The Week in Rock

Do you ever wonder what Marky Ramone is up to these days? I do. Sure, he’s had a luminous career in the greatest band ever to commit songs to record, but what’s holding the guy up these days? I can’t imagine The Ramones’ royalties are all that lucrative. Well, it turns out that Marky, along with The Misfits’ Jerry Only, Dez Cadena from Black Flag, Ivan Julian of the Voidoids, and some other guy, have all joined forces to create a bizarre punk supergroup with the intent to tour and release records. Good for them, I say, to not let their futures be monopolized by the successes of their pasts! The band, an anime-themed outfit named Osaka Popstar, will release their very first long player, Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk, on May 23, and plan to hit the road in its support as well. Included in the album will be a DVD, a bonus sticker and a proof of purchase redeemable for a free unreleased Misfits 45, all of which seems kind of shtick-y to me. Is it “we’re putting out a lousy record” insurance? But I digress; these fellows deserve a chance to prove themselves based on the merits of their previous bands. Ramones? Black Flag? That’s a hefty pedigree right there. On top of that, cult icon Daniel Johnston wrote one of the album’s tracks and sings on another, a cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow.” Even so, there’s something about this that still doesn’t sit right with me. It’s still too – shtick-y. We’ll have to wait and see how the shtick plays out.

Jesus Christ! Is Dinosaur Jr. ever going to get tired of reissuing records? It’s been almost a constant thing for the past couple of years. I feel like these guys are living all over me a little too much, you know? Rhino Records will be releasing the band’s Sire albums, Green Mind of 1991 and Where You Been of ’93, along with a limited-edition live CD of J Mascis’ first acoustic concert. Expect, as usual, profuse liner notes and bonus material. Of course, the reissues are small potatoes compared to the rumored NEW Dinosaur Jr. record that’s supposed to be coming out, with the band figuring out whether or not new material would actually work. Lou Barlow is already feeling the old strain, offering these words on his web site last week: “J is probably working on guitar and vocals on the seven-plus songs Murph and I ‘finished’ in February – I didn’t have much of a chance to write for the band and none of the songs I do have seemed to fit – in many ways the ‘vibe’ of Dinosaur is exactly like it was 16 years ago – to assert myself on its dynamic seems an impossible task – I like collaborating, making mistakes, discussing the music etc., etc. – the band is more about J’s vision.” This kind of tension is what led to Barlow’s ousting from the group in 1989, so hopefully it gets worked out, or you’ll have to keep hearing about these reissues for a few more years.

After operations to drain excess fluid out of his head after his widely publicized fall out of a coconut tree, Keith Richards is out of the hospital. The sprightly 63-year-old was doing fine, said the band’s publicist, but would remain on outpatient status for a time as an extra precaution. Last week, the English tabloids were rife with rumors that Richards was returning to the hospital for more surgery and could possibly suffer brain damage as a result of the incident. This turned out not to be the case, and it seems that once Richards gets the “all clear” from doctors the famed pop group will be able to continue with their tour. Richards released a statement of thanks directed at “the doctors” and “the beautiful ladies who make painful nights less painful and shorter – many thanks, Kiwis.” He continued to say, “I hope I wasn’t too much of a pain in the arse – after all, it was my head that was fixed.” Who knew he was so witty? It’s like he should have been in The Beatles or something.