Beatin’ For The Cretins: Marky Ramone at 70

Watch a video interview with the big engine behind The Ramones

Marky Ramone (Image: Facebook)

Marky Ramone kept it beatin’ for all the hoppin’ cretins. In a way – and I don’t mean this sarcastically – that’s ultimate praise. We were all cretins and we loved it.

Marky wasn’t the first man behind the Ramones drum kit. That was Tommy Ramone – well, Joey Ramone, technically speaking in the very early days, before he became the singer– but it was Tommy who was in the seat and steered the group for those first three classic albums. He exited Ramones proper, but still wrote and produced with them.

Marky was once Marc Bell – he’d played in the Misfits, Dust and Richard Hell and the Voidoids (twas him on “Blank Generation”) – but agreeably took the Ramone surname when he joined. He agreed that the “y” at the end of the name was more Ramone-y and went from a hard “c” to a “k.” He took over the slot in 1978 and was there through ’82, out of the band, and then back again from ‘87 to ’96 (the end). 

This Rock and Roll Globe birthday tribute – Marky turns 70 July 15 – is a bit of a break in format. Think of it as kinda like a Video Daily Double on Jeopardy! Not so much text as it is moving pictures and talk, with, y’know, questions and answers.

Marky Ramone Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As A Ramone (Image: Music Press Books)

The set up:  I was hosting a public Q&A session with Marky in late 2014 at the Northeast Comic Con, in a burb north of Boston. (I do this every now and then; most recently with Cherie Currie and Micky Dolenz.) Marky was about to publish his memoir Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As A Ramone, where he would dive deep into the highs and lows of his 15-year tenure in the band. (Substance abuse, getting fired being two of the low points.) On the “Joe Franklin Show,” Joey told the late New York talk show host Marky was his favorite drummer along with Keith Moon.

Marky, the only living Ramone in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has his own SiriusXM channel (712) called Marky Ramone’s Punk Rock Blitzkrieg. He’s had several post-Ramones bands, including Marky Ramone and the Intruders, Marky Ramone and the Speedkings, and, of course, Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg, the current vehicle. He also has his own line of sauce, Marky Ramone’s Brooklyn’s Own Pasta Sauce. I know this because we have an untouched jar on the pantry shelf. Have for years. Collector’s item, y’know.

A day after his birthday, Marky plays the first of two gigs in Germany before returning to the States for a west coast run.

And now, Marky and me:


VIDEO: Marky Ramone x Jim Sullivan 


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Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan has written for The Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, the Boston Herald, Boston Common, the Christian Science Monitor, and Creem. Follow him on Twitter @jimsullivanink.

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