September 26, 2023
Music History

“My Life as a Ramone” – An Insider’s Look of The Ramones

Marky Ramone wasn’t one of the originals–he replaced Tommy on drums in the late 70s–but he’s certainly the longest-serving Ramone that’s still alive. Here’s an article he wrote for Cuepoint:

Every time I ran into Dee Dee at CBGB in the winter of ‘78, he told me I ought to join the Ramones. As if you could just do that, like joining the Y or the ACLU. He said the band was having trouble with Tommy, their drummer, and I was actually a little upset to hear that. I didn’t want the original lineup of the Ramones to break up. I was a fan. But I didn’t put much stock in what Dee Dee said. He was a nut and known to exaggerate.

It takes a nut to be involved with two psychotic women at once. About a year before, he was living in an apartment with Connie, a violent stalker, prostitute, and drug addict. Dee Dee was also having a fling with Nancy Spungen, the schizophrenic girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. When she came home to find Dee Dee in bed with Nancy, Connie grabbed an empty beer bottle, smashed it, and stabbed Dee Dee in the ass with the jagged edge.

But when Johnny Ramone asked to meet with me about joining the band, the whole proposition turned real. I arrived at Max’s with my girlfriend Marion and we took seats across from John and his girlfriend Roxy (Cynthia Whitney) in a booth up front. I was impressed with John. He seemed to have a handle on the Ramones’ business matters and a vision of how to get the band through this difficult transition. Joey wasn’t exactly up to it, and Dee Dee would have sent the whole thing into the toilet.

John laid down some rules. Maybe they were more like guidelines.

Whatever they were, the Ramones didn’t get high before playing. Me neither.Dress on and off the stage was leather jackets, jeans, and sneakers. I was already wearing all that and had been forever. Dee Dee always counts off the songs. Definitely. I know. We don’t go away on tour for more than a month.Sounds good. We travel together, and girlfriends are welcome. Marion can come. Thanks.

The only confusing thing was the audition. There would be one at the Ramones’ rehearsal studio. But John discussed the rules and regs like my being a Ramone was already a done deal. Then I thought, Whatever they call it, I’ll blow it away.

Keep reading.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37107 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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