In July of 1976, the Ramones set off on a trip to England play two gigs in London. These concerts would serve as the international punk rock summit where future leaders of some of the most popular UK punk bands (The Clash and Sex Pistols included) would pick the Ramones brains over what they had perceived as genius. America, on the other hand, wasn’t buying it.
The Ramones’ gig right before their historic trip to England was in Youngstown on June 20, 1976 at the Tomorrow Club. It was the band’s first gig outside of the New York City metro area and was a box office failure. Anywhere from 10 people to a few dozen showed up depending on what sources you consult. The Ramones, who were paid $750 for the show, would meet future Dead Boys Stiv Bators and Cheetah Chrome at the show. Bators, a Youngstown native, and Chrome drove down from Cleveland to see the show and were not disappointed.
Just as the Ramones would do a few weeks later in England (on a much larger scale), they sowed the seeds of punk rock’s future by inspiring Bators, Chrome and the rest of the fledgling band called Frankenstein to get out of Ohio and head to New York City. It took about a month before the band morphed into the Dead Boys. Thanks to Bators’ persistence, Joey Ramone helped secure a July 25, 1976 gig for the Dead Boys at CBGB’s in New York City. The Dead Boys were regulars at the club for the next three years.
The Ramones’ first Youngstown gig might have not ended up as important as it turned out to be if a scheduled gig in Cleveland the day before had not been rained out. While in Cleveland on the night of June 19, 1976, the band went to a movie theater and watched the 1932 film Freaks. They wrote the song “Pinhead” based on that experience.
WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: Here’s a clip of the July 4, 1976 show at the Roundhouse in London, England.