Yesterday, May 19, was Joey Ramone's birthday. Although the frontman of legendary punk rock band The Ramones died in April 2001 of lymphatic cancer, his friends and family have continued to throw the annual bash that had been his tradition.
The first occurs 51 minutes and 45 seconds into the film. Vince Lombardi High School punk-rock rebel Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) and high school nerd Kate Rambeau (Dey Young) are hanging out in Riff's bedroom (right). It beats us why a nerd and a punker are friends, but anyway, Riff is explaining to Kate why she likes Joey so much:
Riff Randell: I like Joey Ramone because he's tall and handsome. He looks like a poem to me.
Kate Rambeau: A poem?
RR: All he eats is pizza. I just love the way he, he just holds the pizza dripping above his mouth [mimes holding a slice above her open mouth, as can be seen in photo]. He just slithers and slides it into his mouth and it's so sexy the way it's [makes slurping noise; laughs].
KR: [Laughing] Gross!
The second pizza-related scene occurs at 01:12:50. The band has just finished a set and is in its dressing room. Riff, who has been trying all movie to get a song she wrote to Joey, is finally face-to-face with The Ramones and is trying to give them the envelope containing "Rock 'n' Roll High School." The band enters, Marky and Johnny dragging in Joey for reasons that are unclear (perhaps he rocked too hard) and seating him in a chair while Dee Dee carries in a stack of pizza boxes:
Riff: Is he alright!?
Dee Dee: Hey pizza!
Manager: What are you doing here?
Riff: [Fanning Joey with large manila envelope] Uh, these are my songs. I've been trying to get them to you for the longest time.
Joey: Hey, it's Riff Randell, our No. 1 fan!
Riff: Oh wow, you remember my name.
Manager: This is the big time, girlie. This is rock 'n' roll.
Riff: Yeah, well this is "Rock 'n' Roll High School."
Joey: "Rock 'n' Roll High School"?
Riff: Yeah. I wrote it for Mr. McGree's music class, but ... I really wrote it for you, Joey.
Dee Dee: Hey, pizza! It's great! Let's dig in!
Joey: Yeah, I want some!
Riff: [Digging in] Oh, thanks!
Manager: How many times do I have to tell you? No pizza for you, Joey. More wheat germ and riboflavin. Yeah good. Eat. See I'm gonna eat some myself. Mmm. Organic alfalfa sprouts, c'mon, Joey.
Ticketmaster music-news site liveDaily had this to say about a meeting director Allan Arkush had with the band: "Arkush recalled meeting with the band to discuss the script over a spaghetti dinner; halfway through, he noticed that he was the only one eating, and Joey explained that the group 'didn't like pasta, they liked pizza ... they liked Italian food.'"
But then this story tells us that at some point, Joey stopped eating pizza, apparently because of what it did to his voice: "It seems Joey does not eat pizza! Hasn't for years. He can't hack dairy products; bad for singingmucus. He's also a vegetarian. Five years ago he had an accident and a revelation about his life. He got sober and health conscious."
Yet more Ramones pizzabilia: At the original Totonno's in Coney Island, there's an autographed Ramones photo (above right) hanging on the wall near the make-ready area. It's inscribed, "The best in the world."
That's kinda how we feel about you, Joey. Happy (belated) birthday.
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.