-song thrash sound of The Ramones may sound easy to master, but to deliver it with charm, energy and the appropriate homage to audiences who have lived with those songs for a lifetime … night after night is a challenge. The Ramonas play it well and the shows are great.
The Ramonas are used to heavy tours and it’s mainly because of the Coronavirus lockdown that the band find themselves at a loose end and with time to talk with punkgirldiaries about their shows and how they got started in music.
Could you introduce yourself and what you do in the band?
Camille – Hi, I play drums and scream nonsense down a mic occasionally.
Max – I play guitar!
Lisa – I am the singer!
Vicky – I play bass and sing backing vox
Honestly ……. How much do you like the Ramones?
Vicky – I looooove the Ramones, I don’t think I’d ever get bored of their music.
Camille – I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it.
Max – I don’t think any of us could do it if we didn’t love it
Lisa – I absolutely love the Ramones!! They were one of the great pioneers of the punk scene and still way unrated to this day in my opinion.
What’s your favourite Ramones song to play?
Vicky – I love all the rock n roll influenced stuff like ‘Rock n Roll High School’, ‘Suzy is a Headbanger’ etc, that’s some of my favourite stuff to play. Rock n Roll is one of the reasons I picked up bass in the first place .
Camille – My favourite Ramones songs to listen to are Joey’s romantic numbers but my favourites to play live are the angrier songs like We’re a Happy Family and I Don’t Care.
Max – It changes regularly but I love playing ‘Bonzo goes to Bitburg ’, especially in Europe. They love that song over there.
Lisa – It’s so hard to pick as there are so many good songs…I love singing ‘Carbona not Glue’.
Are you the party animals on tour or do you like an early night and a cocoa?
Camille – Ha! I used to be an animal. Now I’ve matured a bit. Depends on my mood haha.
Max – Hot chocolate is my drink of choice
Lisa – When gigging in the UK, I am usually driving after a gig, so being a party animal is rarely an option unfortunately. However, when in Europe or occasions where I’m not driving….. bring on the beer and Jager shots please…I’m here to party!!!
Vicky – Haha yeah if it’s gonna happen it’s usually in Europe when we have a driver. Although, I am a sucker for a cup of tea.
What has been your best/worst gig?
Camille – Lewes Con Club about 3 years ago. Only because I was puking every 5 mins beforehand and had to literally concentrate so hard to not vom on stage.
Max – Hard to pick but I loved our Ramones cover set and our acoustic set at rebellion 2019 sooo much.
Lisa – Worst gig: in 2010 when myself and Vicky had only been in the band a short time, we played a gig in a working mans club in Mansfield, but it wasn’t advertised, so no one knew it was happening.There was literally 3 men and a dog…and they were only there because they had been there for pint anyway. Best gig- Too many to pick, but the last time we played Berlin at Casiopea was a great night with an amazing crowd!! Definitely an unforgettable night!
Vicky – I think the time we played with Richie at Camden Underworld was the best and worst experience all in one. Firstly I only just made it to the gig as the traffic was horrendous, highly embarrassing when you turn up late for a gig with a Ramone. But then the gig was was loadsa fun.
Have you ever had recognition/endorsements from the Ramones family members?
Vicky – Vera Ramone has sent us some lovely messages saying the boys would love that we’re keeping the music alive. When we went over to L.A, Richie Ramone lent us his gear to play a show, which was so nice of him. He turned up with the gear in the boot of his car and said ‘use what you like’, legend!
Camille – We’ve supported CJ, Lisa and Victoria have played with Ritchie.
Lisa – Yeah we are in touch with Ritchie and CJ which is great. Both brilliant musicians in their own right!
What is not so well-publicised is that The Ramonas write their own songs, and have released electric and acoustic albums available on Spotify. Original punks The Ramones are good for a laugh, they’re part of the punk furniture and their songs are iconically ’70s rock ‘n’ roll. But, honestly, it’s also refreshing to hear the Ramonas own songs – they’re clever, they’re relevant and they speak to us as girls.
Could you tell us about one or two of your own songs? The themes seem to come from a female perspective.
Lisa – As we all have different musical influences our songs definitely reflect that in style. The Ramones influence us also of course, but it’s important to have our own sound as an original act. The song topics are based on social commentary and things that we and hopefully others can relate to. ‘Cotton wool kids ’for example is about parents sheltering their children from the real world. The idea came to me after I saw a woman cover her teenage sons eyes when passing a homeless man looking for food in a bin. A more recent song of ours ‘Broke ’is something I think most people can relate to-especially at the moment!
Vicky – I think the themes we write about have to relate to our own experiences and thoughts etc otherwise it’d all be fake. There’s been a lot to write about politically in recent years and how those things trickle down to everyday life. ‘First World Problems’ as a song and album really summed up a lot of that when we wrote and released it, a lot of it is still relevant now. We all have very eclectic music tastes and that naturally comes across in our original music.
Max – a lot of our songs are about political matters and current affairs- I would disagree that they are specifically or notably about being women alone. They are of course written from a woman’s perspective naturally because we are all women. But no different to how male song writers write from a male perspective, yet I doubt a man band would be asked the same question. I also don’t think that being female affects whether it is punk in style or not.
How did you get interested in music and when did you start playing instruments?
Camille – I started with guitar and performing arts but drums soon took over when I hit music college. I don’t know why, it just kind of happened. I think I find it the most fun to play drums.
Vicky – From a very young age I used to mess around on piano when my Dad was practicing, then I had lessons around age 7. I started learning drums along with my sister just after that but at the same time really wanted to play bass. I got a bass for my 14th birthday, which also meant that we could jam together.
Lisa – I’ve always been interested in music since I can remember. Me and my friends set up a girl band when we were in primary school and and used to write our own songs. I begged my mum for piano lessons and started playing when I was 10. I then took up clarinet and focused on singing in high school and since then have picked up the guitar as well.
Max – I started playing guitar when I was 12. My first interest in music in general stemmed from sitting outside my older sisters bedroom listening to the music she would often play.
If you had a time machine, would you go back to 1976, or is there another time that you’d go to?
Camille – I’d take everyone back to Woodstock in 1969 with me and bloody stay there right now haha.
Max – I’d go on a gig crawl over many years and see all the bands I never got the chance to!
Lisa – I would love to go back to 1974 just when things were starting to change into the punk scene. I would also love to go back to each decade and experience the ‘new eras’ as they unfold. We just don’t have that anymore i feel which is a shame.
Vicky – yeah I’d love to go back then to see the Ramones in the early days. Anyway, we hope that the situation for live acts soon improves and gigs will be possible again.
Thanks so much to The Ramonas for talking with punkgirldiaries and we really hope that you’re going to be able to get out there and play some gigs before too long.
website : http://www.ramonas.co.uk/
Spotify: The Ramonas