Few years after a founding member and guitarist of the Ramones, Johnny
Ramone had passed away (RIP, September 15, 2004),
Henry Rollins (ex member of the Black Flag, Rollins Band etc.) got the
honour to start working on Johnny Ramone's book and he was working with
it many years. But in September 2010, I got told new Ramones manager
John Cafiero is working with the book.
In July 2011, I got some new information. Book is titled: Commando: The
Autobiography Of Johnny Ramone. Publisher is Abrams Image. Those
things not changed.
Some other things got changed, as I got information book having 192
pages. 16 pages was shortened away, so final version has 176 pages. Book
is edited by John Cafiero, with a help of Steve Miller and Henry
Rollins. I am not sure how much is Miller's effort in final version as
Linda wanted "to buy Steve Miller out" from contract they had. Miller
worked before for Washington
Front jacket photograph is taken by Danny Fields.
Included are 60 full-color and black-and-white
1) Commando: The Autobiography Of Johnny Ramone
is the first and only truly autobiographical work written by Johnny
2) USA: Commando: The Autobiography Of Johnny
Ramone was released in
stores and online nationwide (USA) on April 2nd, 2012 from Abrams
Image. Book launch
of Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone was
held at Varvatos Bowery, New York on March 29, 2012.
Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone
3) E-book was available on Kindle, iPad,
Nook, Kobo and Sony Reader.
4) Rights of the book have been pre-sold in four
different languages throughout Europe and Brazil with more soon to be
announced... And then in February, 2013,
Commando: The Autobiography Of Johnny Ramone got published in Brazil, version
in Portuguese got published by Editora LeYa.
5) Commando: The Autobiography Of Johnny Ramone
includes a foreward written by sole surviving founding member, drummer,
Tommy Ramone, and an epilogue written by Johnny's close friend (and
daughter to the King), Lisa Marie Presley.
Here is a index:
Pages 5-6) Foreword by Tommy Ramone.
Page 7-14) Prologue.
Pages 15-146) Chapters 1-8.
Pages 147-150) Epilogue by Lisa Marie Presley).
Pages 151-165) Album-by-album assessment.
Pages 167-171) Johnny Ramone's all-time Top10.
Page 172) Acknowledgments.
Pages 173-174) Afterword by John Cafiero.
Pages 175-176) Afterword by Johnny's wife Linda Ramone.
2) BOOK SIGNING: Ramones' founding member and first
drummer, first manager etc. Tommy Ramone was in a
book in-store signing for Commando: The Autobiography Of Johnny Ramone
book at Amoeba Music, 6400 Sunset Blvd. at Cahuenga, Hollywood, CA,
USA at 6PM on April 26, 2012.
If you wanted, also Johnny's wife Linda Ramone and book editor/ one
of Ramones' managers John Cafiero (also known as singer of Osaka
Popstar) signed your book. BUT, they told rules...: "Purchase your
copy of the book at Amoeba on the day of the event to attend this
special signing. With purchase of the book fans may get two additional
items signed (i.e.: Ramones titles featured, Osaka Popstar release)."
Despite his ultimate success with The Ramones, Johnny Ramone never
really strayed from his working-class roots and attitude. The tough guy
from the streets of Queens, New York, USA, assumed the role of the tough
guy in the band who kept The Ramones focused and moving forward,
ultimately securing the seminal band's place in rock history. The
Ramones were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame on March 18,
2002, and nearly a decade later, the seminal band was awarded a Grammy
for lifetime achievement.
Commando: The Autobiography Of Johnny Ramone is Johnny's story and the
story of The Ramones told in his own words. Insightful and
introspective, the 176-page, visually driven memoir walks through
Johnny's days as a founding member of one of the world's most iconic
bands and also chronicles his personal life beyond the stage. Never
afraid to speak his mind, it includes raw and unflinching opinions of
the band as well as his fellow peers in music and even the struggle with
cancer that ultimately took him. Grounded in decades of his own
meticulous records and notes, Johnny also shares his personal assessment
of The Ramones catalog, several of his brilliantly eccentric Top Ten
Lists, rare historical artifacts and scores of personal and professional
photos, most of which have never been seen before.
In January 2002, Tommy Ramone shared some insight on
Commando: The Autobiography
Of Johnny Ramone with the Associated Press:
"Johnny Ramone's autobiography is a no holds bared, straight forward
book written in a no-nonsense style that is Johnny personified. His
story is written in his own actual words, so the reader gets an insight
into what made him the unique, charismatic and exciting individual that
he was. It also gives a great view of the Ramones from Johnny's
perspective." - Tommy Ramone.
Here is beginning and end of Tommy Ramone's opening
(so in a book opening text is longer)
"It's great to read Johnny Ramone's story in his own words. It's like
having a personal audience with him. It has his pacing, his timing, his
rhythm. It's a nice fast read - just the way he would have wanted
"Johnny was meant to be a musical warrior. Joey, Dee Dee, and I
gravitated to him because he was so charismatic and interesting. He was
the magnet that pulled us together. In this book, Johnny talks about the
hard road traveled through his personal and musical fit. It is an
insightful and interesting story indeed."
Comment on back cover of Johnny Ramone by Kirk Hammett
"Johnny Ramone was a living legend. A true enigma, one in a million. I
reveled in his ironclad, piss-and-vinegar sort of temperament toward
everything and life in general... Long live Johnny Ramone!!!!!"
Comment on back cover of Johnny Ramone by Chris Cornell
"Johnny produced a sound so brutal and direct it has influenced all rock
since. He approached his music and his life with a legendary tenacity,
making him one of rock's most indestructible icons!"
Even next parts are from Johnny's book,
Commando: The Autobiography Of Johnny Ramone, I am
are OK to publish because you get a feeling how book
"I was the king of the hill when I was onstage. The Ramones toppled the
Here is a good comment of early days by
"The first time we played CBGB's, Alan Vega from Suicide came up and
told us that we were the band he'd been waiting for and he couldn't
believe how great we were. I told Dee Dee, "Look, we fooled someone.
Maybe we can fool other people. Every time we had a new fan in those
early days, I'd say, "Fooled another one." Then I realized at some point
that we really were good."
Joey and I Wanna Be Sedated:
"Joey came to rehearsal with "I Wanna Be Sedated" and played it for us
on his one-string guitar. He had it all together, the verse, the chorus,
"Marky, our second drummer, and I would go months without talking to
each other over some stupid thing, like who should sign what. We were
in Japan, and he had a cracked cymbal. I thought we should all sign it and
sell it. He and I actually had a fight over whether the band should sign
it or just him. He thought that since he was the drummer, he should be
the one. I thought a fan would rather it be signed by the whole band
than just Marky."
Johnny tells about anger:
"But for all the success, I carried around fury and intensity during my
career. I had an image, and that image was anger."
"The rage started with adolescense and never fully left. I would walk
off the stage with that anger going, although it eased when I retired in
1996. While retirement seemed to soften me, the prostate cancer I was
diagnosed with 1997 did so even more."
Anger, it energized me and made me feel strong."
Here are some lines of Johnny's comments of Ramones
debut album (1976):
"We did all our tracks in two days at Radio City Music Hall. We were
rushing because I knew we would have to pay back the money that we'd
bought the new equipment with, so the less time it took, the cheaper it
was. We got this done for sixty-five hundred dollars, which was cheap
even then. They put the guitar in one channel, which I thought was
weird. I didn't like it, but others were OK with it, so I let it
Here are some lines of Johnny's comments of
Ramones' final studio album Adios Amigos (1995):
"This album has perhaps the best of all the guitar sounds
I ever got. Daniel Rey produced it, and he knew that the Ramones were a
guitar group. He also played the leads on here.... My favorite is The
Crusher. I love Scattergun. We did a cover of Tom Waits' I Don't Want To
Grow Up. I had never heard the song before; I just showed up one day,
and CJ played it for me, and I said, "sure.""
Book include five pages of Johnny Ramone's all-time
Top10 listings. Here are examples of few, I type up just Top5's (read
rest from book). Personally (Jari-Pekka) I was surprised of
top guitarists, especially because of Leslie West... West of Mountain
was doing those was long jams, long guitar solos what Johnny hated.
Top guitarists: 1) Jimmy Page, 2) Jeff Beck, 3) Leslie West, 4) Jimi
Hendrix, 5) Dick Dale.
Top singers: 1) Elvis, 2) Bing Crosby, 3) Roy Orbison, 4) Gene Pitney,
5) The Everly Brothers.
Favorite Elvis songs: 1) Don't Be Cruel, 2) Can't Help Falling In Love,
3) Baby Let's Play House, 4) Viva Las Vegas, 5) Are You Lonesome
I want this interview to be archived and it is reason why interview is
also here. Otherwise interview would get lost from Internet
Interview with Linda Cummings' (Linda Ramone) is by Nekesa Mumbi Moody,
on January, 2012.
Eight years after he died of prostate cancer, Johnny Ramone's
autobiography is finally being published.
"Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone" is set for release April
2, 2012, by Abrams Image. In an interview Tuesday, his widow, Linda,
the book as "kind of his last word that he knew would be out."
"It is a really powerful book because his whole life has gone before him
and he knows it's going to come to an end, and he really needs to tell
everybody what he's feeling inside, so that's what makes it so amazing,"
she added later. "That is the biggest, most powerful thing, writing a
book when you know you're dying."
Johnny Ramone, whose real name was John Cummings, was one of the
founding members of the legendary New York City-based punk band the
Ramones, members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Considered one of
the most influential guitarists in rock, he died in 2004 at age 55 after
battling cancer for five years.
Linda Ramone said he started writing the book when he first became ill:
"Johnny's legacy to him was so important, even while he was sick. ... It
was like he knew he was dying, and he wanted to do something."
The 176-page book is filled with pictures selected by his wife. It
includes Ramone's musings from his childhood to his struggle with
cancer. It also features other personal stories, including the attack on
him that left him hospitalized, his altercation with Malcolm McLaren and
his romance with Linda, who once dated Joey Ramone, the Ramones'
frontman, leading to a years long rift between the two musicians.
"It's whatever people make out of it. I guess it was some sort of love
triangle - Joey, Johnny and me. It happened, and of course he talks
about it and he talks about how he feels about it," Linda said. "The
three of us all probably have a different story, but this is Johnny's
Band mate Tommy Ramone, the only surviving member of the original band,
wrote the foreword. In a statement, he said: "Johnny Ramone's
autobiography is a no holds barred, straight-forward book written in a
no-nonsense style that is Johnny personified. His story is written in
his own actual words, so the reader gets an insight into what made him
the unique, charismatic and exciting individual that he was. It also
gives a great view of The Ramones from Johnny's perspective."
The epilogue was written by close friend Lisa Marie Presley.
Linda Ramone said the book was originally planned to have interviews
with Ramone's friends, but she decided to only include her husband's
"It didn't make Johnny Ramone's book more powerful by having other
people in the book talking about him," she said. "This is nobody else's
story. This is Johnny Ramone's story, talking about Johnny Ramone."
She said several factors were responsible for the delay in the book's
release, including lawsuits involving the band after Ramone died and
other projects she was undertaking for his fans.
"Between all those years of doing different things for his legacy, I
always had the book. But there was never the right time for the book,"
Linda said her husband never stopped working on the book, even during
"He wasn't feeling well all the time, but that never stopped Johnny,"
she said. "Johnny was indestructible."
She hopes to publish another book of photos of Ramone, and hopes the
book will lead to a Ramones biopic.
"This is the first book I can honestly see that really has enough in it
to make it such an interesting story, because this is Johnny talking
about Johnny," she said. "No Ramone movie could be as cool as Johnny's
The most extensive and long interview with Linda Cummings' (Linda
Ramone) ever is published on my Ramones:
Soundtrack Of Our Lives book. Six pages long.
Linda tells a lot of the background of this book on it as well.
Like you can read these infos from it (I did interview in 2007): "I now
have Henry Rollins finishing up Johnny's book for me. He's been working
on it now since the first writer didn't work out. Henry is a true punk
and he is a true Ramones fan. He came over the house and I knew
immediately he was the type of person who really loved it all. When I
asked if he could finish the book he said: "Yeah." What we're doing is
taking everyone else out the book and just having Johnny talk. It's
stripped down. I just want a punk book that's it.
I have Johnny's black books from 1979-1996. When questions come up that
I can't answer I go to the books. He has everything written down! Every
show, every attendance, and what they got paid."
So this interview I had with Linda in 2007. And as I said, final
version is autobiographical work written by Johnny Ramone.
When Linda, I (Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone) and Maria Montoya-Kaye
sat down at Fabricini's Restaurant in Los Angeles on May 30
2007, Linda knew that I wasn't the type of person who would tell the
public about the background fights that go on in the Ramones family.
Linda had been friendly and familiar in my company well before
interview in 2007. In 2005 Linda asked me to come to the restaurant with
her and her friend Sandy Linter in New York.
The next year Linda and I were planning to meet for another interview
at Arturo Vega's (Ramones' creative director, who now
run RamonesWorld.com) loft in New York. Plans changed so instead,
Linda and I conducted the interview in Los Angeles in 2007.
Linda explains in her interview on Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives for
- Johnny's and Dee Dee's last meeting.
- How and why they (Johnny and Linda) decided to move to California.
- Johnny's romantic side.
- When Johnny became very sick and how they were able to cope.
- Memories of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam members coming to
- How Linda met the Ramones.
- Linda's take on the triangle drama of Joey, Johnny, and Linda.
- How much Linda and Joey were in touch after 1983.
- Linda Cummings shared some very personal photographs for Ramones:
Soundtrack Of Our Lives book.
One on the day of their wedding, their Elvis Presley room, a Halloween
photo of Johnny Ramone dressed as a clown.
Here are some background information and my thoughs.
Linda is an easy target for many Ramones' fans and also to some people
in inner circle of the Ramones. I understand their feelings. I either
don't like everything what Linda has done in last few years.
Now I explain a little bit about the love triangle known as Linda, Joey,
and Johnny. Before judging Linda, please read her interview on
Soundtrack Of Our Lives.
Before judging read especially page 65.
I and Maria Montoya-Kaye were doing that page really careful and
thinking deeply different sides. Maria and I both has wide emotional
I will share also here on my Ramones' homepage few thoughs. I will say
didn't fall in love with the rock star singer Joey Ramone or later with
the famous guitarist Johnny Ramone. No, Linda Danielle (later
Cummings) fell in love with
Jeffrey Hyman and John Cummings.
In 1979 Linda Cummings was about nineteen years old and Joey Ramone was
28 when they started their relationship. Joey was Linda's first
serious boyfriend when they lived together.
I am going to say the following words in the
most basic and stripped down way possible:
Ramones fans hate that Linda and Johnny betrayed Joey.
Now, would the same fans hate Joey if they knew before the inevitable
actually happened, he tried to betray Linda first? That's right, Joey
was not faithful to Linda either and there are some people who still
know the truth of what happened in the late 70's.
When Linda Cummings and I sat down to talk on May 30, 2007, she didn't
know what I already knew about Joey faltering until Ramones:
Soundtrack Of Our Lives got published.
Before judging or E-mailing me anything, read interview and page 65.
After many books about the Ramones, written both by insiders and
outsiders, we now have the band's inside story from the one who was
there from the very beginning until the very last show, Johnny Ramone.
Johnny's perspective on the Ramones history is interesting not only
because he performed at every show, endured every grueling van tour, and
made it through every recording session, but because Johnny himself was
such a unique individual. Especially in the music business, where
hard-working conservatives are the exception and not the rule.
With a military school background and a deeply ingrained work ethic,
Johnny wasn't your average rock star, fixated on sex and drugs and
avoiding responsibility. He was focused on making the band successful
and keeping the quality consistently high. Commando is less of a
tell-all book about the personality conflicts within the group (that
gossip has been covered elsewhere) and more of a sober assessment of
Johnny's and the Ramones' successes and failures over their long career.
Johnny's highly developed business sense comes through loud and clear
(and loud!). Attention up-and-comers: Commando is a textbook for anyone
who wants to start a band and make a living at it.
Being one of the architects of punk, Johnny's story is told with
unflinching honesty. It's as much about "I don't care what you think" as
it is about maintaining his own personal integrity. Johnny candidly
admits to the bad stuff he did (some of it a little shocking) as well as
the phenomenal job he did keeping the Ramones together and working
steadily. It's neither boastful nor apologetic. It is what it is.
The text is very much in Johnny's own voice. You almost feel like he's
talking to you when he discusses his friends, his former girlfriends,
and his wife Linda. He touches on his religious beliefs, his political
leanings, and his tenacious dedication to the band over and above all
else. In addition to the text there are handwritten notes and pages from
his calendar, plus Johnny's famous lists of favorite horror movies,
favorite Elvis films, favorite ball players, etc. He grades the Ramones
albums like high school homework assignments. Johnny's likes and
dislikes are surprisingly fun to read about.
Mention should be made of the excellent design of the book; not just the
layout, the graphics and the generous number of rare color photos, but
the glossy paper stock, sturdy binding, and novel hard cover. Framed in
faux blue denim, it's signature sewn which means it won't fall apart,
and it looks great on a shelf. In this age of Kindles, this is one book
you'll want to own physically, not electronically. It's a piece of art
The book was brilliantly edited by John Cafiero from the notes and
manuscript Johnny was working on as he was dying. It's hard not to get
choked up at the end, but there are no tears. That's the way Johnny
Review by David Burd.