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  News arrow Members arrow Marky Ramone arrow 1997.08 — Interview with Marky Ramone (Cosmik Debris #27)
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Charlotte Lesher & Joey Ramone

— “Telephone Love” is kinda apropos for this situation doncha think Marky?
— What, between me and you?

— Yeah.
— I don’t think so.

— You don’t swing that way?

— Naw.

— Gee, don’t tell me the tabloids are lying?

(laughing)

— What is the official status of the “Ramones”? Is the band kaput?

— After “Lollapalooza” last year, we decided to call it quits. That’s why I formed my own band, wrote and produced my own album, cuz I’m younger than them. I still have the energy to do it, and I love doing it, and the kids like it. The kids are the ones that matter. I’ll continue as long as they come to the shows.

— What are the others doing?
Johnny’s retired. Joey might do the Tiny Tim story, as an actor. Tiny Tim did “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”. I have no idea what C.J’s doing. I just did an album with Dee Dee called “The Remains”.

— Does Johnny have seasons tickets to the “New York Mets”?

— Yeah probably. He loves sports, that’s his retirement hobby.

— Are you the youngest of the remaining “Ramones”?
— I was until C.J. joined.

— Exactly when did you join the band?

— In early ’78, right after playing with “Richard Hell and The Voidoids”.
   
— It’s an amazing coincidence: to find players with the same last name. Exactly how does one become a Ramone?
— It’s like a gang, a unit. Once you join, you become a Ramone for life. There have been some honorary “Ramones” along the way: Homer Simpson, Stephen King...

— Wait a minute, Stephen King is an honorary Ramone?

— We did the song for “Pet Sematary”. He always writes about us in his books. He’s a big “Ramones” fan. So we made him an honorary member. He’s a cool guy.

— Are “The Intruders” your main project?
— Oh yeah. We’re gonna try and play 175 shows a year.

— Every other day.
— That’s correct.

— Where’d you dig up that singer: Skinny Bones?
— He wrote some stuff for the “Ramones” on the last two studio albums. He’s a friend who came to me through Johnny Thunders — uh, when he was alive. The other guys are from the New York area, from other bands, that I wanted.

— Who is Mark Neuman — he’s all over the record, but doesn’t appear to be an official “Intruder”?
— Mark Neuman was in “Sheer Terror”. He was gonna be in the band, but he got Carpal Tunnel on his hand. It’s a disease that stiffens your muscles.
   
— Will this New York punk style ever go out of fashion?

— Naw it won’t. New York: it’s the attitude, the craziness. It’s a non-stop city. Constant movement. You feel it in the air, so you write about it... the gangs, the violence.

— How do
“The Intruders” compare with the “Ramones” on stage?
— We zoom right through our songs, except now we have two guitar players. Everybody sings, and it’s a younger band.

— Do you stay behind the drum kit for the whole show?
— Oh yeah, I only sing one song on the album. I don’t think drummers should sing live — it doesn’t look good.

— “Anxiety” is a killer “Ramones”-like tune...
— Thank you. The “Ramones” wanted it for “Mondo Bizarro” and then I re-recorded it for this record. Skinny Bones’ voice is angrier and raspier than Joey’s. And I wanted that.

— Are there any new bands out there carrying on the “Ramones” legacy?

— There are a lot of bands imitating the “Ramones”, like “The Queers”. Any punk band you hear today has some “Ramones” or “Sex Pistols” in it.

Are you listening to the new stuff?
— I listen to everything. I think the best representation of what an original punk band of today, is “Rancid”. They’re good friends. We have a side project going — me, Tim and Lars — called “No Brain”.

— What was a typical day in the life of a Ramone?
— A lot of touring, in-store autographs, videos, soundchecks, hotels, flying, interviews — constantly.

— When you weren’t doing music, what were you doing?

— I was always making records, ever since I was 16 years old. When I was in high school I made my first album with a band called “Dust”.

— What’s your favourite poison?
— My favourite poison was 151 — Baccardi Rum. But I’m a good boy now. If I didn’t stop fooling around I wouldn’t be able to keep playing. That’s more important.

— Can you remember those times of excess?

— Yeah, I’m gonna write a book. I have 185 Hi-8 tapes I recorded on my camera going back to 1986. I’m gonna put out a cool video: backstage, fooling around — things that a lot of kids didn’t see.

— You must get a lot of requests for old “Ramones” material. How do you handle that?

— I really don’t get requests for the old stuff. The only things I do is the stuff I wrote, and I throw in a Dee Dee song called “Outsider”.

— You cover “The Kinks” on the new album. Why are you dipping back to that era?
— I wanted the album to end on a positive note.

— Let’s go way, way back. Was there a turning point in your life, when you realized rock ‘n’ roll was in your blood?


— Yeah, my mother bought me the first “Beatles” album when I was 6 or 7. I thought it was like “The Chipmunks”, and I loved “The Chipmunks”. Then I started to like “The Beatles”, and wanted to play the drums. I saved up my newspaper delivery money and got a Japanese drum kit. That’s how I learned.
   
— Has it been a dream come true?
— Pretty much, but I had to work hard. There’s so much competition.

— Where exactly are you from?
— I’m from Brooklyn, near Ocean Parkway, Ocean Avenue. I grew up there. Then I moved to New York for about 5 or 6 years, but I hadda move back cuz it was too crazy there: kids coming to my door wanting to party with me.

— I’ve always wondered about the long black mop top Ramone hair. Is that real?

— Not Joey’s... naw, I’m only kiddin’.

— I can’t imagine Joey without that hair.

— Me either (laughing).

...tape hiss

John Sekerka, www.cosmik.com

 
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