Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Sept. 17, 2004
RamonesRamones Raw (Image Entertainment)
Produced by drummer Marky Ramone with director John Cafiero, Ramones Raw is an uneven hodgepodge of concert footage, TV appearances, and plenty of Marky's camcorder tour video. While the latter offers an occasional glimpse at the Ramones' offstage personas (e.g., Joey and Johnny never exchange a word), it's pretty much the musical equivalent of vacation slides. Footage of the band's van being chased by rabid fans in Brazil and Argentina offers visual proof that the Ramones were bona fide idols there, but seeing Johnny eat a DQ Blizzard or Marky sitting on the commode adds nothing to the discourse. Most significantly, the DVD includes a 1980 concert filmed in Rome for Italian TV. Originally aired just after End of the Century, the concert includes a rare live performance of "I Can't Make It on Time" and an even rarer guitar flub by Johnny on "Sheena is a Punk Rocker." The performance falls well short of perfection, but it effectively captures the Ramones' live sound before they started undermining their music's backhanded pop appeal with reckless hardcore overspeed. Occasional sound dropouts are to be expected on "found" footage like this, but there's absolutely no excuse for the grossly muddled sound mix on the "Touring" video from 1992's Mondo Bizarro. "Touring" isn't one of the group's better videos, but royalties for superior Sire-era videos like "Something to Believe In" and "Psycho Therapy" were apparently too high. Most disconcertingly, Raw was assembled with little regard for chronology or historical perspective. While a news story about the posthumous renaming of a New York street for Joey Ramone is included, Dee Dee Ramone's 2002 death is never even mentioned. The video included with 1997's We're Outta Here! (now out of print) did a much better job of illustrating the Ramones' legendary career up to that point. If you're searching for the definitive Ramones video anthology, don't call off the dogs just yet.