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A Conversation with Marky Ramone
October 11, 2012 - Jim Price
Aldo’s Lounge in Juniata will be blitzkrieg bopping this Sunday night, October 14, when Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg – featuring the namesake drummer for punk legends The Ramones – steps onto the stage. The show starts at 8 p.m., and will feature local opening acts the Railroad City Murder Machines, Xs for Eyes and The Whatleys.
I had the opportunity to speak with Marky Ramone about the upcoming show, his current band and more. This is the transcript of an interview that aired on last Sunday night’s (October 7) edition of the “Homegrown Rocker” on Rocky 104.9 and Rocky 99.
JP: “How is life going for you these days?”
MARKY: “Okay…Everything’s good…alive…And can’t wait to play over there and entertain my fans and friends. We’ll have a nice party.”
JP: “These days you’re with Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg. How long have you had that project together, and who is in that group?”
MARKY: “It’s been about 3 years, and we just finished a world tour. The shows I’m doing now are basically going to be really good warm-up shows for our tour in South America. And it’s always fun doing the warm-up shows because you’re closer to your fans and friends in the venues. So that’s a thing I look forward to every year; those shows are preliminaries for a big tour. Michale Graves is the lead singer. He wrote two Misfits albums, he was their lead singer, and that was after Danzig. He’s been playing with me, when we decided to play, because he has his own thing, and it goes really well. So we do 33, 34 Ramones songs…our way. We do not try to copy the Ramones, but the music that’s there. Everyone has their own style, and that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want any clones of the other Ramones. So that’s basically what we do; it’ll be a lot of fun.”
JP: “You will be bringing your show to Aldo’s in Altoona on Sunday, October 14. Talk about the live show a little bit; what happens when you hit the stage?”
MARKY: “It’s nonstop, it’s like a locomotive, it’s a wall of sound. We just do 1-2-3-4 between each song…And before you know it, it’s an assault, but a good one. That’s what we like to do, is create the energetic vibe, and have our fans and friends in the audience sing along to the songs. And that’s what it’s really all about, having fun and enjoying the entertainment side of it.”
JP: “You said this small club tour is the warm-up for a South American tour. Where will you be heading?” MARKY: “We just did China. We were never there before. They asked us to come over there, which we did. And we’re going to Brazil and Argentina and Chile, which we’ve been to many a time. And we just finished a Spain tour…And we did Brooklyn, New York, which was really a lot of fun because I’m from Brooklyn and all the Ramones fans and friends showed up. And now we’re doing the East Coast here. I haven’t really played the East Coast in about a year, ten months, something…So, I guess I’ll be seeing my old friends and my new friends. I learned to do these warm-up shows because a lot of bands do that. And the most interesting shows are the ones that are the warm-up shows, because you never know what’s gonna happen…I hope that everybody has a good time, that’s all that matters to me, that we provide the fun and entertainment.”
JP: “One thing that a lot of people do not know about you is that you have your own line of pasta sauce. How did you get into the pasta sauce business?”
MARKY: “Well, my grandfather was a chef at the Copacabana, a famous nightclub in New York. I used to watch him cook as a little boy. Then when I was thrown out of my apartment when I was 18, I had to learn how to cook on my own. The cheapest thing to make was spaghetti with pasta sauce. So I decided to make my own. It took six months because the first few batches of it weren’t really that good. But then, it happened. And the other thing that I like about the fact that there is a Marky Ramone pasta sauce is that ten percent (of proceeds) goes to Autism Speaks, and that’s a charity that I’m totally behind, and I’m glad to be in this position to be able to do that. So that’s how it really happened. You know, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Sometimes you get what you pray for (laughs)…”
JP: “Will you be bringing any of that pasta sauce along to Aldo’s on Sunday?”
MARKY: “I don’t think so, because when you have to tour with glass, it’s not a good idea. Let me tell you what happened…I was on a plane going to London, and I had two jars in my suitcase. What happens? They break. What does it go all over? All my clothes. So, you live and learn. You can get it on MarkyRamone.com online. And you can get it at the Whole Foods, it’s on all the places that you can have access to it on MarkyRamone.com.”
JP: “You are known for being the drummer of the Ramones…”
MARKY: “Yep, the longest drummer for the Ramones…”
JP: “And you were part of a band that changed the face of rock music, and inspired countless musicians to actually pick up instruments and start their own bands. How do you view the Ramones and their influential role in music, and is that something you think about at all?”
MARKY: “When I joined the band, they were still playing CBGB’s, the little clubs, and they went to London once and came back. But then in ’78, we did “Rock and Roll High School,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” we worked with Phil Spector…So, things got bigger. But what I learned is, if you’re in a band, it’s good to play all venues, big ones, small ones, middle ones, because you learn certain things…But the influence of the Ramones, we never thought it would come to this, how large our influence has expanded over the world. I mean, you look at bands like Green Day, Rancid, The Offspring, Joan Jett, and all these groups, they cite the Ramones as their influence, even The Clash. So if Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee were alive today, they would be very grateful that we still bring the excitement and the energy that we have on our records and videos for people to watch.” JP: “Is there anything else you’d like to say about your band, next Sunday’s show, or anything else that’s on your mind?”
MARKY: “The thing is, the Ramones can never get back together again because of their untimely deaths. But I keep the legacy alive through the music, and I think that’s the most important thing. And because of all the emails and stuff that I get, and even on Facebook and other stuff, and the kids, and even the older people – who I love, because they were there first – wanna hear these songs. So they’re too good not to be played. So, here I am, and I just do what I do best, and really play and do 34, 35 songs. And that’s what I’ll continue to do, as long as the body allows…(laughs).”
Marky Ramone brings his current band project, Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg, to Aldo's Lounge in Juniata this Sunday night.