A new Joey Ramone album entitled ‘Ya Know?’ will be released on May 30th on BMG Rights Management. Compiled by Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh, the fifteen-track album primarily consists of previously unheard songs written and performed by the late Ramones frontman, songwriter and visual icon.
The album will be previewed with the release of a coloured 7" vinyl A-side single featuring ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Is The Answer’ and ‘There’s Got To Be More To Life’ which will be issued on April 21st as part of this year’s Record Store Day.
Named after a phrase that was a staple of Joey’s conversation, ‘Ya Know?’ adds a significant new chapter to the seminal punk icon's hugely influential body of work.
The tracks were drawn from a cache of demos and unreleased recordings that Joey had cut at various times during the last decade and a half of his life. It's a riveting collection of first-rate songs that embody Joey's trademark intensity, wit and infectious hooksmanship, and that can stand proudly alongside his most beloved Ramones compositions.
It's also a fitting, if belated, follow-up to Joey's first solo album ‘Don't Worry About Me’, which was recorded just prior to his death in 2001 and released the following year.
The swaggering album-opener ‘Rock 'n' Roll Is the Answer’ (co-written with Plasmatics guitarist Richie Stotts) and the hometown shout-out ‘New York City’ demonstrate Joey's knack for channeling his personal passions into bracing anthems, while the breezy ‘Make Me Tremble’ (which Joey wrote and recorded with Dictators founder Andy Shernoff) and the bittersweet acoustic ballad ‘Waiting For That Railroad’ find him exploring some of the more introspective territory that he'd been unable to visit within the format of his former band.
Elsewhere on ‘Ya Know?’, ‘I Couldn't Sleep’ is a collaboration between Joey and Mickey who also teamed up to record a romantic alternate version of the Ramones' holiday classic ‘Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)’ in Joey's apartment. Meanwhile, a previously unreleased reprise of Joey's late-period Ramones tune ‘Life's A Gas’ ends the album on an appropriately uplifting note.
"The diversity of this album might surprise a lot of people," says Leigh, the album’s executive producer. "I really think it will expand the perception many people currently have of Joey's scope as an artist.
It's the same Joey that everyone knows and loves, but there are some things on here that are completely different from anything people have heard from him before."
Leigh, along with Joey's manager Dave Frey, reached out to an assortment of Joey's talented friends, collaborators and contemporaries in order to bring the album to fruition.
It features the production talents of Ed Stasium who produced several of the band’s most loved albums, Joe Blaney who mixed the Ramones’ ‘Halfway To Sanity’ and Joey’s ‘Don’t Worry About Me’, and Jean Beauvoir who produced the Ramones' 1986 album ‘Animal Boy’.
The album’s guests include Joan Jett, who lends her distinctive voice and guitar to ‘21st Century Girl’, and Steven Van Zandt, who plays guitar on ‘Party Line’ and wrote the album's poignant liner notes, Also featured are drummer Richie Ramone, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Dennis Diken of the Smithereens, Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, punk survivor Holly Beth Vincent, guitarist Al Maddy, Kenny Laguna, saxophonist Arno Hecht of the Uptown Horns, and members of the Ramones' punk-era contemporaries The Dictators.