Addictions, politics, OCD, personal hygiene, parasitic twins. What else could you ask for in a rock and roll memoir? Well, you can find all of that and more in Marky Ramone’s new book Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone. Yes, a parasitic twin, really.
The book starts off as most memoirs do: childhood. We meet young Marc Bell and discover how he learns to love music. We also learn more about his time in other bands such as Dust, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Wayne County before he took on the last name Ramone. Though he was not the original drummer, Marky laid down the beats to many your favorite Ramones tunes: I Wanna Be Sedated, The KKK Took My Baby Away and Pet Sematary.
Marky is essentially the last remaining Ramone, not including some fellas that were around for only a short time. Joey and Dee Dee both passed away in 2001, Johnny in 2004, and Marky’s drum predecessor Tommy lost his battle with cancer in 2014. He shares openly about his own battle with alcoholism, Joey’s OCD, Dee Dee’s drug problems, and Johnny’s right-wing politics. There are also fun details about the making of the film Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and recording with the legendary Phil Spector. There was also the period of time when he was out of the band for awhile and actually working as a bike messenger!
Marky is open and honest and doesn’t pull any punches regarding his former bandmates’ issues, but you still feel that he has genuine affection for the fellas. There is a photo insert in the middle of the book that includes photos of young Marc, his pre-Ramones bands and more recent photos of him with lots of celebrities. What is missing, disappointingly, are any pictures of him with the Ramones. None at all. If there is a reason for that, it isn’t mentioned.
Today, Marky is doing plenty to keep busy, including hosting a Sirius radio show, selling his own pasta sauce and beer and of course promoting his book and still making music.This is a worthy read. While hardcore fans may already know many of the stories, it’s always best to hear it firsthand, from someone who was there and is not afraid to share all the gritty details. Add this to your library ASAP.