Growing up outside of New York City meant being exposed to the punk scene early on. With my clubbing history, it meant seeing The Ramones at one point or another and honestly, I have lost count of the number of times I saw them live. One instance stands out when the club was trying to stay “respectable” and had a rule that no t-shirts were allowed, only collared shirts. So you had a bunch of college kids in collared shirts slam-dancing in the early version of a mosh pit.
The Ramones: Raw is really for the fans of the band. If I have to explain the whole concept behind the band members all having the last name “Ramone” then this probably isn’t for you. Marky Ramone (drummer) took a video camera on tour with them and filmed much of the behind-the-scenes footage seen on the DVD. This gives great insight into what touring is like as well as the different personalities of the band members. Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee are here, shown getting along fairly well and enjoying themselves. This is contrary to many rumors throughout the years of friction between the band members.
There are some terrific performances on The Ramones: Raw. In addition to some clips from shows and warm-up sessions, there is an entire show from 1980 in Italy. It’s intercut with the main feature, but also in its entirety on the BONUS MATERIAL as well. This is an example of classic Ramones and is quite reminiscent of the many times I saw them, even if some of the line-ups were different at that time. There’s also a way-cool claymation video for the song Touring.
There are also some interviews on the disc from around the world. This also helps seeing how much touring was just a way for the band to get feedback from their fans and how that really mattered to them more than anything else. It surprised me to no end how they attracted fans as far away as Europe, Brazil, and Japan. I always thought their popularity was fairly localized to the Northeast with a smattering of followers across the rest of the country. How else could I have seen them at Rockaway Amusement Park in 1984? But that image is totally shattered here as their popularity around the world is quite evident.
If there’s one complaint about the DVD it’s that the sound quality is pretty poor. However, taking into account that most of it are a home movie shot by one of the band members on a personal camera, it’s entirely forgivable. This was not meant to be a professional production from the get-go and it shows. However, it works in that regard. This is not a documentary about the band. This is not slickly produced concert footage. It’s a look into their world.
Another plus for The Ramones: Raw is the amount of BONUS MATERIAL n the disc. It’s not just the footage of the Italy Concert in its entirety, but many little Easter Eggs not seen on the menu which will delight fans as they come across them. Like their concerts, it would seem that the band truly thought about what their fans would like when this was put together.
This is something I would be happy to add to my collection of music DVDs, as would anyone who remembers those days when the popularity of The Ramones was primarily through their club appearances, rather than the way they are now; in sort of a historical sense when looking at the history of rock music. If you are looking for a documentary, forget it.
HEY! HO! LET’S GO! BONUS MATERIAL:
” Audio Commentary by Johnny Ramone, Marky Ramone, and Director John Cafiero
” TV Appearances
” Deleted Scenes
” “I Ramones” Live in Rome, Italy 1980
There are also a ton of “Easter Eggs” on the disc – have fun finding them!
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