The Ramones at ODU: A Concert Review 41 Years in the Making


by Debra Persons

I had always heard talk around town about a very early Ramones show that supposedly took place at ODU sometime in the late ‘70’s and a recent article about the King’s Head Inn (check that out at got me thinking about figuring out the story behind this mysterious, historic punk show. Local musicians David Hunter and Marty Jones had mentioned on discussions about the KHI story that they had been at the Ramones show, so I decided to reach out to them and find out the details, once and for all.  You’ll know David as the drummer for such bands as TC and the Strays, Channel One, The Barflys, The Bartones, and Plastic Eddie. Marty is a singer/songwriter currently living in Denver who you’ll remember from CJ & the PHDs, Nick & the Razors, Phantoms of the Opry, Buck Buck, Face First, Gutbucket Blues Band, Blues Defenders/ Defenders, Louisiana Mudbugs, Hot Boudin Brothers, Marty Jones & the Tentop Boys, and a few shows with Dexter Romweber (during his stint in Norfolk) before he moved to Denver.   

Debra: Hello guys and thanks again for agreeing to share your memories of this very early punk show in the history of rock'n'roll in Norfolk.  Now, both of you are just a few years older than me.  I was 16 in 1978 and though my love of rock’n’roll was already there, I was going to see shows like Linda Ronstadt and Marshall Tucker Band at Scope.  I was nowhere near cool enough to have any idea at that time about The Ramones or punk rock, though I do think it was around this time that I saw The Sparks play on Saturday Night Live and I knew there was something really weird and new happening out there.  The Sex Pistols were also making the news in those days for their obnoxious behavior.  But I was mostly oblivious.

Can you share with us how old you were in '78 when this show happened, and tell us, if you recall, how you found out about the show.  Do you remember how and when you found out about the Ramones? Any memories of what led up to the show....where you were in your life at that time.

David: The show I saw at ODU was March 15, 1978 (I just googled it: I was 18 at the time. 

I was an early Ramones convert. A bassist I knew had bought the first LP as a lark, strictly because the cover looked all stark and cool. This would have been 1976. When he first played it for me, we howled with laughter because every song sounded the same! And the lyrics... Hilarious! But I/we kept coming back to it over and over. It was so catchy and unique, unlike anything else at the time. I pretty quickly realized that while they could barely play, there was serious thought (and humor) behind it. Before I knew it, I was hooked. I played the cassette in my car incessantly. Then the second LP: Leave Home. More of the same addictive brilliance. By the time I saw them, I had all 3 of their LPs, along with homemade cassette versions in the car.

I don't remember how I ended up there, but I do remember it was me and my guitarist at the time, Gavin. He wasn't really into the underground scene at all, so he was more or less just tagging along. I knew he likely wouldn't be impressed, but I didn't give a shit. I DO remember that the tickets were comped, so that was cool, but I have no memory of who we got them from. Might have been Gavin himself!

Marty: That's the show I saw, as well. So glad I got to see it! As Dave mentioned in a Facebook post, I think technically the setting was called Webb Center, a.k.a. the school cafeteria.

Same age for me, I was a freshman at ODU. I had discovered the Ramones through an older guy (ha, he was late 20s or so) who worked in an audio store in Kempsville. Several months before the show he hooked me up with an eight track tape he made for me that had the first Ramone's record and Graham Parker and the Rumors first record, Howlin’ Wind. To this day still two of my favorite records of all time. Sounded great roaring through the 6 x 9 Kraco co-axial speakers my mom was sweet enough to let me install in the rear window deck of her 1971 Plymouth satellite.

Marty’s ticket stub: $2.94 well spent.

At the time I was a diehard Springsteen fan wearing out the Born to Run record and his earlier stuff (my affections for Seaside and Ocean View amusement parks made his first two records extra special for me),  reading about the Sex Pistols, and on the backside of my personal funk period and the wonders of Earth Wind & Fire, Tavares, James Brown and many others. And loathing disco and corporate rock.

Much of my musical tastes were shaped by my busboy gig at the Ramada Inn on Newtown Road. The hostess there and her best pal were from the UK, and later that summer the hostess (where are you now, Barbara Cheek?) brought back a half dozen copies of the God Save the Queen single for me from London.

In 1976 me and a couple high school pals and fellow busboys would work after-hours dance parties at the hotel, that were put on by a couple of black music entrepreneurs (Harry Bonner, a former Norfolk Neptune, and DJ “The Mighty Starfire”) and two of the coolest people I’ve ever met. They took such great care of us, hipped us to awesome music, left a few cans of beer on ice for us for after each gig.

I should mention this: I eventually bought the first Ramones LP and took my copy to my big brother’s frat house at 35th & Granby. They all laughed at the music. But like David and me and so many others, those guys fell in love with the band. A week after I first played the LP for my bro and his pals, I went back the Theta Chi house to find all the fellas playing the record at roaring volume, screaming along to the chorus of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and welcoming me as some sort of kid music-discovering savant.

David: Marty, I ADORE Howlin’ Wind! What a great album. 

Marty: I’m so glad to hear that! Great record. Heat Treatment, too.

We saw a bunch of great music back then, didn’t we?! Did you see that Costello show at Chrysler Hall with Mink Deville and Rockpile? That show blew my mind. Had never seen anybody like Willie Deville and loved his first two discs, soulful like Graham Parker’s music. I remember Rockpile opened their set with Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” with that “Left my home in Norfolk, Virginia” opening line!  I still love Nick and have all of his stuff.

I should point out that I had also seen Aerosmith a couple times by then and my first concert was the Rolling Stones "Wings Over America" tour in '75 (great way to start, yes?) at Hampton Coliseum.

Okay, and Bad Company in 1976. Bought my first bag of weed at that show, and nearly got arrested for it later in the bathroom at Scope. But after asking me to empty the pockets of my dad's London Fog coat, the undercover cop got bored and walked away after I pulled out the third bottle of Malt Duck!

David: Marty, yeah man! And Stick To Me and Squeezing Out Sparks. Stellar stuff. 

I missed the Costello show, but I'm with you regarding Rockpile and Nick Lowe - what a great band. Speaking of Graham and Nick, I was also a fan of Brinsley Schwarz before they became The Rumour, when they had Nick Lowe on bass. And circling back to Costello, I loved their original version of "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding". Small world when one thinks about it.

And Aerosmith: saw them at Scope in 1976. God, were they loud. And clearly addled, haha. I missed the '75 Stones show to my eternal regret, but my first real concert was seeing them at Scope in '72 (with Stevie Wonder opening). I was 12 years old, and my best friend's Mom took us. First time I ever smelled pot! Great memories!

Deb's ticket to see Dixie Dregs at ODU in 1979

Debra: I knew this was going to be a great interview, but I am already blown away by your memories! David, I must share that the 1976 Aerosmith concert was my first concert! Never forget it, Toys in the Attic!! And those frat boys, Marty! I die...

Ok, next I'd like to ask you to share as much as you can remember about the venue itself.  I've heard it described as ODU, ODU's cafeteria, ODU's Webb Center, and the Ratskeller at ODU. Now, sometime in 1978 or '79, my high school boyfriend Joey Mishkofski (drummer: Virginia Beach's L7, Jerry's Kids, Antic Hay, Thermal Heat, The Crums) took me to see the Dixie Dregs at what I recall being referred to as the "Ratskeller" at ODU. My memory is super sketchy; standing in the middle of a crowd in front of a raised stage in a dark room.  Being a Va. Beach girl, I thought I was in the Big Scary City! Actually, I think a lot of Va. Beach people still think of Norfolk that way, but I digress.

So, please share with us, as much as you can recall, the setting of the show.  Exactly where was the room located on campus? Why do I feel like it was in a basement? That's impossible.  Was there a bar in the room? In those days you only had to be 18 years old to drink.  Was the stage raised as I recall? Please elaborate!

Marty: The ticket stub reads, “ODU Webb Center” with “Whisper Concerts” (the name of the promoter) under that. Funny, in my little Ramada Inn glass holding my ticket stubs, I also have an empty pack of rolling papers with the Whisper Concerts logo on it. Pretty edgy!

Webb Center was essentially the school cafeteria, and the setting for the show was where you would eat meals on a typical ODU day. I was in the front row with my big brother, right in front of Joey, I don't remember the stage being more than a foot or two high. I don't recall a bar per se in the place, I believe there was a place in the back of the room where you could order beer.

I do remember working through a line to get into the show. Seems to me the band was facing 49th St. from the stage.

The show was not in the Ratskeller, which when I later got to ODU was in the back left corner of Webb Center, and then got remodeled into more of the pub/restaurant kind of thing.

I do remember that the night had a great dose of electricity and anticipation. We were all about to get our first exposure to this punk rock we had been reading about. Pretty damned exciting. Plus, the Runaways were starting to get lots of attention as well, even if there was a hint of cheesiness about them to some of us.

And I gotta agree with David, the deft humor of the Ramones was a giant part of the band’s appeal to me as well. Somehow, they took the roar of the Stooges and the MC5 (bands I had not heard about at the time), whittled it down to an even simpler sonic glory, and then topped it all off with a wonderful, winking campiness. In catchy songs delivered with relentless power by a band of lovable misfits with matching haircuts and black leather jackets. It was so much thunderous fun! The perfect antidote to country rock, art rock and disco.

Debra: Marty, I'm so thrilled you have your ticket stub for us to share! Any memory of where you got that ticket? And it's great that you've kept it all these years, as so many of us have with our ticket stubs.  I wish I had known about this when I was doing the Hardcore Norfolk History Exhibit at Slover Library last summer, I would have begged you for it!

Marty: I had not seen the ticket stub for many years. But this past Thanksgiving I was going through a box of things I left in my mother-in-law’s basement since when we first moved here to Denver. The box included cassettes of live and studio recordings of my bands in Norfolk, a cordial glass from the Ramada Inn (“Luxury for Less”), and a snifter from my prom that held my collection of concert ticket stubs. Just for the record, I am not a man who lives in his past, especially high school!. But I guess the stash of stubs tells you what was important to me back then.

Did you get the anecdote I shared on the Kings Head or Hardcore Norfolk Facebook page about Johnny  jumping off the stage to punch and shove the guy next to me? That was the big thing for me of that show.

And speaking of which, to answer your other question, it involved Joey saying to the crowd, “Stawp throwing beeyah. Weuh nawt the Sex Pistols.”

Interviewee and local musician David Hunter pictured being a hooligan near the time of the show (left) and being a hooligan today (right).

David: After reading Marty's recollection (and the ticket stub as proof!), I am now certain it was the Webb Center. It was a big cafeteria type room, wide open and surrounded by glass. The Ratskeller was a small, dark bar downstairs. I believe the word in German means a bar or restaurant located in the basement of a building, so that would explain that. I'd be shocked if the Dixie Dregs played down there, as they were selling quite a few albums back then... MUCH too big of a band to play such a tiny room. They were probably upstairs in the Webb Center, as well. There was an area to buy beer, likely a table with a few kegs behind it. Beer was served in solo cups. Adequate sized stage, elevated. I think when we arrived the Runaways were already underway.

Marty, since you were near Joey, did you see that solo cup of beer smack him in the head? I'll never forget it: we were stage near the glass doors, and I saw the cup arc through the air and hit him right by the left ear. He didn't even flinch, just kept his stance, singing as if nothing happened. Beer was literally dripping down his hair on the left side. That blew my mind; to think that it was such a common occurrence that he didn't even acknowledge it.

Marty: I do remember that. And the fool next to me who was tossing beer.  Very badass, Joey’s unflinching delivery.

Gotta say it was all quite scary to me to witness. And puzzling. The man is singing a goofy song about getting a lobotomy. What’s with all of the uncool BS?

Debra: Thanks for helping give us a visual on the setting! We'll get more into the Ramones set and that flying beer in a bit, but first I want to ask you about the Runaways set. I can't remember (at age 56? surprise, surprise!) ever hearing, at least until the subject of this "lost show" came up recently, that the Runaways were the openers! Makes this show even more special, if that were possible. So, tell us what you remember about their set.  David says he thinks they were already on stage when he arrived, how about you Marty? Do you remember what they were wearing? Sorry for the girlie question, but I just love '70's punk fashion! As with The Ramones, I'm wondering if you had heard of this group before the show.  And lastly, any memories of specific songs that were played that night, or any other memorable moments for their set?

David: Deb, I'm not surprised you didn't know about The Runaways being on the tour; they weren't very well known at the time. Cherie Curry and Jackie Fox had already left, and Joan Jett had taken over lead singer duties. I knew of them because back in those days I poured over every single issue of Creem magazine (I still have most of them), and The Runaways were written about a few times. I also have a 1976(?) issue of Crawdaddy that did a huge feature on them, likely at the instigation of Kim Fowley. He was a master promoter.

Agree with Marty that the Runaways had a cheese factor, so they were never important to me. Their image was all over the place, and Lita Ford clearly wanted to be a metal guitar hero. That was evident at the show. I don't specifically remember much about their performance, other than Lita flinging her long hair around. My biggest memory of their performance was Joan Jett staring at us as she sang. Gavin and I were standing by (leaning on) these glass doors, so I guess she could see us pretty good. I don't know if it's because she found us interesting (doubtful) or disdainful (likely), but she kept turning towards us on the side while she sang. I mean, looking RIGHT AT US. I'm sure we looked like the antithesis of what she was becoming, because I do remember being decked out in all my Keith Richards hero worship glory. I'm talking long brightly colored scarf, ruffled hair, shark-tooth earring, etc. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, and remembering how Gavin was back then, he was probably still wearing bell bottoms (GASP!)

As for fashion, I THINK Jett was rocking the leather jacket that night, but the rest looked still looked sort of satiny glam-rock, as was so prevalent in the late '70s.

Interviewee and local musician Marty Jones pictured back in the day performing with his band CJ & the PHDs at Friar Tuck’s (top) and continuing to rock today (bottom).

Marty: This is great info here, David! Yes, Creem magazine, that was essential reading back then. There’s a flashback. Must’ve been very intriguing being stared at by Joan! And I hope you have a shot of yourself from that Keith phase.

I just spoke to my big brother, he said one thing he remembers from the show – in addition to Joey jumping off the stage and punching the guy next to me – was a woman walking around the show in spiked leather gear and dragging a unique fashion accessory: a dog chain that terminated with a spiked collar holding a ratty baby doll head.  You didn’t see that at a Snuff concert!

Debra: hmmm, that woman sounds like someone we used to call Mother Punk. And Kim Fowley! What a character! Another side note, he wrote the liner notes for one of Buttsteak’s (my favorite Norfolk band!) records and I actually got him on the phone to talk about it when I was making the Hardcore Norfolk documentary.  We exchanged a few calls and I still keep his message saved on my voicemail. He was a true Drama King!

Marty: I have to say I don't recall what the Runaways were wearing, though I do remember they looked as I expected after reading about them. (Back in those days I gobbled up every word in Rolling Stone magazine.) Though I remember thinking they were mighty young to be out on the road doing what they were doing.  In talking briefly to Joan Jett that night, a few things were clear to me: I've never met anybody like you, you’re the coolest woman in Tidewater right now, and my “Want to drink a beer with me?” question had never been rejected with such polite and nonchalant swagger.

Somebody on the Hardcore Norfolk Facebook page mentioned a third band on the bill, called Four out of Five Doctors. That does ring a bell. Only thing I remember about them is that they seemed out of place on the bill and the crowd wanted them to get off the stage quickly!

Debra: Wow, Marty, I hate to go on a side tangent, but I would LOVE to hear everything you can tell us about the "B & R Railroad" and your encounter there! I've never heard of this venue! What kind of place was it? Was a band playing? Did all the Runaways go there? The Ramones? By my estimation Joan would have been 20 years old in '78, and smokin' hot I would guess! Just wow.  Tell us more! And I'm thinking, with David's memory of her staring them down, she must have been on the prowl that night...meeooow!!!

Marty: I don’t remember the other Runaways being there, and the Ramones weren’t in the place when I stopped into B&R.

Hot? She was a living, breathing incendiary device to me. I don’t know if she was looking for local companionship, but I do know I wasn’t what she was looking for! Maybe she was hoping David would walk into the joint?!  We passed by each by the B&R restrooms. She brushed off my giddy, “Hey, good to see you again. Now can I buy you a beer?” with a smile and a polite “No thanks.”   

David: Wow Marty, I don't even remember B&R Railroad! But I do remember the drag queen cook, as he ended up doing the lunch shift at KHI in the early '80s. Wasn't his name Larry? Nice fella - made a mean cheeseburger.

I really don't think Joan had any "prowling" interest in either me or Gavin, but I guess I'll never know for sure. It's always puzzled me as to why she kept singing AT us, not TO us. Maybe we looked unimpressed? I really couldn't figure it out then or now. 

It's interesting that she ended up across the street afterwards. I do know that most headed back to the shitty OV motel afterward, as that's where I ended up. I remember Lita Ford and roadies looking at and critiquing color slide photos of her projected on the wall over the beds in one room. The next room over had Dee Dee and Joey and a couple of roadies. That's where I hung out.

Marty: It was a good little place. Several of my wife’s pals worked there, and it was quiet when Tuck’s had bands and you wanted a volume break. That was a different chef/drag queen than the one I knew!

I can’t attest to how long she was there at B&R, I wasn’t there long. But I wish I had been with you in OV! I look forward to hearing about you hanging with Dee Dee and Joey, how wonderful.

David: Two different drag queen chefs working on Hampton Blvd?!! Now THAT'S a story, lol!

Debra: I feel like I've struck gold talking with you two about this!  I can't wait to hear about this after party in OV, but first let's get back to the show.  You've already mentioned Joey getting pelted with a beer from the audience and rolling on with the set; not surprising I guess when you think of the audiences they had been playing for in NYC! Tell us more about that that story please! I imagine it was a short set? Please share anything you recall, especially any specific songs.  Did Joey address the audience? How many people do you think were there? Do you remember the overall feel of the crowd? I know Uncle Billy was there, and I'm sorry I was unable to reach him for this piece, but do you remember seeing any other local punks at the show? I will forever be jealous of those of you who were hip enough at that time to be there!

Marty: Did you get the anecdote I shared on the Kings Head or Hardcore Norfolk Facebook page about Johnny jumping off the stage to punch and shove the guy next to me? That was the big thing for me of that show.

From Marty’s post on the King’s Head Inn Facebook page: The Ramones played in the cafeteria, not the actual Rathskeller bar. I'm guessing there were a couple hundred people there. Could've been more. I was in the front row, about three feet in front of the band with my big bro, who was an ODU student at the time. Makeshift stage maybe a foot high. Couple songs into the set, a man next to me threw beer on the band. Joey Ramone, in his quirky NY accent: "Stop throwing beer." Next song, the guy tosses beer again. Joey: "Stop throwing beer. We're not the Sex Pistols." Next song, the guy splashed more beer. In a flash Johnny Ramone drops his guitar, steps off the stage, punches the guy in the chest and pushes him back into the crowd, returns to the stage, grabs his guitar and kicks back in with the band, which never stopped. Whole thing took maybe two seconds. Coolest --and certainly punkest -- thing I had ever seen. After the show I did all I could to convince Joan Jett that I should be her boyfriend. Ran into her later that night at the B&R Railroad, next to Friar Tucks, where she again very sweetly passed on the idea.

And speaking of which, to answer your other question, it involved Joey saying to the crowd, “Stawp throwing beeyah. Weuh nawt the Sex Pistols.”

David: Marty, was the guy standing next to you the one who threw the plastic solo cup that hit Joey? I couldn't tell where it came from where I was, but I certainly saw it fly through the air and smack Joey's head and hair. Also, I don't remember seeing Johnny jump off the stage. Was he going after the beer tosser? Damn, sorry I missed that!

Deb, regarding the show, I remember thinking how cool Johnny and Dee Dee looked to me, and how much those two moved around. Prior to this, I'd only seen photos of them playing live, so didn't fully know what to expect. (I know they did a "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert" episode, but I never saw it until until it was posted on Youtube decades later.) Dee Dee hopping around, Johnny walking forward and backwards towards the amps, Joey doing that Joey stance - long legs and all, then out of nowhere, doing that weird herky-jerky Joey move that I can't even describe in words. Tommy just looked cool with shades on the whole time.

Regarding the setlist, I remember Pinhead and the "Gabba Gabba Hey" sign being carried around. Everything else went by so fast. The best way I can describe what I saw and heard was one year later, when another bass player friend of mine acquired the (then British import only) double album "It's Alive". THAT sounds exactly like what I heard and saw, the only difference being the British audience sounded about 10 times bigger than the Webb Center audience. (Side note: "It's Alive" ranks, in my mind, as one of the best live LPs of all time. I believe it was recorded NYE 1977, so it's very likely the same setlist Marty and I saw a couple of months later.)

As far as the crowd size goes, the room seemed pretty full. I don't know the capacity of the room, and I don't recall any chairs, so everyone was standing. I'd say several hundred people, perhaps? 

I caught them again at Rogues Gallery in 1979. Marky was the new drummer. Crowd was definitely into them by then, singing along to all the songs. They were getting a lot of press and would soon be featured in R&R High School.

Marty: I’m gonna get “It’s Alive,” sounds great!

I have two other stubs from Ramones shows, both at Peabody’s, Oct 10 1981 and June 20, 1983. What fun!

Debra: What an amazing experience it must have been! Ok guys, before we tie this up, tell us about the after-parties! David, please go into as much detail as you can about making it to the motel in OV where the band was staying! How did that happen??! And Marty, you've already told us you ended up at the B & R Railroad that night.  Anything else you can share about that? Exactly where was that place and do you remember if there was a band playing that night? Finally, do either of you have any follow-up stories about how this concert influenced you?

David: Okay, this part is pretty vague in my memory, so maybe Marty can confirm...  Having split from Gavin, I remember wandering the backstage hallway area after the show (there was no actual "backstage", just a hall with doors left and right - is that right, Marty?). I ran into another guy I knew who asked if I wanted to go to the motel in OV afterwards, as he knew both bands were staying there. "Sure. What motel?" says me. He told me the name, which for the life of me cannot remember anymore (it's long gone now), but it was somewhere between Chesapeake Blvd and Granby St. along East Ocean View Ave. 

I drove down there, then found myself in a room with Lita Ford and some roadies looking at color slides of the Runaways reflected on the cinder block wall. 

(Side note: After hearing about Marty running into JJ at B&R, my theory is that Lita and Joan shared the room, Sandy and the new bassist shared another). 

I never saw JJ or the other two. It was very subdued and dark in there, so I made my way over to the next room, which was apparently Joey and Dee Dee's room.

This is where most of my memories are. Canned beer was readily available. Dee Dee (still in his leather jacket) was sitting on one twin bed, me on the other. A couple of roadies wandered in and out (all dressed in black), and Joey was sprawled out on the floor by the sink talking on the phone. He seemed about 10 feet long - a skinny leather snake. I ended up talking to Dee Dee the whole time I was there. I cannot tell you what a nice guy he was! He clearly didn't have to be bothered with me, but I guess he could tell I was a real fan, and I likely mentioned I was a working musician, even if I was dressed about 3 years behind the times. I was painfully aware of how dated I felt when within their lair. I mean, rooster haircut?? God, I felt instantly like a hick around them. He was showing me the latest issue of Creem which I didn't have yet. It not only had a feature story about the Ramones, but a full page "Stars Cars" pic of them leaning on a smashed up red car. I was mightily impressed, and likely gushed about how cool that was to me. (Like I said earlier, Creem magazine was IT for me back then...the BIGTIME.) I'm sure I asked him a lot of stupid questions, and he was very genuine, answering them all with thoughtfulness and respect. A really great guy, with absolutely no airs about himself at all. As cool a motherfucker as he was, he was genuine and nice. And patient. I'll never forget that. 

Joey, on the other hand, was not. I recall having to literally step over him not once, but TWICE, to get into the bathroom. He never acknowledged me, even as I scaled over his elongated torso blocking my way. The guy took up half the fucking room. He remained on the phone, steadfastly ignoring my presence and everyone else's while talking to (I have to assume) his girlfriend at the time. This was the scene for about 45 mins. I remember thinking what a dick Joey was for the longest time afterward, but as I matured, I came to realize that it actually was HIS room, and I was stepping over HIM to piss in HIS bathroom. In hindsight, I don't blame him one bit. That he didn't tell me to fuck off speaks volumes. So Joey, I'm sorry I thought you were a dick.

My final memory was when it was decided to procure more beer. I realized that was the end of my brush with the Ramones and walked out with Dee Dee and the roadies. I had to break it to them that they quit selling beer here in town at midnight. They couldn't believe I was serious! "No way, man!" Again, I realized what a hick town this must've appeared to be to these guys. As they queued up in the stairwell to climb into the white rental van in the parking lot, I called out to Dee Dee: "It was really good meeting you, Dee Dee". He turned back to me with his hands tucked tight in his pockets, alert eyes, and said "Yeah, man". And that was that.

Debra: Amazing!

David: As far as influence, I quickly realized that the future of R&R was going back to minimalism: 2:30 minute songs with strong hooks within 20 seconds. The Ramones threw down the gauntlet for me that night. This was the beginning of the end for corporate rock, prog rock, southern rock, and all other meandering rock bands that were so prevalent around here. Same for fashion: back to simple t-shirts, straight legged jeans and leather jackets. The days of flamboyant clothing and shag hairdos were over. Loads of bands that I might have previously admired were rendered obsolete and insignificant - many of them deservedly so. Glam was dead. Long-winded jams were dead. Long hair was dead. All that was transpiring was fresh and new, and The Ramones were the opening salvo for me. Exciting times. Rock and roll was fun again - not meant to be taken too seriously. I absolutely loved it. In many ways (for me, at least), the late '70s/early '80s was the last great era for R&R. As a longtime admirer and historian of the genre, I miss it greatly. 

Marty: Observations? One of the things college is supposed to do is broaden your horizons and expose you to things you’ve never known about or seen before. Which ODU (with Whisper Concerts direction, of course) did in grand fashion by presenting that show. It was an edgy, ambitious, challenging thing to do. With shows like that, in a very meaningful way  -- to paraphrase Springsteen -- you learned more in a set of music than you ever learned in school.

That night turned out to be pretty darn historic. It put a bunch of people face-to-face with the vivid message of great rock & roll and punk rock: Life is very short, so do what YOU want to do. Defy the mainstream and what you’re “supposed to do” in life. Stay true to your convictions. Don’t give up. And have some freaking fun along the way!

While our parents worried that sort of thinking would lead us to trouble, for the most part they worried for nothing. It’s a fantastic credo to live by.

Sadly, I don’t think kids at ODU are getting that kind of important education anymore.

Speaking of observations. In those days, some people thought punk rock would be gone in a year or two and was an affront to “real” music. But look what happened and what those four characters did? Of all of the people who ever spent time in Webb Center before then and since, has anybody else made such a lasting mark on the world’s culture?  

The Ramones play Germany in 1978.


About Debra: I am a middle aged stay-at-home mom with a degree in literature from O.D.U. who never got over my love for punk rock. As a lifelong resident of Tidewater, I have a love of and need for time by the ocean, as well as live music experiences. Grey, my husband and playmate of almost 30 years, couldn't agree more. You'll find us either in front of the stage or surfside....

Debra Persons