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:: End Of The Century - The Story Of The Ramones

The gentle folk songs of the early 1970s spoke of peace and love, but it was Iggy Pop and his band The Stooges who spoke to the glue-sniffing kids of Forest Hills, Queens. A bunch of misfits from the local high school discovered they liked the same music and despite their differences, they became friends. Eventually, they would become legendary punk band The Ramones.

They were brothers that weren’t related, a band that couldn’t play instruments, yet their music was definitive, the beginning of a new era. The Ramones played 20 years of sell-out gigs without ever having a hit record, yet their raw melodies and machine-gun percussion inspired disenfranchised youth from Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols), who saw their first London gig, to Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) in his younger days.

Named after their 1980 LP, End of the Century is a classic rock documentary, delving into archival footage and interviews that reveal rifts and rivalries within the band. In one early clip they shout and swear at each other on stage, fighting over what song to play next like a pack of dogs fighting over a bone. It makes for compelling viewing whether you’re into the music or not.

Drugged out Dee Dee Ramone is violent, offensive and self-centred. He also has a pretty good sense of humour. Johnny Ramone is controlling and inflexible. He’s the serious one that shapes the band’s image, sound, and schedule like a dictator. Joey Ramone is a lanky, sweet, obsessive-compulsive guy, whose heart is broken when Johnny steals his girl. An endless string of drummers rounds out the quartet, each bringing their own quirks to the mix. They may not be guys you’d want to hang out with, but its hard not to admire the fight in them.

Sadly, Joey lost his fight with cancer a few months before The Ramones’ 2002 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Dee Dee and Johnny have also passed away since the film was made. Out of respect, Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields have made a film that is part celebration, part tribute. For fans of punk or anyone who got grungy in the ‘nineties, End Of The Century has a lot to offer.