Mickey Leigh and Joey Ramone - On the Beach - Sibling Rivalry

By: Sarah L. Myers

Brothers Mickey Leigh and Joey Ramone teamed up to record one album as Sibling Rivalry which featured the classic punk rock surf song “On the Beach” - a tale of radioactive monsters, beach parties, and lost love.

"I loved the early 1960's science fiction movies like Dr. Strangelove, and grew up watching movies that combined science fiction with teenagers on beaches and, of course, rock & roll; so to write a song combining all those elements came easily - it was a natural," Leigh said.

Leigh first wrote “On the Beach” in 1979, performing it with his band, The Rattlers. Inspired by the 1960's B-movie “Horror at Party Beach” and the PUNK Magazine spread “Mutant Monster Beach Party”, “On the Beach” combines Coney Island, CBGB, and Three Mile Island.

"Also, there was a very serious 1960's movie that really affected me called "On The Beach" which was about the world as we know it coming to an end as the result of a nuclear war," Leigh said. "Soldiers who knew there was no chance of saving civilization decided to bolt their posts to be with their girlfriends or wives and children. That movie really stuck in my mind and inspired the chorus line, 'I dont care about saving the world, I just gotta find that one little girl.' The point being that nuclear disasters are not all fun and games, so there is actually some message in the song. It's a science fiction/horror/armageddon story... with a catchy chorus and great backbeat!"

It wasn’t until 1994 that “On the Beach” was released as a duet with brother Joey Ramone on the “In a Family Way” EP. Both had recorded and performed for more than 20 years, Ramone as lead singer with The Ramones, and Leigh with bands such as Stop, The Rattlers, and Birdland with Lester Bangs.

"This was the first song I wrote for The Rattlers, which was the first band (doing original music) that I sang lead for, so it holds special place in my heart," Leigh said. "I thought a summer song about a radioactive sea monster coming ashore and absconding someone's 'baby' off the beach would be a great way to heat things up this winter. That is, combined with the unnatural effect from global warming, of course."

Leigh is the co-author of “I Slept with Joey Ramone”, the biography of Joey Ramone which is due to be released in the spring of 2008. Film rights have already been secured by Emmy-winning producer Rory Rosegarten (“Everybody Loves Raymond”). Leigh has also hosted the annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash since May 2001. Ramone passed away in April 2001 from lymphoma. Proceeds from the birthday bashes go directly to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research.

"On the Beach" - it's fresh, it’s fun, it’s bubblegum, it’s punk. It’s simply the best punk rock surf song ever.





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