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Life club, New York, USA 15.12.99 (Ronnie Spector, Yoko Ayukawa, Joey Ramone)

2006-02-12 — Interview with Marky Ramone (www.wrecktheplace.

— You recently toured Europe with the great Russian punk band “Tarakany!”, performing as “Marky Ramone & The Pinhead Army”. How did you get together with Dima and the “Tarakany!” guys?
I went there with my band after the “Ramones” retired. The “Ramones” never wanted to go there, but I did; I felt, “What’s the big deal?” So, I went there on my own with my own group. They came to the shows, and then I went back and they asked me to do some touring with them, doing “Ramones” songs. They are big “Ramones” fans and there are a lot of “Ramones” fans in Russia. I said, alright, these are the songs I want to do. You can’t say no, because the kids want to hear it. I went out there again because I loved it the first time, and that’s where I met them. They are really cool guys.

— When was it that you went there for the first time?

I think it was 2000. I went back again in 2004 to do some touring with them. It went great: visiting a new country and playing with a Russian band. It’s the same thing all over the world. Kids just want to hear good songs and want to have fun. And they want to make sure you’re doing it right. These guys had a good attitude about everything.

— And you toured Western European countries with the “Tarakany!” guys, right?
About a year or a year and a half ago. We did shows, and they pulled it off. It was admirable. A lot of countries don’t like people from other countries coming in telling them what rock is all about. They pulled it off; they did the “Ramones” songs great. I would go to Russia again and play with them. I think it would be cool to do that again.

— So you play drums as usual on those shows, and Dima from “Tarakany!” sings?
Yeah, they would play with their drummer, and then I would come on as a guest and we’d do 15-20 “Ramones” songs. He did it great; he was so into it. I wish I could do something like that. I could never pull them off like that.

— Were there any issues getting into Russia? How did you find customs and things like that?
No problem. They were all nice. In fact, they were expecting me there, because one or two of the guards are fans, and they had “Ramones” CD’s for me to sign. They made it very easy for me. They were polite, hospitable, the hotel was very gracious. The people are very nice. I didn’t see any bad things. Everything was smooth. I was surprised.

— At the shows in Russia, was there a good turnout, young and old fans?
Young people, old fans, curiousity-seekers, punk kids into the “Ramones” or “The Clash” or “Rancid” kind of look, and they all mingled. It was the older generation and the younger generation and they knew exactly what to do; they were slamdancing and jumping off the stage. I have it all on video.

— Besides “Tarakany!”, did you get to see any Russian bands play?
No, I didn’t have the opportunity. I would, if I went there on vacation and knew somebody who knows the rock places, I would go with them definitely. It was a cool place to visit, because you read about all these things paper, and then when you’re there it’s like, “Wow...” Lenin’s Tomb in Red Square the whole thing was immense, the area with the churches around it, where the churches look like bubbles. It takes minutes to walk from one side to another.

— Did you see anywhere besides Moscow?
I went to St. Petersburg. I went to the museum there, the Hermitage. That museum is unreal. Every detail, every thing in there I mean, you need to at least spend a week there to see everything. Everywhere you looked there was something amazing: the craftsmanship of the place, the displays, all the stuff that’s in there...

— Is the option open to go back there again?
My options are always open. As long as I enjoy myself, and I have the time, that’s it.

Tim Krysko, www.wrecktheplace.com

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