BACK

BY MARIANO ASCH: MARKY RAMONE AND MICKEY LEIGH TOURING IN SOUTH-AMERICA IN 2005

This text is by Mariano Asch whom you know for example from my first book, he's this man who put together and released fabulous Todos Somos Ramones doubleCD tribute album etc. Mariano is also a reporter and was a personal friend with Joey since 1996 and hes had the opportunity to interview 6 different Ramones (Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, CJ, Marky & Tommy).

(Picture: Marky and Mickey in the middle together with Mariano Asch. C.J. Gunn and Aaron Dowell are also in a picture).


Marky Ramone decided to form a one-off band to play to honour the memories of Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny only in South-America. He asked his long time friend and Joey Ramone's real life brother Mickey Leigh to lead it and added his two friends Aaron Dowell from Amps2Eleven and Chris (CJ) Gunn from The Subtones, so the full band was ready and had their first rehearsal somewhere in Buenos Aires before playing a short 4 songs set live at Rock & Pop FM on February 2, 2005. Same day but at an earlier hour Marky and Mickey were to do an in-store signing appearence at a local metal shop but due to too may crazy kids showing up, it HAD to be cancelled for their own safety. Over 800 kids showed up and they could have literally eaten Marky alive if he had showed up. So the promoters, in a good move, decided to re-locate the entire event to the radio station later on the same evening where Marky and Mickey happily signed autographed, talked and took photographs with over 300 fans. Some kids cried when seeing Marky, another one even kissed Marky on the foot (!!!), other 5 girls wanted to rape Marky all at once : It was RamonesMania all over again!!!

At the radio they did a live interview for the Apaga La Tele show hosted by Gustavo Olmedo who on one of his previous shows at the same station had interviewed the Misfits band with Marky, Jerry Only, Robo Misfit and Dez Cadena (of Black Flag) years earlier. Then it was showtime and they did 4 songs I Want You Around, I Just Want To Have Something To Do, Don't Come Close and What A Wonderful World. Few days later they played at outdoor stadium in Formosa, Argentina, then crossed the border to Asuncion, Paraguay to play a festival with top punksters Attaque 77 and Expulsados. But the biggest of all gigs was to happen on Sunday 6th, 2005 at Cosquin Rock festival in San Roque, Cordoba, Argentina. A 5 days festival on which over 100 bands of all styles played, including most of the top Argentinean acts. Marky and the guys headlined the Punk Stage on top of the bill after local credits Cadena Perpetua, Topos and 2 Minutos.

Stage time boys! Marky took the mic, introduced the band, then straight to "Lo-bo-to-meeee, Lo-bo-to-meeeeee!!!" First 8 high-energy songs performed as a 3 piece band: Chris on lead vocals and guitar, Aaron on bass and of course you guess who played the drums? Mickey was on the side of the stage waiting to appear. Marky went again to the mic and introduced Mickey to a cheering audience who despite the immense annoying pouring rain (it was outdoors!) clapped, cheered and sang-along to every song. Most of the faces seemed to be kids who were too young to see the real thing (The Ramones) and were happily enthusiast about having the chance to witness a real Ramone and the brother of another real Ramone performing some of their favourite songs. Mickey introduced his first song "If you've seen the movie Rock'N'Roll High School you will know this tune, called I Want You Around". Great choice to open with and what a great version!

Next were... too many great songs to mention them all. Some great choices which the Ramones never played live almost, some others which were totally expected (you know, all the classics). Personal highlight to me was a fab rendition of Something To Believe In but the kids all danced too to the likes of I Can't Give You Anything, went sad and cried to Life's A Gas, hey-hoed let's goed their hearts out on Blitzkrieg Bop, went to Idaho listening to Sheena on the radio-wooah to Danny Says and left happily thinking to themselves What A Wonderful World. What a wonderful closing song! And a pretty decent show too.

The band was happy, the kids were happy but the rain never stopped. Mickey was happy to watch first-hand how big his big bro' was in Ramonesland and flew back to NYC days later after a date in Caracas, Venezuela. The final night was meant to be at CBGB Buenos Aires but got cancelled at the last minute by the local government. Why? To make a long story short: I guess you all heard about the fire at a rock venue in Buenos Aires December 30th 2004 (big amount of people died...). After that the city government went fuckin' nuts and closed all rock venues, discos, night clubs.... Basically killed the city's nightlife. The venue was too small and the government and police decided at the last minute that the event was "too dangerous" and that "security could not be guaranteed" and closed the venue. Political bullshit, as usual. Finally the rest of the band plus Tank the super nice big guy big hardcore Misfits fan who tour managed the band, they all had to flew back home without playing at the city who mostly loved the Ramones during their life-time.

Marky, at the Holiday Inn hotel in Cordoba said (as the Beatles) "Not a second time". Let's hope they play again (and do more of the rarest songs!).

1-2-3-4 goes to writer and photographer: Mariano Asch.