End of the Century

The Ramones offer one more burst of brilliance with a new anthology

Regardless, the newly remastered songs get rid of considerable sonic mud from previous versions, adding surprising clarity, particularly on the '70s-era tracks. The enclosed 80-page book features pages of rare pics and sharp liners penned by David Fricke. "I'm happy that Rhino wanted to put the anthology out. I'm happy with the booklet; the booklet I think is great. I would have chosen some different songs," says Ramone. "There are some favorites of mine that are not included. Yeah, it sounds great. I didn't listen to the whole thing. My wife, she'll listen to the stuff. She'll go outside to the pool-house and walk on the treadmill and listen to the stuff. I feel funny listening to it."

Does he ever get drunk, jump around and shout things like, "Hey, I was a Ramone!" "No," he says laughing. "It's funnier to see what it means to other people. I just looked at it as my job and did the best that I could. But at the same time, I feel like we are a very important band. I look at it and I wonder if we were the most influential American band. I mean, there are the Beach Boys, but I don't know that they were more influential. The Doors were a tremendous band, one of my favorites, but I don't think they were very influential. But as far as American bands, I think that we are possibly the most influential American band."

Ramone explains that he doesn't want to do interviews anymore. He's tired. The rock 'n' roll fight has taken it out of him. At least he'll never have to stare down at the faces of simian Sabbath fans. "This might be my last interview I ever do," he says emphatically. "Yeah, this is probably my last interview."

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