Thursday 10 October 2013

The Ramones Museum Berlin

Ramones Musuem founder Flo Hayler - Photo by Paul Slattery
I finally got round to visiting the Ramones Museum in Berlin and I was blown away by the impressive labour of love that the museum founder and "Curator" Flo Hayler and the team have created. First opened in 2005, the Museum expanded and moved to it's current location in 2008 and there are over 500 items of rare Ramones memorabilia on display - from early tour posters, rare photos and a signed bass drum skin - to more personal items such as Marky's sneakers and even Joey's jeans! Then we have other items such as handwritten song lyrics, drum sticks and super-size prints from Roberta Bayley, the photographer responsible for the iconic cover of the Ramones debut album. Hanging from the ceiling are many rare and obscure T-shirts and there's even the geek mask worn by a roadie who would take the stage brandishing the "Gabba Gabba Hey!" sign. There's also a screening room to watch all those great Ramones videos and live shows and movies such as "Rock 'n' Roll High School".

Ramones promoter Gary Topp, Flo and photographer Paul Slattery
There are photos by Ramones Manager Danny Fields, taken on the band's early trips to London, including the legendary Roundhouse and Rainbow shows that were to inspire a generation of British Punk bands. There's a nice cafe and bar and a cool shop where you can stock up on a great selection of Ramones and original Museum branded merchandise. Every now and then the Museum is transformed into a venue for intimate acoustic performances from bands such as The Boys, The Subways and even Ramones bassist CJ Ramone. I was with my Retro Man Blog colleague the photographer, Paul Slattery, who presented Flo with a poster of his "Vive Le Rock" magazine cover shot of Johnny Ramone which will hopefully be soon on display. You can hear Paul talking about his experiences with the Ramones in our special Retrosonic Podcast episode, including being on the side of the stage at the legendary New Years Eve Rainbow show recorded for the "It's Alive" album. 

Ramones Museum Cafe and Bar - Photo by Steve Worrall
While we were there, early Ramones promoter Gary Topp visited the Museum to present Flo with some memorabilia to add to the ever expanding collection. So why Berlin? Well why's after all a city steeped in Rock 'n' Roll, Punk and all kinds of decadent and underground music. The Ramones certainly had a thing about Berlin, I always remember that line "...from old Hanoi to East Berlin..." from "Commando", which featured on the band's second album "Leave Home", and the very last song on the band's very last studio album "Adios Amigos" was entitled "Born To Die In Berlin". So I guess it does make sense that the world's only Ramones Museum is not actually located on the Bowery in downtown New York but in Mitte, the heart of the old East Berlin.

Paul Slattery presents his Ramones Vive Le Rock cover
Photo by Steve Worrall
Flo and Paul Slattery in front of a small selection of the Museum's memorabilia
The Ramones Museum is located at 23 Krausnickstrasse, Mitte, Berlin. The closest S-Bahn station is Oranienburger Strasse. With thanks to Flo for his generosity. All photos copyright as noted. For more photos of the Ramones Museum showing a selection of the memorabilia on display, then please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the exclusive photo album.

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