In 1991, Night Flight featured clips from George Seminara’s “Lifestyles of the Ramones” (1990)

By on June 12, 2019

In 1991, audiences watching this syndicated episode of “Night Flight” — now streaming on Night Flight Plus — were treated to a Ramones Video Profile culled from footage featured in the 1990 documentary, Lifestyles of the Ramones.

Lifestyles of the Ramones — an assemblage of concert footage, TV & film clips and interviews, along with several of their videos — was co-produced & directed by award-winning filmmaker and photographer George Seminara.


The documentary remained fairly uneasy to buy (pre-eBay and Amazon Marketplace) until it was reissued as a bonus DVD included in Rhino’s Weird Tales of The Ramones slipcase box set.

In our video profile, we included excerpts from the Ramones’ cover of the Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today” (1983, directed by Schiro/Demyan), “Psycho Therapy” (1983, directed by Francis Delia), “Something To Believe In” (1987, directed by Fischer & Preachman), and “I Wanna Be Sedated” (1988, directed by Bill Fishman).


There are also two video excerpts here — “Merry Christmas” (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” (1989) and “I Believe in Miracles” (1990) — which were directed by Seminara himself.

Our profile also features excerpts of interviews with Joey and Johnny — who talk about the Ramones’s humble beginnings — as well as brief excerpts from interviews with Joey’s mom, Debbie Harry, members of Anthrax, and more.


“All my life growing up as a kid,” Johnny Ramone tells us from the home team dugout at Yankee Stadium, “… I either wanted to be in a rock band or a baseball player.”

Luckily for us, he became our hero anyway, and he didn’t have to get his sneakers too dirty to do it.


Track down a copy of the vintage VHS, or the Rhino bonus DVD, and you’ll also be able to see all of the interviews Seminara did with other fans and friends including (in no particular order): Living Colour’s Vernon Reid; E Street guitarist and producer Little Steven; all of the Talking Heads (Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison) except David Byrne; celebrated KROQ deejay Rodney Bingenheimer: NY disc jockey Vin Scelsa; WDRE program director Dennis McNamara; Sire Records’ execs Howie Klein and Seymour Stein, Billboard/SPIN freelance rock journalist Jim Bessman (author of Ramones: An American Band); RAMONES AID spokesman Ken Senomar; New York Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti; recording artists Jean Beauvoir and Chris Isaak; and, last but not least, record producer Ed Stasium.


Seminara also did interviews with the Ramones circa 1990, including CJ, who was a fan of the band who got to sing tracks on the final three Ramones albums (he even substituted for Joey on the Ramones’ last appearance on the UK’s “Top of the Pops” in 1996).

The film also features an appearance by ex-drummer Tommy Erdelyi, who was replaced on drums in 1978, and we’ve probably missed a few others as well.


Read more below about producer/director George Seminara below.


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George Seminara (photo by the great Bob Gruen)

In Everett True’s Hey Ho Let’s Go: The Story of the Ramones (2005), George Seminara says he’d known Joey Ramone (b. Jeffrey Ross Hyman) since 1972, when he was twelve and Joey was twenty-two:

“My parents used to hang out at Max’s Kansas City where they had a happy hour, two drinks for the price of one, with free chili and rice. I still have fond memories of those chickpeas… One day Joey Ramone walked in. I’d never seen a guy who looked like that, all glammed up like David Bowie in a funhouse mirror. So I went to get a better look. He noticed me and invited me to sit next to him at the bar. We talked about music, cool bands and great records. He left a big impression on me.”


Joey Ramone (photo by George Seminara)

Seminara remained lifelong friends with Joey Ramone until Joey’s death in 2001 of lymphatic cancer.

He also eventually became interested in all things having to do with cinematography and photography. According to his LinkedIn résumé, he spent part of the 1980s busy as a production manager/storyboard artist/set & costume designer for Rick Rubin’s Def Pictures, and also worked as a cameraman on NBC’s “Wall Street Journal Report.”


Seminara also worked on a wide array of projects produced and purchased by Troma Entertainment.

He’s credited as a writer — but sometimes not — for his work on Splatter University, Class Of Nuke’m High, I Was a Teenage Zombie, and The Toxic Avenger.

Seminara also re-wrote the opening sequence of that last title, and also worked as a part-time editor on all of these films too.


Seminara’s video directing jobs include videos & short films by Darlene Love (“All Alone on Christmas,” 1992), Snow (“Informer,” 1993), Inner Circle (“Bad Boys,” 1993), King Missile (“Martin Scorsese,” 1993), and Live ( “Pain Lies on the Riverside,” from Operation Spirit, 1991), among others.

He’s also directed and/or produced feature-length projects like Just Say Yes and Just Say Yes: The Video, Vol. 2 (1991), Live in New York: Agnostic Front, Sick of It All, Gorilla Biscuits (1992), and The Ramones: It’s Alive 1974-1996 (2007).


We also found out Seminara was the co-owner of Village Comics in Greenwich Village, NYC (1985-2009).

In 2007, he co-produced Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life, which was broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens.” To date, it is the only broadcast film in history to win the Best Documentary Emmy, the Writers Guild of America Best Documentary Screenplay, and a George Foster Peabody Award.

You can find out a lot more about Seminara at his website, where he’s got a pretty interesting blog.


Watch the Ramones Video Profile — and other video profiles here & here — on Night Flight Plus.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.