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Adios, Amigo: Locals salute Joey Ramone

News of Joey Ramone's recent death touched local musicians in many different ways, but the most common reaction was an urge to celebrate the punk pioneer's impressive work by simply playing it. "When I heard Joey died," recalls Young Antiques drummer Mason Brazelle, "I just wanted to get on stage and pound out some Ramones songs."

As Brazelle discovered other local Ramones fans felt likewise, the idea came about for the tribute concert now scheduled for May 16, just a few days short of what would have been Joey Ramone's 50th birthday. 6X bassist Kevin Rej volunteered to design a limited edition poster to be sold at the show, and the musicians all agreed to donate profits to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (www.leukemia-lymphoma.org), a charity battling the disease that claimed Ramone's life.

Performers include Catfight! (who have included the Ramones' "I Just Wanna Have Something to Do" in their live shows), as well as DQE, Puddin, Andy Browne (ex-Nightporters) and an all-star group called the Pinups, featuring guitarist Shawn Christian from the X-Impossibles. To avoid repeating songs, participants shared their proposed set lists and carefully divided the Ramones' repertoire, with a special focus on rarely heard tunes such as "Swallow My Pride" and "Bop Til You Drop."

Perhaps the most unusual element will be the 9:30 opening set by Alastor. Although the artsy rock ensemble appears to owe little to the Ramones, each member cites a personal connection with the famed punks. "The Ramones gave me an outlet that I never had before, through positive sarcasm, wit and strength," explains bassist Brillo, "to fight in the subterranean jungle of life and family. No bullshit. The Ramones saved my life."

"Too Tough To Die: A Tribute to Joey Ramone" is held at The Earl, Wed., May 16.??