Watch a rare backstage interview with the Ramones from 1978

By Thom Dunn

The interview with Minneapolis PBS station KTCA followed on the heels of the bands' touring behind Rocket to Russia, their third album and last one to include all 4 original members of the band. Ironically, it's Tommy, who in this interview seems like the most serious and level-headed member of the group, who would soon move on to handle management and production duties for a while. By contrast, Johnny seems to be following a marketing branding script; DeeDee speaks off the cuff and unfiltered; and Joey just kinda sits there, quietly smiling.

Shortly before the interview, the band had been touring in the UK, and the interviewer asks some questions about the contrasting overseas punk scene. Tommy remarks that, while the Clash was a little more political, the Sex Pistols were very briefly political, US punk bands just weren't that into politics. Johnny echoes this sentiment, saying, "The kids don't care. The kids just want to see groups, ya know? They're just regular kids. Political stuff is a bore."

This might not be entirely disingenuous coming from the Ramones — indeed, the Clash were political, while the Pistols were a shock-rock marketing ploy, and Joey Ramones famously just wanted to sing uptempo classic pop songs. But it is a particular ironic statement coming from Johnny, the notoriously vocal Conservative who would later declare "God bless President Bush and God bless America" on stage during the band's induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. By the time of this interview, the band had recorded two Johnny-written songs, "Havana Affair" and "Commando," that at least addressed US foreign policy, albeit in a fairly broad and non-partisan way. In the years to come, the band would sort-of troll the Reaganite Johnny with songs like "The KKK Took My Baby Away" and "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg."

Revisit rare backstage footage of The Ramones in 1978 [Tyler Golsen / Far Out Magazine]

Image: Public Domain via Pixabay