Before anyone had seen a punk in their life, a 17-year-old boy with a rhombus painted in his eye burst onto the national lot. The grandson of a miner from Rio Tinto who cut off his finger with a drill, scandalized a still very prudish Spain. The documentary ‘A life on the edge’, which is broadcast by Amazon Prime Video, tells of his adventures.
-Is it more difficult to scandalize today than when you started?
– Right now for a 20-year-old boy it would be impossible to go on television and sing something like ‘Velvet Marica’. Today there is no way that certain things are spread, which is a way to shut our mouths and break opinions. Musical taste has been kidnapped in Spain for a long time. Radio formulas only put what she likes, suits them and seems good to them. Successes are bought.
– Is it true that it came to have the highest cache of rock?
– One of the highest contributions charged in Spain was that of Lorenzo Santamaría, 170,000 pesetas. Rocío Jurado was over 200,000; and I told Pepe Cervera that he was going to be my representative and now he is for the Dynamic Duo: I want between 210,000 and 225,000. In that summer no one played more than me and no one charged more than me. Then, in the 80s, I had a higher price because it was the one that sold the most tickets.
“And isn’t that very depressing now?”
-Not for me. I have sold all possible and available tickets for a long time and now I know how things are. I have no interest in participating in festivals. I sell my tickets and I am very happy singing in front of five or a thousand people.
–In the documentary he tells that a guy from the music industry insisted that you should give him a motorcycle.
Yes, it was a gulf, a full-fledged gulf in the broadest sense of the word. Unfortunately for him and his family he is already dead. He said: “Enlist and give me a motorcycle.” The music industry, which is totally disoriented, is not a headless monster, it all depends on who you bump into. But in the end what they seem to want is for the kids to record songs at home and broadcast them on streaming.
– He threatened a manager of a record company who refused to give him the freedom letter by brandishing a can of gasoline. When he gets mad, is it better for people to get out of the way?
–I have that character, I can’t help it. I am educated, but if you think to screw my life you are going to have to face me. That guy tried to stop the album ‘Barriobajeros’ from coming out, and if it was published, not to promote it. All because I wanted to rewrite the lyrics. I introduced myself to where he worked and said, “I’m setting this on fire with you inside.” You will see”. It was very wild, but, my friend, my children’s food defends itself however it is.
–How did you dazzle Camilo José Cela into demanding that either Ramoncín go to the television set or he didn’t show up?
-Camilo was very fond of me. “If Ramón goes, I’ll go,” he said. He really liked my dictionary ‘El billet cheli’. We met on a couple of occasions at a stretcher table set up by Jesús Hermida, who did some wonderful evening programs in which Paco Umbral, Adolfo Marsillach, Juan Barranco and Eduardo Haro Tecglen participated.
– Were you scared in your fight against piracy?
– Today it practically does not exist, but we have to continue fighting to prevent the big streaming platforms from giving us 10 cents for our songs. What makes me angry about all this is that we do not have a solidarity group, willing to fight as I did. After sending the leaders of the SGAE to the Audiencia Nacional, the only thing that has been achieved is that while a Spanish author gets one euro for copyright, in France he receives 140. The mainstream media took an unusual position on the side of pirates and digital thieves.
–In the Viña Rock Festival, he was able to launch CDs sharp as arrows. Was it spontaneous?
– That was done to the shout of ‘SGAE whore!’. It could have had very harsh consequences if one of those CDs, cut out like ninja stars, had been stuck in the face, the head or the eye of one of us. Someone today would be paying in jail for the attempted murder.
“What makes me mad about all this music is that we don’t have a solidarity group, willing to fight like I did”
“He grew up with his uncles and grandparents, but talks very little about his mother.” Who was?
–My mother had me single very young and in those years to endure the pressure of the neighborhood and of the house was unbearable. And that led her to make the biggest mistake of her life, which was to leave me with my grandparents and leave. He did me a favor, because I stayed with my uncles and my grandmother, in the best neighborhood, Delicias in Madrid, and with the best family. My aunt was my real mother.
-In the feature film there is Felipe González, a very representative character of the ‘establishment’. Do you argue with him a lot?
We haven’t talked in a while, but I’ve always argued with him. On the entry of Spain into NATO, the suppression of the military, once by Nicaragua … He seems to me the last great politician of this country. However, we will always meet. For example, I prefer the republic and he seems like the monarchy, even though he is a republican. When I talk to socialist leaders, even those of today, I get a little worried. I see them so reluctant to proclaim the Republic that I say to them: “Do you know something that the rest of us do not?” The moral compass of royalty we do not know where it points. It may be a bit naïve but I think it will be the King himself, perhaps driven by the Queen, who decides to call a referendum and say: “Let’s see if people love me.”
– The eighties were devastating due to the spread of heroin. Wasn’t the horse ever tempted?
No, I was not tempted by the horse or the chemistry. We were hippies. We were lucky to have books and we were able to read Kerouac, Gingsberg, William Burroughs … We had everything there is to read about that world and we never got hooked. It was much worse for the generation after ours, that of the kids four or five years younger. Besides, I, from a very young age, practiced boxing with another boy who is now 71 years old. I liked to look at myself in the mirror with my bathing suit on and say “Damn, I’m fine.”