Movies, Music

Four Interesting Facts About The Ramones’ ‘Pet Sematary’ from TIDAL’s Oral History of the Song

The Ramones Pet Sematary

2019 is a big year for Pet Sematary. The remake of the film hits theaters on April 5 and next month also marks the 30th anniversary of the original film and the Ramones song of the same name that accompanied it. To celebrate, TIDAL’s Brenna Ehrlich sat down with as many people as she could who were associated with the Ramones track, including Pet Sematary Director Mary Lambert to share a deeper history of the song. Here are four interest facts about the song from Ehrlich’s piece.

1. The Ramones Got Involved With the Film Because of Lambert’s Friendship with Dee Dee Ramone

According to Lambert The Ramones got involved with the project thanks to her relationship with Dee Dee Ramone. “Dee Dee Ramone was a dear, dear, dear friend of mine,” shared Lambert in the interview. “Stephen King loved the Ramones also; I think he still does. It was something we bonded over when we met for the first time.

So I said, ‘Look, I bet you anything that Dee Dee will write a song for us. I can’t imagine that he won’t write a song [for the movie].’ So I called him up the next day and he said, ‘Yeah!’”

2. The Song Was Written In Just a Couple of Days

According to Ramones Producer, Daniel Rey “Pet Sematary” was written in just a couple of days, with Dee Dee Ramone completing the song’s lyrics in just a matter of hours.

“Dee Dee called me and was like, ‘I’m going to go buy the book.’ He got the book and about five hours later he called me,” explained Rey in the interview. “He left the lyrics on my phone machine. He was already done. I don’t know if he speed-read the book or skimmed it. I don’t know what he did, but somehow he got the story down and he got really good imagery from the whole vibe.”

Rey transcribed the lyrics, and wrote the song’s music and chorus that night and put Dee Dee’s words to the melody the next day. The song was quickly made into a demo and the rest is history.

3. “Pet Sematary” Was the Most Commercially Successful Song The Ramones Ever Released

“Pet Sematary” was a rare top 10 hit for The Ramones and charted at #4 on the Modern Rock charts. But despite its commercial success, it was still nominated for a Razzie Award in 1990.

4. The Song’s Music Video Almost Killed The Band

According to Bill Fishman, the Director of the “Pet Sematary” music video, the grave The Ramones slowly descend into during the music video could have easily collapsed and buried the band and the crew.

“We had to build an actual platform that could be lowered with a manlift that could support the band. And, therefore, the grave had to be super deep because those manlifts are at least five or six feet high. So the grave had to be another six to eight feet deep. That was quite an engineering feat,” explains Fishman in his interview.

“One of the things that was actually scary was that there was no way to get a remote to operate the lift from outside the grave, so my friend actually had to be inside the grave and operate it at the same time. Once we had the band and all the equipment on the manlift, it could have collapsed on him in the grave and actually really buried our crew. It almost fell over, so we almost lost the band and the crew on that video.”

Be sure to check out “The Ramones’ ‘Pet Sematary’: An Oral History” with the complete interviews with everyone associated with the song over on TIDAL.

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