The Ramones

The Ramones - NME Cover

The Ramones - New York 1977

In early 1977 Mick Farren and I went to New York to check out the Punk scene, we went to all the usual clubs like Max's Kansas City and CBGB's, and we met up with a number of bands including Blondie and the Talking Heads.

But the main reason we were there was to do a cover story on the Ramones. Mick was old friends with Seymour Stein who owned Sire Records and he set us up with an interview and photo shoot.

We met up at Joey Ramone's apartment on a Sunday afternoon and I proceeded to drag them outside for a shoot, I had found an alley just off the Bowery and to me this summed up the way New York was back then.

The city had just declared itself bankrupt and was very different from the way it is today. The alley was full of garbage, old furniture, and homeless people. We walked to the far end where an old sofa he'd been dumped right there on the street.

The Ramones did what they did best and posed in leather jackets and ripped jeans, the archetypal punk look. I gave little direction as we were accompanied by Arturo Vega, their Art Director. I told them where to stand, and he told them how to stand. It was not my normal way of working but they trusted him and it actually made my job easier. The pictures we did together were good, and that's all that mattered.

The Ramones on the Bowery

The Ramones - New York 1977

In April 1977 Mick Farren and I came to New York to check out the punk scene for the NME. We went to all the well known Clubs including CBGB's, Max's Kansas City, the Bottom Line, Danceteria and the Mudd Club.

Joey Ramone lived close to CBGB'S which was on the Bowery in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Initially we took photos on the roof of Joey's apartment building but although it looked like New York it did not really have the right feel.

I had spotted this alley when walking over to Joey's place, it was a block from  the Bowery and seemed perfect to me, it was full of trash and totally run down, back then huge parts of Manhattan were like this, the money had run out and the city was bankrupt.

I dragged the four Ramones to the location, I did a number of group shots, aided by their Artistic Director the late Arturo Vega. It seemed odd having somebody else telling the band what to do, all they did was stand there in a line, but it made them relaxed so I was happy to let him help.

To me this sums up the American Punk scene at that time, leather jackets, t shirts and jeans was the look they all had, it's a shame the Ramones never had the true success they deserved, but their influence should never be underestimated.