The Ramonas have established a name for themselves as an electrifying tribute to The Ramones. Touring far and wide since 2004, the girls have not only been keeping the magic of The Ramones alive but performing original songs of their own to an ever-growing international fanbase. As the band prepare for another string of dates in the UK before leaping over the pond to kick the continent into shape they caught up with The Punk Lounge to talk tour, The Ramonas and their dream festival line-up.
You have a lot of tour dates on the horizon! How are you finding them so far?
Camille: The UK part of the Mania Tour has been great so far! I’ve really enjoyed playing some of the later Ramones material and incorporating some more of our own songs into the set!
Maxine: I absolutely love touring, I never want it to end! I’m also really enjoying the later Ramones tunes as well as the classics, they’re really fun to play.
Vicky: Amazing so far, it’s been great mixing up the set and also having some really great support bands on the bill. I’ve really enjoyed adding some of our own songs into the set, they’ve been going down really well.
Your debut album as The Ramonas (Original) ‘First World Problems’ is very fast and in-your-face. Which songs would you say have had the best response live?
Camille: It’s hard to say really, they all seem to generally go down well! Which is amazing, we’re grateful to have such a positive response from the fans.
Lisa: It does vary from gig to gig, but probably ‘First World Problems’ and ‘Roadkill’.
Vicky: It’s been really hard picking just a couple of tunes when we slot them into the covers set but the catchier ones like ‘First World Problems’, ‘Roadkill’, ‘Daily Fail’ have had a great response and ‘Cotton Wool Kids’ seems to be pretty popular too!
You’ve been a band since 2004, exclusively as a tribute to The Ramones up until 2016 when the ‘Speak Up’ original single was released. What has it been like promoting and touring an albums worth of new material and developing yourselves as original artists?
Lisa: It’s been really refreshing actually. We absolutely love playing the Ramones music but it has been great to be creative and get our own music out there. We have had such a positive response to the album it’s actually surprised us how much people seem to like the album.
Vicky: From a creative point of view it’s been a lot of fun but also a hell of a lot of work from the DIY release side of things, it’s definitely all worth it though. Personally I’m really glad we’ve made the move into originals and super grateful for the support we’ve received from everyone!
As a band which seems to tour a hell of a lot – “touring, touring is never boring” – who have been your favourite bands to play with this year so far?
Camille: UK Subs and Criminal Mind, as always! And my new favourite band we played with in Worcester last night – The Whipjacks! 🙂
Lisa: Definitely all the above that Camille has said (loved The Whipjacks the other night). We have also done a few gigs with ‘London Calling’ recently and had a blast with them too!
Vicky: We’ve had some amazing bands on the gigs with us this year, I really enjoyed watching Army of Skanks, Healthy Junkies and my new faves Werecats.
An interview from last year stated that you were considering changing the band name now that you have original songs. Are you still throwing ideas around for a new name?
Lisa: Yeah, we have basically decided not to get a new name. It became so complicated and coming up with a good band name is difficult. So we thought for the time being we will keep as The Ramonas (Original).
Any highlights of the tour so far?
Lisa: For me it was Edinburgh this year. We absolutely love playing there and sadly the venue we usually play in ‘Citrus Club’ has now closed. We were the last band to ever play there as it shut the following day. So it was an extra special gig (for me personally as i have been going there since I was a teenager).
Camille: Meeting footballer Chris Waddle and his family was pretty cool! 🙂 They all came to our Sheffield gig and took photos, they were all so nice!
Maxine: We’ve eaten SO many carverys this tour. I’m having the time of my life!
Vicky: Leeds and Edinburgh were definitely highlights for me as well as the shows we did with London Calling.
If you could support any band – alive or dead – who would it be?
Camille: Nirvana! Every time 🙂
Maxine: Joan Jett!
Vicky: Joan Jett for sure!
What is the funniest thing that has happened on one of your tours?
Vicky: There’s been so many funny moments on tour, one really silly story is from a gig we played in Cologne a few years ago. During the song ‘Pinhead’ we have the Pinhead character join us on stage at the end of the song but on this occasion he’d gone to get changed in the room at the side of the stage and got locked in, halfway through the track we heard faint calls of “hello…hello!” Luckily one of the bar staff realised what had happened and they opened the door just in time for him to make it on stage!
Another one of our tour mishaps can be heard on our song ‘Ramonas Go To Freiburg!’
Just for fun; do you prefer Sex Pistols or The Clash?
Maxine: Sex Pistols!! Never Mind The Bollocks is one of my favourite albums.
Camille: – I’d probably have to say Sex Pistols too, they were just so entertaining – for many reasons, good or bad! Haha!
Lisa: The Clash for me as they have some great songs!
Bowie or Iggy?
Maxine: Bowie. He has so many tunes.
Camille: I love both, but would have to ultimately choose Iggy, again so entertaining and for the rawness and energy.
Lisa: Iggy, as he has so much stage presence and energy which I love.
Vicky: This is a tough one! I’d probably go with Bowie for the songwriting.
Describe your dream festival.
Maxine: My music taste is super eclectic, I’d have a mix of punk, metal, prog, hip-hop, math rock, grunge bands. Too many to list. David Gilmore would be there though as would Joan Jett and Slipknot.
Camille: Same, I love all types of rock, hip-hop, blues, reggae, ska, electronic music…it would have to incorporate everything haha. It seems this is a more common occurrence overseas than in the UK, festivals over here seem to always be more genre specific.
Lisa: A festival in a Scottish castle with free drinks and tattoos. The headliners would be The Ramones, The Distillers and Dropkick Murphys. (Obviously not possible, but would be amazing!!)
Vicky: My dream festival already exists – Rebellion! I would just add Joan Jett and The Undertones to the bill.
Tell us a bit about where The Ramonas are at now. Are there plans to record any new material or film any more music videos?
Maxine: We have a few things in the pipeline! A new music video is definitely on the cards in the near future, we’re starting to think about new songs too which I’m very excited for.
Catch The Ramonas on tour with Shonen Knife in the UK this April before they head to Europe. Can’t make the dates? They’re back in June for more UK dates and to rock the Road to Rebellion – click here for tour dates.