Friday, January 07, 2005


END OF THE CENTURY is a fantastic new documentary about punk legends, THE RAMONES. It is a labour of love from Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia, and they should be thanked by all Ramones fans for putting together a lot of archive footage as well as new interview footage with the various members of the band and lots of musicians who have been influenced by them. Notably, there is some priceless material with Dee Dee shortly before he OD'ed. The cast list reads like a who's who of rock, including Eddie Vedder, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Rick Rubin, Anthony Kiedis...and this should be enough to convince anyone who hasn't really heard of THE RAMONES to check it out. Because this doc. doesn't just show us why THE RAMONES were great with concert footage, it goes some way to put them in the context of rock history, and explain why these guys were just so dang important. We get all the classic stuff of concerts at CBGB where the band got into punch-ups on stage and salutory tales about drug abuse and stealing other people's girls. But aside from all this more obvious stuff, I felt that I learned a lot about the dynamic within the band and also the way in which the music business operated at the time. In other words, the doc. went some way to answering the question: why did THE RAMONES never get that break-out success that less talented groups like THE SEX PISTOLS had. I never thought it possible, but I reckon I admired THE RAMONES more having watched the doc. than before. Seriously, whether or not you know who these guys are, just see this flick. And if it isn't playing near you, hunt it down on DVD because (as with the majority of docs) this won't suffer from being seen on a small screen.

END OF THE CENTURY: THE RAMONES went on the festival circuit last year and is on limited release in the UK right now.

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