By Eileen Murphy
Joey Ramone may be singing lead in that all-star punk band in the sky these days, with bandmate Dee Dee on the bass beside him, but here on earth the shaggy-haired rocker’s legend lives on. A tribute album called “We’re a Happy Family” is in the works, and will feature covers of classic Ramones tunes by major acts like U2, Marilyn Manson, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Garbage.
The irony in this is that, in the latter years of their career, the New York-based godfathers of punk could barely get themselves arrested. By the early 1980s, New Wave had eclipsed Punk. Video, courtesy of MTV, killed the radio stars and the Ramones went back underground, where tensions between singer Joey and bassist Dee Dee Ramone boiled over into an acrimonious split.
But enough with the “Behind the Music” promo. Now that the two best-known members of the band are gone, the music world can’t heap enough praise on them. The forthcoming album will include covers of their best-known songs, like “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Do You Remember Rock and Roll?” U2 weighs in with “Beat on the Brat.” We can only hope that the (inevitable) video will show Bono in a long, Joey-like wig. He already has the glasses.
War of the Words
There’s nothing quite as entertaining as a hissy fight to liven up a late-summer afternoon. Take the current exchange of bitchy comments between Lord Henry Mountcharles (Slane Castle’s rock ‘n’ roll aristocrat) and Louis Walsh (Ireland’s own King of Pop). The two have gotten into a bit of a slagging match regarding who will and won’t be taking the stage at future Slane rock fests.
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Lord Henry launched the first salvo last week, when he declared that “manufactured” pop acts like Westlife, Six and Hear’Say would never appear at Slane. He tried to take the edge off his remarks by insisting that he meant no offense at all, at all. In fact, he said, Westlife manager Louis Walsh was a bosom buddy of his. Sure, didn’t he have the greatest respect for the likes of Boyzone, Westlife, Bellefire, B*Witched, Fifth Avenue, Six, etc., etc.
Unfortunately, Walsh didn’t see things in quite the same way. Immediately after signing a deal to have Westlife headline at Croke Park (capacity: 80,000) next year, he couldn’t resist firing back.
“We’ll be playing Croke Park next year and it is a far better venue than a field in Meath,” he said with a snort.
“Anyway, I don’t know why Mountcharles is going on about which acts he will and won’t have at Slane,” he continued. “The whole Slane event is organized by the promoters, MCD. He just receives a fee for his field.”
Despite Mountcharles’s misgivings about having a pop star play in his backyard, he reportedly had no trouble renting out his parlor for a pop star wedding. You will recall that it was in Slane Castle’s posh environs that Westie Bryan McFadden and his Atomic Kitten missus Kerry Katona held their wedding reception in January, huddled under blankets. With apologies to MasterCard, we guess there are some things money can’t buy . . .
In more Westlife news, we caught a short video promo featuring the band on a recent Aer Lingus flight, and all we can say is, American girls are gonna go mad for Kian. We don’t really remember what he said — something along the lines of how excited they are about coming to America, how hard they work, blah, blah, blah — but we do remember thinking that, with his looks, this kid could be a breakout star and the next big teen idol.
She’s got his numba
Irish pop princess Samantha Mumba was the featured attraction at the recent O2 in the Park concert, but we hear that if she had her way, one journalist would have stopped taking in oxygen, full stop.
Right before she took the stage in front of 30,000 screaming fans, the singer-turned-actress spotted a journalist who had slagged off her recent performance in the Stephen Spielberg film “The Time Machine.” A backstage source reports that Sam became enraged at the sight of the hapless hack, and lost her cool. The critical critic was hustled off to another area, while Sam’s handlers worked feverishly to cool her down. By all accounts, they did a bang-up job. Sam’s performance was reportedly the highlight of the show. No word on whether her favorite critic agreed.
Keith duffs the drugs
It’s axiomatic: any celebrity whose image is so pure it makes you puke is almost certainly hiding something. And in the case of Boyzone’s Keith Duffy, that something was a dalliance with drug culture.
The handsome singer, who was smart enough to carve a TV career before the late, lamented Boyzone hit the skids, is currently improving the ratings of the British soap “Coronation Street.” But he obviously has his eye on bigger things (Hollywood, perhaps?), so he’s decided that the time has come to shed his goody-goody image. These days, it seems that he’s buttonholing any journalist within a five-mile range and spilling his guts. This week’s revelation is his past drug use. But, we must say, his revelations are rather coy. He doesn’t specify what substances he abused, how much, how often, or how recently.
“I have experimented,” he admitted in an interview with Ireland’s Evening Herald. “Drugs are there if you want to go and look for them. I’ve had my fair share of rock ‘n’ roll indulgences.”
But Keith does have a message for today’s youth.
“Nobody should mess around with them until they’re of an age when they understand what they’re doing,” he said. “I would never tell people they should take them.” In other words, people, just say no thank you.