Tribute bands often get a bad rap but the Ramonas buck the trend and have been getting great reviews from all and sundry. We caught up with the all girl Ramones tribute band ahead of their performance at Guilfest.

R13:It may well be obvious but for the ten people in the world who don't know who The Ramones are, tell us who The Ramonas are and what you do!
C: Well, we are an all female Ramones tribute band.
P: Like the Ramones we are all a 'Ramona' name.
Cloey Ramona - vocals, Rhonny Ramona - guitar, Pee Pee -Ramona bass and Margy Ramona -drums.

R13:So who's idea was it to put this band together? (I had no idea Clare Product was involved!)
C:C: Yes, Clare set up the band many years ago and it has had various members over the years. When she moved to America she left the band our in hands and, in the last 3 years we have stayed uniformed as the 4 of us. Although we do have a 5th Ramona should one of us not be able to do a gig . She is great and can step in on drums, bass or even guitar!!

R13:Why The Ramones?
C: They were one of the most influential punk bands in history and because it's not possible to see the line up anymore we like to keep the music alive and bring it to the younger generations as well.
P: We all really love the music and getting to jump around on stage is always fun.

R13:Although formed in 2004 it's only the last couple of years that have seen the band come to the fore so what kind of reaction did you expect to get ...and what kind of reaction have you been getting from crowds?
C: In the last 3 years we have really paid our dues in respect to hitting any venue anywhere and playing for next to nothing to start with. I am not really sure what the turning point was for us, but all of a sudden we have thousands and thousands of youtube views, an every growing fan base and gig offers coming to us, rather than us seeking them.
I think we are always constantly surprised at the reactions we get from people. We do it because we love it and are really humbled by peoples enthusiasm about us and we are glad that we can do the Ramones music justice. We have built up a really great and loyal fan base and is always fantastic to see the same faces that come to see us, no matter where we are playing!
P: it's really nice when people who have seen the original Ramones line up come up to us and say how we do it all justice with a whole load of attitude and energy, that really means a lot.

R13:You're playing the Vive Le Rock stage at Guilfest this year alongside some well established bands, looking forward to it?
C: Very much so, we cant wait!
P: We're really excited to have been added to the bill alongside some legendary bands. It's also a fairly local festival for us which is nice. Plus we love playing festivals!

R13:Why should people forsake the likes of Olly Murs to come and watch you instead?
C: Well, it really depends on people musical taste I guess. All we can say is that we will give a very energetic, exiting show and will mange to pack about 30 songs into one hour and high speed. It's gonna be great!!

R13:You did a gig with Richie Ramone recently, how was that and how did it come about?
C: It was probably the best thing we have done to date! He was coming over to the UK to do some recording and got in contact with us. We thought it was a hoax at first! He was so lovely and down to earth and we had a great gig! Richie sang and played drums on the gig. Something we will definitely not forget!
P: An amazing night for us all and it totally came out of the blue. I think it's every tribute bands dream to share the stage or even be acknowledged by the artist themselves.

R13:Alot of people I know in bands have a real disdain for tribute bands, arguing that they make it harder for original bands to get gigs etc. So as an accomplished musician that has played in many original bands what's your take on that?
C:Honestly, I can't say I am a massive fan of tribute bands myself, but because it's not possible to see the Ramones anymore I feel we give people the opportunity to hear the Ramones music live again, and us being all female mean that we don't get compared in the same way that a male Ramones tribute band would.
Most of us are involved in our own original bands and projects as well so we can see it from both sides. I certainly don't think that the tribute band market interferes with the originals market. Not in my experience anyway, the venues i would chose to play my originals at would not be the same as the venues i would chose for the ramonas. But i guess it depends where you live etc...
P: I think it's been a surprise to us all how popular the Ramonas has become. I've really noticed a lot of venues putting on tribute bands but there are also a lot of venues that don't.

R13:We're hoping that your fates don't mirror that of the Ramones themselves; what measures do you have in place to combat this or do you accept that some members may have to die occasionally?
C: Ha ha, well none of us are addicted to drugs or alcohol which is a good start. None of us even smoke!! We do enjoy the odd drink though and have had some great nights out together! Hopefully none of us will have to deal with cancer, as you know it sadly it took Joey and Johnny. But that you cant predict. (wow things seem very morbid now)
P: haha we'll see if it's only the drummer that survives!

R13:Do you stick to the crowd favourites in the set or do you like to pluck some more obscure songs out of the back catalogue?
C: We tend to stick to classics but we do through in the odd tune like warthog, tomorrow she goes away, happy family.
P: people often request some of the lesser well known tunes so we sometimes mix it up but the classics are always in there. Our next demo may contain a few less obvious choices.

R13:Were the Ramones a big musical influence for you growing up or did you come to them fairly late?
C:Not for me, it was only in my adolescent years that i discovered them as i was too young to know them first hand.
P: Same really, only when I started looking into bands that influenced the bands that were around growing up did I really discover the Ramones properly. Gutted that I'll never have the chance to see them in action!

If you're heading down to Guilfest you can catch The Ramonas on the Vive Le Rock stage on Friday, where they'll be warming the crowd up for the likes of TV Smith and The Buzzcocks.