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Joe Sib Revisits San Jose Past

In Clubs, Music

Joe Sib became a household name in DIY punk rock after starting Sideonedummy Records in 1995 in Los Angeles, releasing albums by Flogging Molly, 7Seconds, MXPS, Gogol Bordello and many others. Sib has also gained recognition for his spoken word and comedy act, where he tells tales of punk rocking and skateboarding, most of which he did in San Jose, where he spent his formative years.

We asked Sib, how moved to Los Angeles in 1990,  to revisit some of his favorite memories and San Jose haunts. he knows, the one from the late 80s.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the border of Los Gatos and Campbell. This was in the 80s when I moved in with my dad. It seemed like everywhere there were condominiums with these names like Los Gatos Woods and there were a bunch of other people that were recently divorced and living solo and having their kids come stay with them on the weekends.

My dad moved into Los Gatos Estates. I lived there with him and I went to Westmont High School. I was a skateboarder. We were about two minutes away from Winchester Skate Park. That was the best thing. I was in skateboarding distance of anything I wanted to do. It was rural enough because you had orchards back then that you walked through, which isn’t the case anymore.

What was the best show you ever went to in San Jose?

The Ramones. It was 1989 July 4th, 5th and 6th at One Step Beyond. I went to the show on  the Fourth of July and totally get annihilated. If you’re a Ramones fan, you know they’re very American. To this day on Fourth of July at my house, we drink American beer and listen to American bands and blow shit up. My wife hates it, but I love it. It’s the way we roll.

So this particular Fourth of July, it’s 1989, The Ramones come through, I go to all three shows. The first night I got totally annihilated. The second night and the third night I wanted to be sober. The Ramones are in town, I really want to take it all in.

A buddy of mine, Corey O’Brien, who owns the Blank Club, we found out they were staying at the Holiday Inn and we were trying to go down there and find out where they were. Murphy’s Law was opening, from New York City. It was pretty amazing because Murphy’s Law is a legendary hardcore band. They almost blew the Ramones off the stage. All the sudden you had New York hitting San Jose.

The second night I watched the show, I actually climbed onto the lighting board and the sound board during the show and this guy reached over and grabbed my arms and was yelling at me while the Ramones were playing. But of course I couldn’t hear anything cause it’s the Ramones at full volume. He motions me to climb over the barrier. So now I’m in the lighting-sound booth and in-between one of their songs he’s like, in this crazy accent, “You can be up here, but you can’t get in my way.” It was half Spanish and half English. So now I got a full direct view of the Ramones and I’m just watching everyone lose their minds to the Ramones.

At one point the guy says to me, ‘”Hey, go get me a beer and I’ll let you watch the rest of the set up here.” I’m maybe 20 years old abd I run over and grab him a Heineken. I come back. I watch the rest of the set. At the end of the set he tells me he’s Arturo Vega—at that point I didn’t know who Arturo Vega was—but he seemed important.

He tells me, “hey would you like to meet the Ramones?” I’m like, “Nah, I don’t want to meet them cause if they’re dicks it’s going to bum me out.” I loved Ramones—everyone has their gateway band. He said to me, ‘The Ramones are not dicks.” That night he introduced me to Joey, Johnny, Richie and Dee Dee. It was like, there they are, right in front of me. It was insane. I got autographs and everything. Then they split.

I didn’t know it at the time that Dee Dee quit that night. That was the last show he ever did. Since then, I’ve become good friends with Johnny. I produced the 30 year anniversary concert of the Ramones here in LA. I became friendly with the Ramones when I was in Wax. We toured with the Ramones. I became really good friends with Joey when I was in 22 Jacks. 22 Jacks backed up Joey on his last trip to Los Angeles. He did a whole set of Ramones songs, which was pretty amazing. None of those experiences with the Ramones would have happened if it wasn’t there for that night in San Jose.

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