MARKY RAMONE ARTICLE IN JAPAN ON JANUARY 19,
Article was released in Daily Yomiuri (Japan) on January
See dates of this tour
Marky Ramone living proof of punk
Article is by Les Coles
Thirty years ago, the Ramones released a self-titled debut album that lit
the fuse on a stick of audio dynamite that exploded into the punk
revolution. Ever since then, music critics periodically have taken
pleasure in proclaiming that "Punk is dead."
Thirty years on, in a basement club called Pink Noise in Futako Tamagawa,
western Tokyo, surviving member Marky Ramone is taking an equal amount of
pleasure demolishing that statement with a high-energy set of 20 Ramones
songs that had the audience frantically pogoing.
Marky, who spent 15 years and 11 albums behind the Ramones' drums and was
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 along with the
original four--Johnny (guitar), Joey (vocals), Tommy (drums), and Dee Dee
(bass)--is the last of the Ramones on the road, for alas, some parts of
punk are dead: Joey died of lymphatic cancer in 2001, Dee Dee succumbed to
a drug overdose in 2002, and Johnny lost his battle with cancer in 2004.
"Johnny went through living hell, and Joey never lived to see the band
inducted into the Hall of Fame," Marky reflected sadly in the dressing
room prior to the start of a seven-day tour of Japan.
It is partly in memory of his bandmates that Marky continues to perform
"The Ramones were the first," Marky asserted. "We were doing it before
And how. The Ramones rocked the house and they rocked the boat. They
punctured the self-indulgent egos of arena rock superstars, and they
taught the Brits how noise annoys and helped kindle the flame of anarchy
in the U.K.
Asked whether he thought the Sex Pistols had snuck in and taken the money
and run, Marky replied: "Anyone can say 'f---' on television; we just
never felt the need to do so. We'd already been doing it for a couple of
years. But I don't resent it."
He added that he isn't upset that another generation of punk bands, such
as Rancid, Offspring, Green Day, are also making it.
"It keeps it alive. It just continues. It never stops." Marky said, adding
that he plays new punk along with the old on his program on Sirius
But the main reason Marky continues is the fans.
"We play Ramones songs because that's what the kids want to hear," Marky
said. "The songs are too good not to be played. A lot of kids weren't
around when the Ramones were together. This is their second chance."
One such kid at Pink Noise on Sunday was Yoko, who was in grade school
when the Ramones broke up, but has been a fan ever since her teens.
"Finally, I'm going to see Marky Ramone," she exclaimed.
The latest Japan tour is Marky's fourth since the Ramones split up but
breaks new ground in that he is performing a Ramones-only set backed by
two Japanese punkers, Stone Deaf guitarist Yukio Yamamura and bandmate
Kojiro Akai on bass. "There's Ramones fans everywhere in the world who
grew up on this music because it's so much fun to play. So we can always
get good local bands," Marky said.
But he is taking no chances with vocalists, and has made David Brooks a
fixture. Having had to step into a pair of pretty big Converse sneakers,
Brooks did a stellar job Sunday, belting out classics such as "Beat on the
Brat," "Blitzkrieg Bop" and the great Dee Dee classic "Poison Heart."
"It's amazing. It's a dream for me. I grew up listening to this music.
They're great songs, they're anthems," Brooks said.
Demand for these tributes to the Top 40 7-inch-vinyl songwriting aesthetic
keeps Marky busy handling the Ramones vast back catalog. A tremendously
prolific band, the Ramones produced 21 studio and live albums from the
moment of their inception in Forest Hills, N.Y., in 1974 until their
2,263rd and final concert, in Los Angeles on Aug. 6, 1996.
The latest offering, "Weird Tales of The Ramones," is a mammoth three-CD,
one-DVD boxed set, containing 85 songs and 18 videos that comes bundled
with a full-color comic-book complete with 3-D glasses. Not surprisingly,
it is up for a Grammy next month, as is the End of The Century documentary
on the band.
All of which argues most convincingly that punk is not dead.