Richie Ramone and his band are still touring on their 2017 release, Cellophane, but those itching for new music from the Ramones veteran don’t need to wait any longer. Ahead of their upcoming dates in South America, Europe, and eventually, the West Coast, they are releasing a powerful new song, “The Last Time,” as a flexi disc single.
Ramone—who, from 1983 to 1987, was the drummer for the Ramones, arguably the most influential punk band ever—will also perform on May 19 at the annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash in New York City. Held at the Bowery Electric, he will join many of the late frontman’s friends in celebration of his spectacular life and will be performing as The Love Triangle, alongside Ramones bassist Cj Ramone and guitarist, vocalist, and Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh. They are slated to play songs from Road To Ruin, which commemorates its 40th anniversary this year.
“It’s sad in a way, but you celebrate his life,” Ramone says of the sentimental event. “They always end with ‘What a Wonderful World,’” of which Joey Ramone famously did a rendition, “so, there’s a bit of heartbreak going on, but it’s a nice gathering of people.”
Speaking of bittersweet, “The Last Time” is a tearjerker and totally relatable to anyone who’s ever gone through the hell of losing a loved one. Of its sound and feel, Ramone says, “It’s sad, but it’s poppy and uplifting at the same time.”
Ramone says his father had dementia and was really not doing well, but he currently lives in Los Angeles while the rest of the family still reside in New Jersey. His mother called and said he should come out to see his father, as it seemed like he was just waiting to see or hear from Ramone before he died. Ramone says he got to the house and “held his hand and whispered in his ear what the song’s about.”
His father passed soon after, on Feb. 11, “so, it hasn’t been long,” Ramone says. Immediately after, words for the song began coming to him. “It was like boom, another line, like he was spoon-feeding me. The second verse, he’s going, ‘Don’t be afraid, I’m proud of you,’” he recalls. “It was just coming out like crazy for two hours. I went in my little studio and wrote the words down.”