(From what Dan has to say about this read, it seems Marky Ramone has a better perspective about the ‘weirdness’ than most. Still waiting for the copy to make it to my bedside table, I can only go on the small inserts Dan has managed to get my way, but from what I’ve seen so far, that band must have been both a blast and a battle to be in. – FATS)
Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As A Ramone
By Marky Ramone
At this point just about every member of the band has had their side of the story told in the ever-growing genre of “Ramones Memoirs and Biographies”. And while drummer Marky Ramone may have never been the most-talked about member of the band (competing against Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee, he never stood a chance), his autobiography is by far one of the best to take a measured, honest look at one of the most influential American rock bands.
Brought into the group in 1978, handpicked by Tommy, whose drum stool he was taking over, Marky (actually Marc Bell) had already prepped for the life as a touring musician as a member of Dust, Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys and Richard Hell & the Voidoids. The transition, to hear him describe it, was pretty easy, he just had to be patient with Joey’s growing OCD tendencies that help up everything from shows to flights; Jonny’s rightwing rants and baseball diatribes and Dee Dee’s blossoming drug addiction. Conveniently Marky was working on his own addiction to alcohol – one he discusses in frank detail – that would eventually get him booted out of the band.
Most of the Ramones lore is covered here, from Phil Spector allegedly pulling a gun on the band while they were recording (didn’t happened said Marky, a longtime friend of the since jailed producer) to Jonny stealing away Joey’s longtime girlfriend (most definitely happened, but was not the source of the song “KKK Took My Baby Away”).
Marky is honest and open throughout the book, including owning up to many of his own faults, but also treats the other members and the band’s legacy with surprisingly genuine tenderness. Despite all of the faults, and these guys had many, there is a real love for each other that is expressed throughout this memoir. Probably one of the best books yet about a punk band that managed to influence so many outside of the world of punk.