Among the most revered rock bands in music history, the Ramones have been ranked by Spin Magazine as the #2 “Greatest Band of All Time,” second only to the Beatles. As a group, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Renowned drummer Marky Ramone divulges intimate details about The Ramones, on and off the road, in his new memoir, PUNK ROCK BLITZKRIEG: My Life as a Ramone (Touchstone Hardcover; January 13, 2015; $26.00; ISBN: 978-1-4516-8775-0). PUNK ROCK BLITZKRIEG is a cultural history of punk from the front lines and the definitive book that millions of Ramones fans have been waiting for.
Before joining the Ramones in 1978, Brooklyn native and self-taught drummer Marc Bell was already a name on the New York music scene. As a teenager he took the subway to Greenwich Village and got to hang out with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles, and Jim Morrison. By the time he graduated from Erasmus High School, Marc Bell was signed to a major label record deal and played arenas with the proto-metal band Dust. In his early twenties, Marc joined the first wave of punk in both Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys, and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Then, on the advice of original drummer Tommy Ramone, Johnny Ramone asked Marc to join the band.
What followed is nailed to the pages of rock and roll history: Marky built on the iconic, high energy drum sound of The Ramones, helping them perfect the craft that started down in the basement—the perfect 2-½ minute song with a hook that stays in your head a lifetime. Marky gave the beat to the punk classics, “I Wanna Be Sedated.” “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” “The KKK Took My Baby Away, and “Pet Sematary,” going on to play drums with the Ramones for fifteen years, nine studio albums, and 1,700 shows alongside Queens natives Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Ramone, and the chaos is as memorable as the music.
Joey was the lead singer—the perfect punk front man and introverted songwriter whose OCD stranded the Ramones at restaurants, hotels, and airports all over the world. Johnny was the guitarist and the band’s leader who spouted off his right-wing politics to a band captive in a van criss-crossing the country. Dee Dee was the eccentric genius of the band, taking four bubble baths a day, popping a variety of pills handed to him by fans, and writing songs about alienation, addiction, and despair that would go on to redefine the term “hit song.”
Marky Ramone’s early years with the band saw many successes, from the cult film Rock ‘n’ Rock High School to performing at large venues all over Europe and the Pacific Rim. But the wear and tear of touring and the dysfunction that was the Ramones drove Marky’s struggles with alcoholism off the road. In the mid-eighties, Marky left the Ramones to enter recovery, a process far more difficult than any drum roll or off-time beat ever could be. In PUNK ROCK BLITZKRIEG, Marky Ramone paints an unflinching picture of the turmoil behind the band that galvanized a generation and tells us how he survived it all—and the drum set was the best seat in the house.
PUNK ROCK BLITZKRIEG is a social history of the New York punk scene from a charter member.
The tales from the dirty streets, the drugs, and epic struggles are all part of the unforgettable saga of a band that sang “We’re A Happy Family” with more than a bit of sarcasm.
It also includes never before shared stories of touring, meeting Stephen King, working with Phil Spector, and the sheer expanse of the band and punk rock music from the mid-seventies to the early twenty-first century.
Tragically, Joey died in April 2001 from lymphoma. Shortly after, Dee Dee died of an overdose. Johnny lost his battle with prostate cancer in September 2004.
Most recently Tommy Ramone died in July 2014 of bile duct cancer. These towering figures in rock history live on in our hearts, on the airwaves, and in the riveting tales of their surviving brother, Marky Ramone.
Advance Praise for
PUNK ROCK BLITZKRIEG
“The Ramones are one of the three or four most influential American rock bands of all time, and their story, as related by surviving member Marky Ramone, is both entertaining and enlightening. So put on your old leather jacket, scream Gabba-Gabba-Hey at the top of your lungs, and dig in.”
– Stephen King
“Marky and I are from the 70’s as a drummer from the 70’s he can show the new boys a beat or two! He’s legend!!!”
– Peter Criss of Kiss
“Marky was an integral part of not one, but TWO of the most important bands in rock and roll. He saw everything from ground zero and lived to tell about it. Absolutely vital document!”
– Anthony Bourdain
“Marky’s music and style defined the punk rock movement and has influenced countless artists, entertainers and designers. As a musician, he harnessed the energy of the 1970s counterculture into a truly new movement, one that resulted in a seismic shift in fashion, art and music. While playing in great groups like Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys, Dust, Estus, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and of course The Ramones he became known as one of the best drummers on the scene.”
– Tommy Hilfiger
“It’s no secret that one of the Sire bands I was closest with were The Ramones. After all, my wife Linda, and good friend, Danny Fields managed them, and musically they changed the world.
I particularly depended on Tommy for strength and reason within the band, and was quite shocked and saddened when he decided to leave.
Thankfully, with advice from Tommy, they wound up choosing Marc Bell, who I knew well from Richard Hell and the Voidoids, also a Sire band. Marc is a drummer supreme, and was a perfect fit in every way, which is why I believe he was also chosen as the only non-original member to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band back in 2002.
Beyond that, his story, both in and out of The Ramones, musically and personally is quite incredible. A good read.”
– Seymour Stein, co-founder of Sire Records