Kitzee Ramona

I was a teenager in Huntington Beach California in the mid 1970’’s and so happy when I heard Rodney on The Roq for the first time! I didn’t like most of the music my friends did, ELO, Journey, Aerosmith, etc. Then, a friend’s older brother got the Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks” and the Ramones first album. There were four of us: Galen, Mike, Leslie and I. We listened to those records over and over, trying to figure out what the lyrics were, and loving the energy of those short tight songs. Galen had a car, so he took us into LA a few times to see bands at The Whiskey. We saw The Dickies there once, which was mind blowing; I didn’t know such a sound was possible, and being there to watch the spectacle was so much fun! Leonard’s parents were in the audience as well. We didn’t get to LA too often, but saw the Germs and Patti Smith and more. Leslie and I got totally into the fashion aspect of the punk scene too. We already shopped at thrift stores for vintage clothing, and also started hacking things – turning T-shirts into dresses, adding safety pins to everything, and wearing mod clothing. I think we were the only people listening to punk at our school when I graduated Huntington Beach High in 1977. I still hung out with people who listened to that “popular” music, so it was almost a private thing. In 1980 I moved to San Francisco and lived with my older brother who was a musician and general fun loving 28 year old. Instantly I had a big group of older, interesting people to hang out with. That was when the Fab Mab and the Savoy Tivoli, the Stone, I-Beam and the Farm were all great places to see bands for a few bucks. Fun times! My brother Jeff worked at Revolver Records on Clement street so I got to meet lots of bands at the meet and greets there, one band being the Ramones… Then Jeff got the idea that we should start an all girl Ramones cover band called the Ramonas. He called me up one day and told me about his idea, and said “And you are going to be the singer”. Flashback to sitting in Galen’s living room years earlier, trying to figure out the lyrics. So, from 1986 to 1991, being in The Ramonas was one of the things I did for fun. My band mates Patty, Suzee and Shelly Ramona were my pals, and we worked hard to sound as much like The Ramones as we could. Playing around SF at the Chatterbox, Slims, CW Saloon, and any other place that would have us, we had a blast, and it seemed like the crowds did too. Eventually we were writing a few originals, “Betty’s Dead” and “Missdirected” being a few. We put out a covers EP of 1960’s songs, pumped up Ramonas style, called “Out of the Basement” with cover photos by my eventual husband Matt Cullinane. In 1991, Shelly’s husband got into medical school in Illinois and she was going to move soon, when we got a call from the booker from The Warfield. They asked if we could open up for some grunge bands, Dinosaur Jr and an up and coming band called Nirvana. How exciting for us all! We were going to play The Warfield! As we were doing our set, I looked out at the big crowd of people standing there, trying to get them interested in Ramones songs. They were waiting for the second act, Nirvana. We left the stage and were quite happy downstairs in our dressing room with some beers and snacks, when Suzee’s boyfriend comes in and says “Hey, come up here, and check these guys out!” Matt, Todd and I stood on the side stage listening to the music and looking at the crowd going berserk for this awesome band in their breakout prime. In December 2000, the Ramones were launching their official website and wanted to have a party at CBGB’s to kick it off. They had heard of the Ramonas from Patty Ramona herself, who was a fan friend from way back, and wanted us to send them a demo tape and to play at the party. We hadn’t played together for 8 years, Shelly lived in Illinois, and we were rusty. We practiced in SF a few times with Bill ”Betty Ramona” Schwartz on drums and flew Shelly out for one practice before we headed to NYC to play the gig, with about 12 other bands, all playing Ramones tunes. It was great fun, and being at CBGB’s with Joey Ramone just before his death was touching. I still listen to some of my favorite punk bands when the urge is there, or when Matt feels like it. We still pogo around the house and have fun. We brought up our daughter (Who is now 26 years old) listening to all kinds of music and now we share our playlists and have a good time seeing live music whenever we can. I look back on that time in my life warmly, when I found something that I really connected with, and I am eternally grateful to my older brother Jeff Davis (RIP) for having the idea of the Ramonas. It was a really good time. These days I am a retired hairstylist living in Berkeley CA.

One Comment
  1. Sam OCain

    WOW Shteppie!

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