The Ramones were never a happy family. They never gave much of a crap for the political idealism that would come to be associated with the sound that they defined, either. This is especially of guitarist Johnny Ramone, a notorious conservative who celebrated the bands' induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by declaring, "God bless President Bush."
That was in 2002, but frankly, no one was surprised. Because the Ramones had already been singing about Johnny's brand of conservatism for more than 20 years at that point. Joey Ramone allegedly wrote the lyrics to "The KKK Took My Baby Away" after his then-girlfriend, Linda Daniele, cheated on him with Johnny.
This is relevant not only because of my personal passion for weird underground rock trivia. But also because Linda Daniele went on to marry Johnny, and the woman now known as Linda Ramone is now embroiled in a lawsuit with Joey's brother, Mickey Hyman, over the rights to the Ramone legacy.
Joey and Johnny are both dead now, of course. But Mickey has taken issue with the fact that Linda named her sprawling LA home "The Ramones Ranch," as if claiming it to be the official commemorative estate for a band that was quite famously from Queens. From Page Six:
Under [private arbitrator Bob] Donnelly’s decision, Linda must use a less band-specific name for her home, such as “The Johnny Ramone Ranch” or “The Linda Ramone Ranch,” according to the filings.
She must also go by Linda Cummings-Ramone, as opposed to Linda Ramone, in promoting future iterations of the tribute show if she wants it to include the work of the whole band.
In Donnelly's decision—which has been filed in Manhattan Supreme Court and is currently awaiting the approval of a judge—also adds that, "Mickey Hyman and Linda Cummings-Ramone have been entrusted with the exceedingly important mission of preserving the legacy of the Ramones for its existing followers, and to grow this iconic brand to a new world-wide group of music fans. The only way those goals can be accomplished, in my estimation, is for there to be some radical changes made by Mickey, Linda, and their representatives."
You know, because nothing says "punk rock" like "closed-door arbitration over trademarks and real estate" (though I'm sure Johnny would be proud of it). At least the rest of us still have this song:
Joey Ramone’s brother says Johnny’s widow is ruining the band’s legacy [Priscilla DeGregory and Aaron Feis / Page Six]