Ramones Tribute Night to Support Effort to Rename Amphitheater

 Ramones Tribute Night to Support Effort  to Rename Amphitheater

By Katie McFadden

“Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach. Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach. We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach.” You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in Rockaway who isn’t familiar with that catchy Ramones tune. And while many Rockaway Beaches from Oregon to California have tried to say it’s about them, those here know exactly which Rockaway the Queens band, noted by some as the grandfathers of punk rock, was talking about. So it only seems fitting to have some sort of tribute to them in the place they wrote the anthem for, no? Some residents think so, and they believe the new amphitheater right at the heart of Rockaway Beach is the perfect place to be named after the band. On Friday, January 12, some of those local fans plan to plead their case with a Ramones tribute night at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, complete with trivia, and of course, Ramones music.

As a member of ‘90s punk rock band, Toilet Boys, Adam Cardone, without hesitation, says the Ramones were undoubtedly a source of inspiration. “They were our heroes,” Cardone said. At some point, the Toilet Boys even got to tour with their idols. But ironically, the Ramones’ influence had nothing to do with Cardone ultimately moving to Rockaway Beach about a decade ago. That was merely coincidence. But since he’s moved to Rockaway, Cardone has had some influence of his own, bringing his magic act, burlesque shows and music to local venues, with his latest project being a Ramones tribute band, of course. Cardone plays and serves as the lead singer, along with drummer Bryan Doremus and guitarist Tommy Rambone, all local residents. The Rambones were among many bands to grace the stage of the new amphitheater in front of the boardwalk on Beach 94th Street this summer.

And they, among nearly 4,000 others, are all a part of the movement to dedicate the new amphitheater to The Ramones and name it, “The Rockaway Beach Ramones Amphitheater.” As soon as the local performance space opened in early 2023, Cardone immediately thought the venue should be named for the Ramones, and he wasn’t alone. He discussed the idea with others who shared they had the same thought. And in May 2023, he launched a petition to try to garner support for the Forest Hills-based band that made Rockaway’s “theme song,” and although not relatively as big as they could’ve been at the time when they launched in the ‘70s, has had influence on the music world that has spanned decades, with a new genre that has inspired many others. Although all the original members of The Ramones have passed, Cardone believes memorializing them in Rockaway Beach is appropriate. As we go to press, that online petition (www.change.org/p/the-naming-of-the-rockaway-beach-amphitheater-after-the-ramones) has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures.

“I’ll debate anyone on a collegiate level about why the Ramones are the most influential band to ever walk the earth, more than the Beatles, and Mozart. They really did start a revolution of new music. They’re more famous now than when they were alive and even though they didn’t sell a lot of records, they never stopped and really had a fanbase of working-class people. They were music for the people, the weirdos, the misfits, the people who felt left out,” Cardone said. “For me, I’m doing this as a fan, but they wrote the theme song everyone knows about Rockaway Beach, and this is the most fitting thing. Rockaway is a music town and there’s some really big Ramones fans here. What else would you name the amphitheater after?”

In addition to gaining support through the petition, Cardone also took his idea to Community Board 14 and the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, which he says wrote a letter of support to the NYC Parks Department, which oversees the amphitheater property. He’s even garnered some support from later members of the band like drummer Marky Ramone. And Cardone wants to keep that momentum going by keeping the idea fresh in people’s heads in the dead of winter.

Having a Ramones tribute band, and with not much on the social calendar in the offseason, Cardone approached Brady Walsh, co-owner of the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, to share his idea of hosting a Ramones night to gain support for the movement to name the amphitheater for the band. Walsh was on board. “I’m a ‘70s baby, so I grew up with that kind of music and I feel the Ramones had like a punk rock spirit that reflects the diversity of Queens. I think it’s a cool, good cause,” Walsh said. “They’re one of the most legendary bands from our area. Rockaway is a cold, dark place in the winter, so why not have some fun? Let’s kick off the new year with a bang.”

On Friday, January 12, the Rockaway Beach Surf Club (302 Beach 87th Steet) will host a Rockaway Beach Tribute to The Ramones. Doors open at 6 p.m. and Ramones trivia begins at 7 p.m. Singer Rob Bryn of The Wild Yaks will open the show at 8 p.m., and then The Rambones will take the stage at 8:30 p.m., knocking out 35 Ramones songs live, Ramones style—all downstroke.

The event is free, but donations are encouraged to help support the bands and any fundraising efforts that may be required to make the Rockaway Beach Ramones Amphitheater a reality. The ultimate goal, Cardone and Walsh say, is to eventually have a bronze Ramones statue on the boardwalk near the amphitheater, to solidify the legacy that The Ramones left behind in Rockaway history.

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