News & Events Review: Marky Ramone "Punk Rock Blitzkrieg"

Marky Ramone: "Punk Rock Blitzkrieg"

Long time readers know what a huge Ramones fan The Crowgrrl is, so it’s little surprise I dove right into “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As A Ramone” by Marky Ramone (with Rich Hershlag) and quickly devoured it from cover to cover!

This memoir not only celebrates and laments Marky’s personal triumphs and tragedies, but those of all the other Ramones members as well. It is indeed a look into the intimate lives of the band members, warts-and-all. Nothing glossed over or euphemized, from Dee Dee’s addictions and helping himself to other people’s luggage in airports, to Johnny’s control-freak tendencies to Joey’s OCD idiosyncracies, all in-depth and detail.

We start off getting to know Marc Bell from an early age: including his early discovery of love of music with his twin brother Fred; the bands he played with before the Ramones; all parts of the journey leading up to the audition where Tommy Ramone gave Marky his blessings to take over kicking the skins for the band.

That’s where Marky gets on this crazy roller coaster ride known as The Ramones. He shares many colorful stories with us, including tours of Germany before and after the Berlin Wall fell. We see the stories behind “Rock & Roll High School” and “Pet Sematary”. We’re immersed in the entire Punk scene in NYC, including the immortal CBGB’s. We witness Johnny & Linda’s callous betrayal of their significant others, Roxy and Joey respectively. We’re confronted with Joey’s tragic fight with lymphoma, and events leading up to his untimely death. We also experience Dee Dee’s fight against substance abuse, which was ultimately his downfall. We relive Johnny’s last days and the benefit concert in his honor. We go on trial with Phil Spector.

My favorite parts were probably the recounts of the South American tour – the same one he filmed in the fun “Ramones: Raw” dvd.

I love how Marky gets in-depth with the music itself! The mental soundtrack that played along with reading this book was exhilarating! Not only the stories behind the songs, but also musician-speak about the actual song structures and beats.

Marky also goes in-depth with battles with his own demons – primarily alcohol – and his triumphant decades of sobriety with years of AA meetings.

Although all of the Ramones’ founding members have crossed over to the other side (what a wondrous jam session that must be!), Marky is doing a fantastic job of keeping their memory alive in the public’s mind. What a wonderful world he has seen throughout his life so far. He’s still keeping the Ramones’ legacy alive, and to that we can all give him a collective Thank You.

 

By Athena Schaffer