Marky Ramone Talks Punk History, Phil Spector, and Italian Food

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Basically like-minded people coming together; I mean a major theme of the book is how people who were all ahead of their time sort of gravitate towards each other.

Oh yeah. Richard Hell and the Ramones. Blondie would be hanging out, Patti Smith, and so many others. Everybody had a place to play there.

It seems the book is a good balance of being honest and self-serving, which is how a rock 'n' roll memoir should be. What part was most difficult for you to write?

The most difficult part of the book... obviously the deaths of the three Ramones who were basically my brothers and bandmates. To this day I miss them. Every minute I think about them. It will never end, but you just have to think about the fun times -- even though there was sometimes animosity, you have to think of the good times and keep it in your memory, you know?

After hitting rock bottom -- which you have said happened when your car went through the window, and when you went to the second rehab facility that was like barracks -- did you have any struggles musically after getting sober?

Actually, no. I wanted to do whatever I had to do sober, so you learn when you have to confront the same situation again. What I do is just different kind of work to stay in shape physically [Marky Ramone worked as a bike messenger]. So when I got back into the music business I was fit, and able to continue to play the same way I did. Also, I never drank before I played, just after the shows and when we had time off. So when I did play I was sober, but you know; when I got back into the group things were still the same. Nothing changed.

So being around it didn't bother you at all?

Well, at one point when I got sober I lost the urge. I mean -- you know, people do what they are going to do and that's their business. If it gets too much for someone I'm sure they know there's help out there for them to go down the right path.

Looking back on your career, did you ever start out with a career goal in mind and if so, do you feel like you've reached that goal?

Yes. I wanted to play, and I got lucky. I got hooked up with the right people, the right producers, and I achieved the pinnacle: Being in the Ramones, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and getting the Grammy Award. And now I just continue to tour the world and I continue to play the music to a whole new generation. I go to places that the Ramones never ended up going to, like Russia, China, Vietnam, Dubai, and they love our Western culture. What I do now is an extension of what I did in the Ramones.

I'm sure it's pretty amazing to see people all over the world celebrate this music.

It's unbelievable. Unbelievable! I mean, they might disagree with us politically, some of the countries, but our culture they seem to love.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise