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  News arrow Members arrow Marky Ramone arrow 2001.11.05 — Interview with Marky Ramone (www.denverpost.com
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Copenhagen, Denmark, 12.05.77

— What’s up? How are you?
— I’m doing great. 

— Are these your business hours?
— Yeah, it’s only 5 o’clock here.

— Sorry for asking you to call back... I just did something for VH1 for my friend who died. He was a fireman at the World Trade Center. They wanted to interviews of musicians who knew... (sighs) So we’re finished. Now I can talk.
— My God, what a year you’ve had.

— Oh, forget it. My grandmother died. Joey died. One fireman and two cops. I had a friend of mine who worked at a record store in the World Trade Center. And that was it.
— My God.

— I saw the whole incident outside my window. I live three-quarters of a mile away in Brooklyn Heights. I have a view of the city. I saw the first building get hit, and then the second one, and then... they weren’t there anymore. I looked at it through my binoculars. And I might be wrong, but I saw people flying out, desks, paper, glass, metal. You know what I mean?
— Yeah, but... no. It’s unreal to me. I used to live about three miles from there and I can’t even picture it in my head as the same place I lived.

— Oh, forget it. And then the second explosion was like an earthquake. And I felt it. I mean, I felt it from the other side over here.
— In Brooklyn you felt it?
— Yep.

— Holy smoke.
— And I live on the 16th floor of a high-rise.

— Well have you even attempted to reconcile in your mind what kind of a year it’s been for you?
— Oh, forget it. It’s been a year of death. I mean, first my grandmother who I was very close to, died. Then Joey. I mean, eventually we made up a year and a half before he passed away. We did his solo album together. And I was the only Ramone to visit him at the hospital. The last time I saw him was when a nurse picked him up, put him in a wheelchair and rolled him away and we waved goodbye to each other, and that was it.

— Did you get a chance to find out what it meant to him to reconcile?
— Oh yeah. A lot of things you look back at were funny. So we kind of laughed at it, you know? But we were brothers. Me and Johnny and Dee Dee were brothers. We fought for years. You know, the “Ramones” fought, we made up, we fought, we made up, but I’m basically the only Ramone who made up with him, because him and Johnny didn’t talk for 18 years, and neither did he and Dee Dee (at the end).

— But at the funeral though, didn’t pretty much everybody but Johnny...
— I wasn’t there. Dee Dee wasn’t there. And I don’t know until this day why, but John and Dee Dee didn’t want to go. And I, being closest to Joey, wasn’t invited. But you know, it was the family’s decision, and maybe they really wanted to keep it a family thing, you know what I mean?

— For the fans of yours who weren’t there 20 years ago...
— Right, we have fans 14, 15, 16 years old.

— How do you explain to them what the whole rift was about?
— I don’t get that much of that but when I do, I just say, look, we were a family. Families fight. In any business, people argue. Sometimes they hold onto petty things. Sometimes they lie about each other. Sometimes they side with each other. But in the end, we left a legacy and we made great music and maybe that had a lot to do with it, you know?

— We recently did a story for when X came into town; we put a panel together and came up with a list of the 10 best American punk bands and, of course, the “Ramones” came in first.
— Right.

— What’s that like, knowing you guys are somewhere on every list that’s ever been made about important American music over the past 25 years?

— Well, how does it feel? Flattering. Wonderful. We worked very hard. We were real. I mean, it humbles you. It makes you feel really good... It was hard work, and of course, originality. And relying on what you do, and not props and bullshit and whatever, and you give the people what they want, and then you’ve got to go up there and literally kill yourself to give a great show. Then you know that you did all you could to achieve that, you know what I mean?

— Yep.
— It was a long run. It was 22 years.

— When I talked to Jerry Only this morning, he said if Joey hadn’t have gotten sick, he was going to be a part of this “Misfits” 25th anniversary of punk show.

— He was going to sing a lead with me and Jerry and Dez, and the “Ramones” segment that we do play, he was going to sing it. And me and him were going to walk out together and do it. So he told me in the hospital, “Mark, I can’t wait to play”. And you know... to be honest with you, I knew that he wasn’t strong enough to do anything. So I said, “Yeah, we will”, and like, that was the last time I saw him. And you know, I brought him CD’s and homemade things and we were talking about stuff and you know, Howard Stern, and how funny the bickering was and how stupid it was, which eventually made me so happy to realize that he asked me to do his solo record. That shows the friendship, you know what I mean? Because if you don’t like somebody, you’re not gonna want them on your solo album. And, you know, that was it.

— Yeah.
— I mean, how can you compare the “Ramones” to anything? Who would you compare the “Ramones” to?

— You don’t.
— I mean, who was there, who is there, of what notoriety and what popularity and what people say about them to any other bands?

— So how did you hook up with Jerry as far as this 25th Anniversary party?

— Jerry asked me to play with them on this thing, and I was doing these spoken word shows at colleges and clubs, and I was going to do something with Dee Dee as “The Remains”. So I figured, let me play for a while. And I always liked Jerry’s stuff. I always liked the fact that it was fast. It’s kind of like “Ramones”-ish. And I always liked his attitude, and I like people who have their shit together. I knew it wasn’t going to be some rinky-dink thing. We rehearsed, and it started working out, and here we are doing 48 songs a show. And out of the “Ramones” repertoire and the “Misfits” repertoire, you got like close to 400 songs. So we got the best of two worlds. You got one of the “Misfits”, the “Ramones”, “Black Flag”, so your hardcore fans will like “Black Flag”, your punk fans will like the “Ramones” and the horror-punk stuff that the “Misfits” are known for. So it’s a lot of fun.

— Who sings the “Ramones” songs?
— Jerry. Very passionate.

— Any great anecdotes from your stops so far?
— Yeah. I took off my “Ramones” pants the other night and threw them out to the audience. My LAST pair of my “Ramones” blue jeans. But I signed them and I threw them out there. I took my sneakers off, pulled my pants down and threw them out. And the week before that I threw out my last pair of “Ramones” sunglasses that were prescription out to the audience.

— Wow. What cities were you in?

— Cleveland was the night I threw out my pants, and the night before that was Pittsburgh. That’s where I threw out my glasses.

— I just love that you can have a story that goes, “Cleveland was the city where I pulled off my pants”.

— Yeah, and that was it. It was either give it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or to a friend, or to a fan, and to a fan it’s more important.

— Can you tell me real quick what the other “Ramones” are up to?

— Well, Johnny’s retired in Sherman Oaks (California). He sits by the pool even though he can’t swim. He doesn’t have a guitar in his house. He’s doing what he’s doing there. I wish him luck. I speak to him occasionally. And Dee Dee is working on books and things like that. He wrote a book about being in the “Ramones”. And C.J. I think is starting another band. Tommy Ramone is a hermit. He’s a recluse. And who else is there? No one.

— Now that you’re doing this thing with the “Misfits”, do you feel your age at the end of those 48 songs, or do you feel like a kid again?
— It doesn’t affect me. After playing with the “Ramones” for that many years, an hour and 15 minutes on stage at that speed... it’s easy. You build up to it. It’s like a guy who exercises for 22 years. It doesn’t go away. If you stop for three or four years it will, but I haven’t stopped. After the “Ramones” broke up I put out two solo albums of my own, I toured the world with them, and then I started doing this spoken word show and I have 200 hours tapes of the “Ramones” around the world. And I have videos. While I’m talking about it, I have slides in the background. And before I go on I have 15-minute introductions with the videos. Then Jerry called me, and we got this together. We rehearsed. Made sure it was tight, and then we went on the road. This is where we are now, playing all the United States and Japan.

— What’s it like to look out and see all these 16-year old kids?

— Wonderful. It’s good to see that a lot of these kids know what the good stuff is.

— Bizarre question, and I’ll let you go...

— Yeah.

— I went to who I consider to be the biggest “Ramones” fan I know and I said, “Hey, I’m talking to Marky tomorrow. What do you want to know?” And he thought about it and he sort of rubbed his chin and said, “You know what I want to know? This guy’s a living legend. I want to know what Tuesday night is like for a living legend”.
— You gonna print this?

— Yeah.
— You got to print it.

— OK.
— All right. What’s Tuesday night like? Watching videos and eating “Ben and Jerry’s”. And you know what? I actually cut myself and blood ran out.

— You bleed?
— Yes.

— Some people are going to be very surprised.
— So you got to say that... When is this going to run?

— Let’s see, well, you have four shows in Colorado.

— You got to print all that. I got to get a copy. Are you going to come to the show?

— I’m going to the one in Denver.

— All right, and you’ll have a copy of that?

— Yeah.
— Great.

— What are your Tuesday-night videos, though?

— Oh you know, horror, sci-fi movies, 50’s stuff that’s really funny. Like “The Creature From the Black Lagoon”, “Monster of Piedras Blancus”, “It: The Terror From Beyond Space”, “The Giant Behemoth”, “Gorgo”, “Godzilla”, “King Kong”. All the good stuff, you know? “Rodan”, or “The Mysterians”.

— I asked Jerry what’s the greatest horror film of all-time...

— Oh yeah? What did he say?

— Well, I have to ask you first.

— All right. “The Exorcist”. Did you see it with the new footage?

— Yes, I did.
— Didn’t that flip you out?

— It was very...

— When she came down the stairs? That one? That part?

— Yeah, why didn’t they use that to begin with?
— Because it was TOO off the wall.

— That makes it all the better.
— That flipped me out. I’m sitting there watching it in the tour bus, and I said, “Holy shit! I wonder why they left that out?” Because it was TOO... too much. Enough’s enough, which that movie was. But that was... I mean... God... Oh man, was that sweet. The best sci-fi movie, modern sci-fi, that hasn’t been topped yet? “Alien I”.

— I agree.

— “Aliens II” was like, you know, you’ve seen it. There was a lot of them. They jumped out of the woodwork, and it as funny. But the first one was the scariest because it built. In instilled the fear. You didn’t see it that often but when you did, you flipped out... And the acting was much better.

— Well, Jerry’s pick was “Night of the Living Dead”.
— Well, that’s horror.

— I didn’t ask him to distinguish from sci-fi.
— Yeah, yeah, well mine was “Alien I”.

— Well, listen, I’m glad we finally worked this out. I know it’s been a crazy day for you.

— No problem. Any time, man.

— As my friend says, it doesn’t suck to talk to a living legend... on Tuesday night, no less.
— Oh, thanks a lot.

— And you won’t argue with that designation, right?

— Well, I guess, that’s what I’m told, so we’ll have to live with it (laughs).

— Right on. Well, have a great tour and we’ll see you in Denver.
— Thank you.

John Moore, Denver Post 

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