I found it interesting to learn from this DVD that the Ramones’ name was inspired by Paul McCartney, who used to go by the handle “Paul Ramone” during The Beatles’ early, pre-stardom days. Especially because I always considered The Ramones some twisted parallel-dimension version of The Beatles; the Far From Fab Four. What if the counterculture happened just a little differently? What if The Beatles devolved instead of evolved in the late ’60s—you know, grew some cajones, pulled their leather jackets out of the closet and got back to basics, like it was a beer-soaked Friday night at the Cavern Club in Liverpool all over again and they still had something to prove. But it didn’t happen that way. Things got psychedelic. And while the lads still cranked out some amazing music, the world would have to wait for the mid ’70s before getting a taste of hook-laden punk abandon. It’d have to wait for The Ramones.
Watching the holy goof of a closing montage that concludes Ramones Raw, it’s hard to believe three of the band’s four original members are gone. First Joey, then Dee Dee, and most recently Johnny. In a reversal of Spinal Tap, only the drummers—Marky and Tommy—have survived. But this five-hour video scrapbook of live and backstage footage, music videos, interviews and general mayhem captures the infamous punk pioneers on the road in the ’80s and ’90s, and it’s a fitting—if not always flattering—tribute to the departed. It’s honest; as ramshackle as the band’s sloppy, high-voltage performances. But the whole act’s ironic charm aside, The Ramones had a deep, innocent love for rock ’n’ roll, and—even more than the sledgehammer punk riffs, tattered leather and walls of Marshall amps—that’s what’ll stick with you after watching Ramones Raw. Now Dee Dee, count it off one last time… 1, 2, 3, 4!