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Marky Ramone with Rich Herschlag: Punk Rock Blitzkrieg

Label: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster Inc.
Format: Hardcover
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Lars
Rating: 8/ 10


The Ramones are one of my all time favorite bands and I've also had the pleasure of meeting Marky a few years back (wish he had some of his jarred tomato sauce with him, I heard its killer). That said I was beyond interested to read his point of view as a member of one of the pioneer bands of the US punk rock movement. While it can be argued that The Stooges, MC5, and The New York Dolls (all of which are fantastic and musically game changing groups in terms of influence on Punk and Metal) were the forefathers of punk, if there were a Mount Rushmore of the US punk movement, The Ramones would indeed have a place for their faces on it..leather, attitude and all.

 

The book itself is a pretty informative and easy to read time capsule. It takes you back through the years to Marky "Marc Bell" Ramone's humble beginnings as a kid in the 60'a growing up in Lower Manhattan with a love for music, drums and monster movies. It also takes you along with him on the journey through his formative years as a drummer: First with the prog - proto metal band Dust (featuring another future superstar bassist Kenny Aarronson) where Marky cut his musical teeth. His drumming on these albums were more in line with Led Zeppelin than anything the Sex Pistols or Dickies could muster up. The next was with Max's Kansas legends Wayne (Jayne) County and the Backstreet Boys, who's music was proof positive that the vibe was a changing musically in a post 60's NYC world. Next up he was on the bench playing for another group of NYC legends, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, who's proto punkish quirky time changes and amphetamine fueled riffs supplied by Robert Quine made Malcolm McClaren ponder about the no future in rock and roll's future across the pond. Now if it hadn't been for Richard Hell's penchant for self destructive behavior that effectively drove a stake through the Voidoid's heart, Marky's story might have ended here. But instead it was one of the catalysts that landed him a gigs as the second drummer of the Ramones when Tommy Ramone passed the torch and the sticks over to Marky. Tommy helped Marky along the way as a drum coach of sorts before his departure from the Ramones, teaching him the songs and how to play them.

This book isn't always a feel good hit mind you, and definitely delivers the dirt on things like Joey's nigh horrific life staggering obsessive compulsive behavior. Johnny's staunch right wing stance and sometimes abusive behavior to his band of brothers and girlfriends as the appointed captain of the Ramones, and Dee Dee's penchant for over the top overdosing drug use, groupies and of all things bubble baths. Marky also has a far different view to offer on events too such as the infamous Phil Spector gun incident of which I have read about before through other accounts. Oddly through Marky's eyes the whole thing seems less dramatic and hyped up the way he lays it down here. The other stories like the UK tour with other punk legends like The Clash and The Sex Pistols and the filming debacle of Roger Corman's Rock and Roll High School were very interesting as well. He is also pretty candid about the events surrounding his own departure from the Ramones due to his own personal Road To Ruin of abuse and burnout on tour as well as the end of the Ramones and their somewhat tense relationships later on and leading up to Joey, Johnny's and Dee Dee's death. Hard to believe still that before the end of 2000, they were all gone.

I don't want to give up too much more of the story, definitely give this book a try. Warthogs and all, and sometimes controversial its a decent read about the life and times of a drummer in a legendary punk band and the characters and events that made them legends in the first place. Gabba Gabba Hey fellow pinheads..enjoy!

 
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