by Arturo Vega, webmaster, ramonesworld.com
That’s right: officialramones.com got bigger, better... and unofficial.
In reality, nothing important has changed, since we are still supported
by the same band members who have supported this web site since it’s
creation and we actually like the new domain name better. RAMONESWORLD.COM
is way cooler, plus I am still the big enchilada here, the lucky bastard
who started working for the Ramones in 1974 and continues to labor for
the benefit of their legacy and glory.
Yeah, I know there are hordes of new and very young Ramones fans who
are not very familiar with the history of the Ramones, and even less
about who does or has done what for the band - so just to let you know,
and make you feel you are at the right web site, let me please introduce
That’s me in the middle, between DeeDee and Johnny. The year is
1976, during the Ramones first trip to California. The record company
didn’t want to pay for my plane ticket, so I took a bus that had
mattresses on the floor for $30.00.
I used to take lots of photos in the photo booths of 42nd Street. I
took this one in 1975 for 25 cents. The part in the middle ended up
being in the back cover and the inside jacket for the Ramones' first
album. More importantly, It set the direction for the imagery that would
The eagle in the belt buckle became the first eagle Ramones t-shirt
(1976). I started printing the shirts myself to pay for traveling expenses.
Joey and DeeDee moved into my loft in 1975. In this photo Joey is wearing
a Carbona T shirt I made for him for the UK tour of 1977.
My house became “The Ramones Loft.” It was warehouse and
headquarters, often used for interviews and photo shoots. Here we see
from the left: Joey talking to a girl, Johnny in the center talking
to Tommy, who is sitting down. In the background you can see the first
backdrop I hand-painted on the occasion of a show with the Heartbrakers.
We thought they were real competition so I felt I had to do something
extra for that show. Joey slept on a mattress on the floor behind that
On this day everybody gathered at the loft to go to the airport for
the bands first shows in London to celebrate the Bicentennial on July
DeeDee tried to teach me how to play bass. It didn’t take. I am
all about “visuals” - when it comes to music I love to hear
it, and I can spot musical talent, but that’s it.
Whatever I was doing - and even wearing - at the time became important
sources of inspiration for work. The pattern in the shirt I am wearing
here became the design in the center of the eagle of the Ramones logo.
This is the way the original logo looked on the back cover of the second
album, Leave Home. Yes, it’s before computers, and there
was a lot of real cut-and-paste.
After I created the eagle logo, the next logical step was to take it
to the stage. Here I am working on the second eagle stage backdrop,
the “white one”. This one was never returned by the people
that used it for the video “Time Has Come Today”. It was
painted right on the floor.
During the 20 years we spent on the road my main duty was as lighting
director. I also managed the sales of tour merchandise. Many times I
also sold the shirts. I enjoyed the direct contact with the fans - the
T shirt selling-tables were the perfect spot for that.
Here we are at the Hard Rock Café in Tokyo the night of the Ramones'
2000th show in 1994. The band did 2263 shows in total. I missed two.
I just couldn’t make it to the shows - and I have the police records
to prove it.
In more recent times the loft is still “the place to be”
for very special occasions. Here we are celebrating Joey’s last
birthday on May 19, 2000. Daniel Rey, the producer of many a Ramones
album, close musical collaborator with both Joey and DeeDee, and to
top it all the producer of Joey’s solo album, holds the cake.
In 2001, Japan’s most important festival, The Fuji Rock Festival,
was dedicated to The Ramones and especially to Joey.
Masa San / Mr. Masa, the festival’s promoter, translates my words
after I read a letter addressed to him, his organization and to all
Ramones fans in Japan from The Ramones, and from Joey’s mother.
Mr. Masa’s production company, Smash Productions, was responsible
for bringing the Ramones to Japan tour after tour, always to sold-out
During the same trip to Japan I hooked up with DeeDee, who was also
doing shows in Tokyo. The beautiful girl is DeeDee’s wife Barbara,
who played bass while DeeDee played guitar.
In another trip to Los Angeles I met with Johnny and Joe Strummer from
the Clash. They were doing a photo shoot at the whiskey on Sunset Strip.
After that we went to eat, then Joe and I ended up having beers at different
bars. I like it when that happens.
Finally, 2003 arrives and I decide to get my long-anticipated Ramones
tattoo. I started looking for a tattoo artist a long time ago. I started
hearing about the shop Rising Dragon from a lot of people, so I decided
to check them out. The place turned out to be next door from the Chelsea
Hotel, where DeeDee lived on and off for years - that was a good sign.
When I looked at their art books, I liked the work of an artist named
Darren Rosa, and said I wanted to meet him. They told me it was a good
choice since he was the owner and the most experienced artist of the
bunch. They added that he worked at their other shop located at 53rd
and 3rd! I knew I had found the right guy. This is what he did, and
if you like it and want to get a tatt tell him I sent you.
Rising Dragon New York City
230 west 23rd. Street (212) 255-8288
Yes, you better believe it hurts. I was a bloody mess.
The final result is, as everything between me and the Ramones, a source
of joy and pride. It got a laugh out of Johnny when he saw it on my
visit with him in August, 2003.
So now you know something about the pinhead that runs this web site.
I hope you can trust me when I say I am here for you. Oh yeah, I almost
forgot - my block is called JOEY RAMONE PLACE, and that is
Thanks for your time
Tell me what’s on your mind.