It’s not so much lurking in the 3 minute bluster of their debut single “How Long”, but a part of its DNA, where you quickly catch onto Ramona’s game. In the first 10 seconds alone they manage to answer the eternal question of “What if Debbie Harry joined The Ramones?”. You see it in singer Karen Anne’s bleached blonde locks and her breathy purr, and you hear it all over “How Long”, the harmonies n’ hooks, and the buzzsaw guitars that graduate with honours from The Ramones “Rock n’ Roll High School”.
It’s just one song/one question answered, and without wanting to pigeon-hole this Brighton-based 4-piece on the strength of one song alone (or making incorrect presumptions about the origin of the band name!) we thought best to rattle off 15 more and drop Ramona a line. Thus becoming the first in our “Who The Hell Are…?” Q&A’s where we send out, Smash Hits-style, a random bunch of questions to a new act that has caught our eyes and ears, and then let them answer in their own words.
With “How Long” due for imminent release and a UK tour that starts on September 1 at the Flower Pot in Kentish Town, London, the band have also managed to find time to accept an invitation to play the opening of the Burberry store in New York. It’s beginning to seem like Ramona didn’t have to wait that long at all.
01. Who are you?
We are Ramona, a 4 piece band from Brighton. Karen Anne (vocals, guitar), Charlie Snelling (guitar), James Watts (bass) and Fred West (drums). Our name is inspired by the Bob Dylan song “To Ramona” and we have been playing and recording together since last October.
02. What do you sound like?
Our main inspirations are The Clash, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, Pulp, 3 minute pop songs with lots of hooks
03. What do friends say you sound like?
Like a punk band meeting a ’60s girl group in bar and a having a jam.
04. Full-time musicians or wage slaves?
Full time musicians but only recently after years of waitressing, coat hanging and soul selling
05. Current band highlight?
Playing T in The Park in Scotland this summer. The crowd were amazing
06. Favourite decade for music?
The 1970s from the Bowery in New York to the streets of London
07. Should music be free?
It should be value for money. Unfortunately to enable musicians to keep making great music there needs to money in the industry
08. Which 3 musicians would you invite round for dinner?
Patti Smith, Paul Simonon and David Bowie
09. Preferred tour reading?
Tank Girl, anything by Alan Moore and Please Kill me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
10. Best mood for songwriting?
When I’m in a bad mood about something, its always good therapy
11. Last record you bought?
Crazy for you by Best Coast
12. Five favourite albums?
Transformer – Lou Reed
A Different Class – Pulp
The Clash – The Clash
Horses – Patti Smith
The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico
13. Your biggest rock and roll fantasy?
Playing at CBGB’s alongside Blondie, Talking Heads and Television
14. Goals for the next 12 months?
Play as many gigs as possible and get our first record ready for release next year
15. First time listeners, where should they start?
With our first Single “How Long” which is in September!
More Ramona on Webcuts: Live review and mini-interview April 2011.
Postscript: Despite what Karen Anne said to us above, Ramona never released that album and by 2013 had disbanded/morphed into Girl Called Johhny. That band released two singles (“Heaven Knows” [YouTube] and “Hey Jackie” [YouTube]”), but, again, not an album. Karen co-wrote five songs on Texas’ 2013 album The Conversation, one of which, “Detroit City,” was a rewrite of Ramona’s “New York City”. Karen co-wrote “Are You Ready” from the Texas album 25 and “Tell That Girl” found itself covered by Texas on Jump on Board. Girl Called Johnny also supported Texas on The Conversation tour. Karen Anne Overton was last seen as a celebrity journalist writing for Square Mile, Readers Digest among other publications.