Honoring The Ramones legacy

Rockaway Bitch, The all-female Ramones tribute band is rapidly gaining momentum with Ramones fans in the tri-state area. The line-up features Patti Rothberg on lead vocals, Hitomi ‘Tomi’ Nakamura on drums, Rockelle Cakes (Cakey) on bass, and their manager Jennifer Eden ‘Jenny’ on guitar. She books the band’s gigs. 

The band is gearing up for a show at Mother Pugs, a club on Staten Island to pay tribute to the late Johnny Ramone on his birthday October 8th.  

Suzanne Rothberg: The Ramones have been an inspiration to all music fans. What aspect has inspired their legacy?

Jennifer Eden:The Ramones have left a legacy that runs so deep and in ways people probably don’t even realize.

From music to fashion to attitude and beyond. But, the most important part in my humble opinion is the introduction of the idea that Rock n’ Roll should be uncontrived and non-egocentric. They inspired countless kids to pick up an instrument, because it became clear through The Ramones that playing RnR was not and should not be an elitist endeavor. They basically did for music what Bruce Lee did for martial arts…cut out all the bull and kept what mattered most, what was true. To me, this is the essence of punk.

Suzanne Rothberg: Did any of the band members meet The Ramones?

Jennifer Eden: I briefly met Marky at a book signing, he was super cool and even gave a personal demonstration of the unique drum technique necessary to play the Ramones songs. But the best story is when Patti met Joey Ramone in the late 80’s at the old Ritz, which is now Webster Hall.

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She was about 15/16-years-old and as per usual was dressed like Joey. Even then people would point out her resemblance to him. Anyway, Patti was with a friend who knew Joey and she introduced the two of them. They shook hands and that was about it.

The queens of rock and roll

Suzanne Rothberg: How did it feel for #Rockaway Bitch to perform at the Queens Museum for The Ramones Exhibit?

Jennifer Eden: It was an absolute thrill for us to perform at such a momentous event. It really was a dream come true to be a part of that day and to get to perform for not only all the awesome Ramones fans in attendance. But for Mickey Leigh (Joey’s brother) and Monte Melnick (Ramones tour manager) who incidentally gave us a really nice public compliment.  

Suzanne Rothberg: The band started as a trio with no official lead singer and had some personnel changes. When you brought Patti into the band were you impressed by her voice and her looks as the official 'Joey Ramone?'

Jennifer Eden: It was very clear that if we were to bring in a fourth member we’d be very picky about who we would choose to represent Joey Ramone.

Cakey was friends with Patti and had played in bands with her before, so she asked her to come sit in on a rehearsal. I walked in the room and was immediately taken by the obvious resemblance.

Suzanne Rothberg: I have two questions for you Patti. 1.) You say you channel Joey Ramone on stage and even met him once. How long do you plan to keep playing the role and what keeps you motivated? 2.) What do you enjoy most about being the lead singer in 'Rockaway Bitch?'

Patti Rothberg: When I very first joined Rockaway Bitch, I was imitating a much throatier, more "cookie monster" voice (that I had remembered him doing live) but after studying the many great videos, I realized he actually has a much smoother more melodic voice that is quite natural for me to emulate. I channel all aspects of Joey Ramone, vocal, stage moves, mannerisms, etc.

Suzanne Rothberg: Any upcoming projects?

Jennifer Eden: We just recorded a 6-song EP that includes: Blitzkrieg Bop, I Wanna Be Sedated, Commando, ‘Beat On The Brat’, ‘Judy Is A Punk’ and ‘Rockaway Beach’, which are all staples in our set.The whole thing was recorded in one day at The Gearbox Recording Studio. It has since been mixed and mastered and we’re extremely proud of the end product and are looking forward to sharing it with everyone. #punk rock