Archive for April, 2009


Posted on April 30th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 113 Comments »


Celebrating what would have been the 58th birthday of punk icon JOEY RAMONE, the annual JOEY RAMONE BIRTHDAY BASH will take place Tuesday, May 19th at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza.  Mickey Leigh, event organizer and brother of Joey Ramone, has announced that, as part of the 9th annual Bash, fans will be treated to a special advance sneak peek listen to rough mixes of never- before-heard Joey Ramone solo recordings.  Various producers, including long-time Ramones producer Ed Stasium, are currently preparing tracks for a full album worth of material, slated for posthumous release at the end of the year.
This year’s headliners are Fishbone and Supersuckers.  The spectacular party will conclude with The Friends Of Joey featuring Richie Ramone, Handsome Dick Manitoba, Jean Beauvoir, Ivan Julian, George Tabb, Al Maddy and Mickey Leigh.  Also appearing are Death and Rough Francis (both bands were the subject of a feature story in the New York Times on March 12), Uncle Monk (featuring Tommy Ramone), Bebe Buell, and Tom Clark & The High Action Boys.  As the audience enters the venue they will once again be greeted by musician Tracy Thornton, playing Ramones songs on the steel drum.  And, in what has become a Birthday Bash tradition, Sean O’Sullivan’s Punk Pipers will round out the night on the bagpipes.  The fete will be emceed by Matt Pinfield and Peter Aschner.  Additional surprises are expected at the evening’s events. 

RAMONE, who passed away in April 2001 after a seven-year battle with Lymphoma, had a history of encouraging up-and-coming bands in New York’s downtown music scene by showcasing them at his special “Joey Ramone Presents…” events.  Since RAMONE’s passing, his brother and their mother Charlotte Lesher carried on the tradition “by featuring bands that make great music and getting together some of Joey’s friends to celebrate him on what would otherwise be a sad, somber day,” Leigh explained.

This year’s Bash is being sponsored by Manic Panic, Trash & Vaudville & Tripp, and Village Voice. 

Tickets are available in advance at the Fillmore box office for$25 ($30 day of show) or through  The Fillmore is located at 17 Irving Place, corner 15th Street, NYC.  Doors open at 7PM.

For ongoing updates, visit  Net proceeds from the Bash go to support the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research.

For more information or to request press and photo credentials contact ISL Public Relations at; 1-917-338-6199.  

The Strange Case of Bob Lefsetz vs Gene Simmons

Posted on April 7th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 136 Comments »

The Strange Case of Bob Lefsetz vs Gene Simmons

Right up front, I have to state – rather emphatically – that this is not a random posting about Kiss because I felt like it. Over the last couple of weeks Ida has been mailing me various links to an “argument” that has been gathering no small amount of momentum on the web and as a Kiss fan I find it more than intriguing. The two sides appear to be this: Gene recently spoke at a music seminar, Bob retaliated saying it wasn’t very good and that Gene had his head up his ass. Gene came back with a few choice comments resulting in Gene and Bob appearing in a live debate situation which you can view here. ( VIDEO HERE: (

If you can put aside the mudslinging for long enough to think about it, it comes down to this: Gene is old school. He thinks that talking relentlessly about himself and/or his product will sell himself/his product. Bob on the other hand thinks that there is a new music business model afoot and the odds on Gene being correct are very slim. This is putting it nicely. Check out the video – there’s some killer laughs in there… mostly at Bob’s expense.  Gene’s comment of “I don’t even know who the fuck you are” is well placed. I don’t know who this guy is either but he does make a good case. I think. Call me shallow, but I found it hard to take they guy as seriously as I should have while he’s slouched in a chair. It’s always the little things…

Let’s ramp up the experiment a little and hope I don’t get my chops busted for standing in the middle of the battlefield. Let’s say I have a band. Let’s call this band Baby Dynamite because that’s what my band was called (hey – shut the fuck up… I learned from the best!). Baby Dynamite has a rough cut of an album called Blacklisted and we’re looking to crank our careers up to the next stage. This means, as Gene rightly points out in his speech that we need some help. We need either a) a company who will figure out all the crap for us, advance us some cash to clean up the album, sort the merchandising and get our name in front of as many people as possible, very fast or as Bob also rightly points out, b) an internet based plan whereby we build a loyal following direct with the fans and take all of the money from low sales (at first) instead of very little money from a lot of sales.

Bob makes some excellent points. MTV does not play music anymore… not really, but to be fair, if I’ve made a great video for what I consider to be the lead single off the album (incidentally called Creature Feature), I know who to ask at the Scuzz channel (UK audiences only!) what our chances are of getting it aired – even if it is on the other side of the witching hour. Nobody I want to sell to watches MTV anyway – they are watching Scuzz because that’s where the action is. I can also post it wherever the hell I like in the next five minutes and begin drip feeding the entire globe with a link.

The real-life scenario however is this: Baby Dynamite (there I go again) are so hungry for the big time, that we’re going to do both. Any serious band would! No band in their right mind is going to turn down development under the wing of Simmons/Universal, but likewise, we are dubious about the end result. Van Halen aside, no band Gene has touched has really made a serious dent in the world – and there have been many. I love Black n Blue as much as the next guy, but it really didn’t happen. Then again… looking back on my band (Baby Dynamite in case you missed it), which split in 1995 after seven years of not very much happening.. well, there is my point illustrated exactly. Looking back I would give my eye teeth for what Black n Blue had – four decent albums and a few trips around the globe. Hey – Tommy even got to be a member of Kiss and while the hardcore amongst us sometimes reel from the fact that Ace isn’t in the band anymore, if Gene hadn’t made the decisions he did, we wouldn’t have got much past Destroyer without it imploding.. and then there would have been no Baby Dynamite.

What’s that line from Three Men and Little Lady? “It’s tough being Papa Bear…”

I’m finding this hard going now because as an editor/fan/critic whatever you want to call me, I don’t really care where the model comes from. All I want to do is hear great music. So long as I get to hear it, it’s your problem as to whether or not you’re as clued in as me once I’ve told you about it. If Kiss choose to release their next album through the mega-chains in the States, that’s fine, count me in, but I’ll also be churning up independents such as The Dreaming (ex Stabbing Westward guys) who are running the gauntlet pretty much alone and I’m going to listen toand talk about just as much. Business models aside, this is how the world works now. Fans are greedy and will take their music from wherever they find it – and tomorrow it will be two different bands.

I really want to like Bob because I hear what he’s saying. Sadly, the other guy on the stage is a) one of my heroes b) dressed for business c) articulate d) massively intelligent and e) quick witted even if f) I suspect he might be wrong. Case in point: Gene rallied around his artist BAG a few years back. It’s a great album, it really is. Did you hear it? No you didn’t. Where is he now? Who cares – and that’s the sad truth about this. Gene gets more mileage from pimping his acts than his acts do – there’s a serious lesson to be learned there. Gene is Gene. Anybody who gets into that bed should expect nothing less. He is the Vince McMahon of rock and to pick a fight is utterly foolish. Bob can never win this argument because of that simple fact. Nobody knows or cares who he is. What would have been fantastic TV was if Bob was Marilyn Manson or Trent Reznor.. man, I would have paid to see that.

In the aftermath, Bob was still very vocal about how badly Gene treated him on TV. Gene however went back to making money and forgot all about it, whilst I considered the impact on my life of putting Baby Dynamite back together.

I learned a lot from Gene Simmons over the years. Today I learned a lot from Bob.

If you’re going to bring down a giant, get your shit together before you start and polish your shoes.

Sion Smith is the founder and editor of BURN magazine. He is also the writer/creator of the comic book series Too Hot For Dogs and some other inane fiction. If you’re in the mood to follow the semi-daily ramblings of a man with too much information in his head, check in with his personal blog at Sunday he spends some time in Kiss or Alice Cooper make-up to remember why this journey was started in the first place. 

 FURTHERANCE FROM OUR OTHER GUEST BLOGGER:I have, of course, been following this and must say it is a match made in butt-ugly heaven for both Bob and Gene. You might recall that I knew Gene before the success when he and Paul (Stanley) would come into the Music Box record store on Union Turnpike in Queens where I worked during college. Paul would brag about their future success and Gene would act like a mute. Sadly, I really don’t relate to either POV from Gen or Lefsetz. Their topic is not the music biz. It is a self-centered scenario allowed by the internet for bob and celebrity for Gene. None of it has much to do with music.

James J. Spina

VP Editor in Chief
20/20 Magazine