In a surprising move, the estate of Joey Ramone held an on-line auction last week, selling personal possessions owned by the late punk rock icon. Many of the items sold for several thousand dollars, including Joey’s record collection, passport and collection of guitars.
“This is an exciting event that will further promote the legacy of Joey Ramone and those other guys he used to hang around with sometimes,” mumbled Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh. “Plus, because of the shape of Joey’s weird, freaky body, none of his clothes fit anybody else, so we couldn’t really do anything with them. It was either this or donate his shirts to used car lots to use as Airdancers.”
High profile rock and roll auctions like this are rare, but not unheard of. The last high profile rock and roll auction was in 1993, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame auctioned off a plethora of rock star memorabilia, including Bob Dylan’s lucky harmonica holder (which he was reportedly wearing when he lost his virginity to Joan Baez), Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s celebrated collection of Faberge eggs, and David Bowie’s creepy ventriloquist persona from the early ’90s.
Much of the press around the event covered the more obvious items for sale, largely ignoring the more interesting items, which I’ve compiled here.
Joey’s Custom Fit Leather Jacket:
Few people realize that Joey never stopped growing his entire life. When he was in middle school, he was so tall that other students would often mistake him for a teacher. In high school, teachers would often mistake him for a principal. And by the time he was 25, Japanese tourists would often mistake him for Ultraman in drag.
By the time of his death, Joey was 8′ 2”. His clothing had to be developed specially to fit him by legendary tailor Leopold J. Gremlin, a pioneer in the use of stilts as a tailoring aid.
Joey’s Unsent Submissions to the New Yorker Caption Contest:
95% of them just read “Gabba gabba hey!” The others are actually surprisingly clever.
Exclusive Photos Taken at Joey’s Bar Mitzvah:
Also includes Joey’s kippah and the pair of Converse Chuck Taylors he wore during the ceremony.
Joey’s Leather Three Piece Suit:
Another custom designed outfit, this one made for the Ramones’ more formal gigs. Joey wore this suit during their disastrous 1979 White House performance for Jimmy Carter, in which Johnny told the president he was a “pinhead” for not re-invading Vietnam and Dee Dee was caught stealing pieces of White House silverware. Although the Ramones were able to escape the show unharmed, they forget Marky, who accidentally locked himself inside of Teddy Roosevelt’s bare knuckle kangaroo boxing lounge thinking it was a fire exit. The Ramones held auditions for new drummers the following week.
The Complete Sheet Music to Every Ramones Song:
A Handwritten List of Alternate Stage Names:
A list written right before Jeffry Ross Hyman decided on the name “Joey Ramone.” Other names he considered were Skip Ramone, Stretch Ramone, Lucky Ramone, Joseph E. Ramone, Kareem Abdul Ramone, Sheriff Wyatt Ramone, Tito Ramone, and Professor Winston Oglethorpe.
Photos of Joan Jett, Patti Smith and Deborah Harry:
None of them seem to be aware there’s a picture being taken.
A Flyer for Joey’s Pre-Ramones Jazz Quintet:
“Big Jeff Hyman and his Blitzkrieg Bebop Band.”
Joey’s Rose Tinted Sunglasses:
Joey only ever owned three pairs of glasses his entire life. One pair was broken when Johnny punched him in the face during what Joey later referred to as one of their most pleasant conversations together.
The second were lost during a 1987 tour in Argentina, in which the stage was stormed by overzealous fans in the middle of a concert. As the fans overpowered the security guards, Johnny continued playing, finishing “Rockaway Beach” and getting halfway through “Surfin’ Bird” before he realized the rest of his bandmates had run backstage hoping to avoid the deadly looking onslaught.
After a brief scuffle the Ramones were able to escape unharmed, losing only Johnny’s collection of EC comics and Joey’s glasses, which were ripped from his face by two fans sitting on each other’s shoulders and wearing a giant trenchcoat. Once again, the band forgot Marky, who had accidentally locked himself inside of Dee Dee’s dressing room, thinking it was a fire escape.
The third pair are these, which Joey purchased from a professional Joey Ramone impersonator.
A Flyer for Joey’s Pre-Ramones Progressive Rock Band:
“Big Jeff Hyman and his Excelsior Starship.”
Joey’s Custom Converse Chuck Taylors:
Joey’s shoes were a size 9 in Clown Sizes.
Handwritten Fan Letters to the Monkees:
Joey’s surprisingly in depth correspondences with the Monkees. They discuss music, fame, the criteria for legitimacy as artists and how much they all dislike Peter Tork.
The Complete Works of Immanuel Kant, Frederich Nietzche, and Albert Camus:
Joey’s Personal Script for the Movie Rock ‘n’ Roll High School:
Joey’s Unproduced Spec Script for the sequel movie Rock ‘n’ Roll University:
The script is 23 pages long and features far more space travel and full frontal nudity than the original film.
Handwritten Lyrics to “I Wanna Be Sedated:”
Scrawled on the inside of a box of Raisinets, these include rejected lines like “I Wanna Be Deflated,” “I Wanna Be Berated,” “I Wanna Be Liquidated,” “I Wanna Be Interrelated,” “I Wanna Be Correlated,” and “I Feel Like Bustin’ Loose.”
Gift Certificates for Public Speaking Lessons:
Every episode of Herman’s Head recorded on VHS tapes:
Apparently Joey just really liked Herman’s Head.
The auction was such a rousing success that the estates of the other Ramones members expressed similar interest in holding posthumous auctions, but plans ultimately fell through.
The estate of Dee Dee Ramone searched the late songwriter’s apartment and could find nothing but oversized chains and some Schoolly D LPs, while no one could muster up the courage to enter Johnny Ramone’s spooky and presumably heavily booby trapped mansion, designed as an exact replica of house from The Munsters.
Marky Ramone could not be reached for comment, as he had accidentally locked himself inside of David Lee Roth’s “Sex and Frozen Yogurt Nook” at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp thinking it was a fire escape.