28 Moncton musicians teamed up to create At Home with the Ramones, an 18 song, pandemic inspired homage to NYC’s punk pioneers.
There was no shortage of creativity during 2020. Despite all the unfortunate circumstances brought on by the arrival of COVID-19, many artists were able to use the down time to their advantage, writing and recording new music, creating new works of visual art and dreaming up ambitious plans for the future. As the pandemic’s one-year mark passes, more and more projects rooted in this unexpected pause of normalcy are beginning to see the light of day, proving the resiliency of artists and facilitators from all backgrounds and disciplines. As a result, 2021 is shaping up to be an exceptionally exciting time for creators and audiences alike.
One of the most recent new projects to surface from this period of confined creativity is At Home with the Ramones, a collaborative recording project involving several Moncton area musicians.
“The idea started when COVID hit and we were locked down,” said Michael Thorne, the Moncton musician who came up with the initial idea for this project. “I was just recording Ramones songs myself to keep me from going crazy. I thought it was therapeutic at the time, so I had the idea to bring in my bandmates from Make Believe Friends. That led to the crazy idea of finding more musicians in Moncton who could record from home.
“I had one rule in place in the beginning and it was, anyone involved must be able to record from home because of the whole lockdown thing,” he said. “So I started cold calling people to see who would be interested and discovered that a lot of people were. Everyone thought it was a great idea and something worth pursuing.”
As the project gathered steam, Thorne decided to put a few rules in place to ensure variety and to add an additional challenge to the players involved.
“The idea was to randomly pair people, so no bands working together as that’s been done,” he said. “We literally pulled names out of a hat to team people together, make new friends and connections and make the community stronger. Once I put the groups together it was up to them to figure out what song they wanted to do. It was 13 groups in all and me and Jeremy O’Neill oversaw each group to help with anything they needed to move ahead. I also, in the background, found one male and one female musician to take any song off any album and make it their own. That led to the covers of Swallow My Pride and I Just Want to Have Something to.
At Home with the Ramones features 18 songs by 28 musicians including members of The Peter Parkers, The Phone Jerks, The Divorcees, Which Witch is Witch, The Follow Ups, DogsNotGods, Slashdance, Ghosttown Belle, Make Believe Friends, Slow Fight, Small Package, Sonic Hz, Chiller, Moose Boys, The Nuclear and others.
“There was a plan to put it all together for a live show as well, but COVID stuck around a bit longer than we all thought,” said Thorne. “There is also a plan to do a round two of this and open it open to musicians from across Atlantic Canada.”
At Home with the Ramones is available through Spotify and Apple Music and as a pay-what-you-wish download via Bandcamp.