Joey Ramone would have been 60 years old on May 19. This week, in celebration of the birthday of the Queens-born gone-too-soon punk legend, Sound of the City will run a series of features on his life and his legacy.
|Bruce Frankel/courtesy Allan Arkush|
Allan Arkush has executive produced a bunch of TV shows--Crossing Jordan, Heroes, Hellcats. He made the Temptations miniseries that VH1 shows every other day. He's directed episodes of Melrose Place, Dawson's Creek, Ally McBeal, and Moonlighting. But when he shakes this mortal coil, expect the title of a $300,000 B-flick he barely spent four weeks on in 1978 to headline his obit.
Rock 'N' Roll High School, staring the Ramones, is one of the five greatest American films of all time. Well, five best movie musicals? At the very least, the scene of the band rolling down the high school halls and blaring "Do Ya Wanna Dance" with the teen archetypes (cheerleaders, jocks, geeks, etc.) following, clapping and dancing while brewing up the eventual explosion of the school, could be the most transcendent two minutes of any rock movie. Arkush, who was 30 at the time, was behind the camera. At the time, he worked in the Roger Corman camp, and Rock'n'Roll High School evolved from a simple chance to add to his directing chops into a place in rock-flick history and a lifelong friendship with Joey Ramone. More »
Arkush--a huge music fanatic--was in the midst of transferring his old mixtapes to digital storage when we reached him by phone. "This is kind of cool because I've been reading the Village Voice since I was in high school--so like 1965, '66," he said. "I first encountered it in my world history class. We were going to do a debate for and against Vietnam, and I hadn't really thought about it much. There was an ad in The New York Times around then that was against the war, and it was signed by every singer or folk singer I respected, and it really gave me pause. So I took the 'against' side, and the source for my argument was a Village Voice article. And I killed in the debate! Though then my teacher wrote a really bad college recommendation for me."