Tag Archives: Marky Ramone

Book Review: The Ramones- “An American Band”

Gino who is the Dee Dee in Sedated- The World’s Greatest Ramones Tribute has a bunch of Ramones books and is letting me borrow them
I thought I’d tell you about the books I have read so far but I want to start with my first Ramones Book which is
“AN AMERICAN BAND”
Amrican Band Cover

This book was published May 15th 1993 by St. Martin’s Griffin and was written by Jim Bessman “in association with The Ramones”
That last part is very important because that means there is no real dirt in this book
People nowadays are spoiled by all of the in-depth stories they get from old rock stars who don’t have anything to lose anymore and don’t give a shit
This book was released 3 years before the Ramones would break up

Johnny Joey

 

Looking back on reading this book in 93 and knowing what I know now, I would say this book reads like a 200 page music magazine article
In a literal sense because the verbiage sounds like they’re trying to win you over
It covers all of the important landmarks of their career and provides all the important Moment/Facts & Figures/Concert Dates etc…
But it is no in depth expose like the books we would get much later on

We take it for granted now that books are pretty much oral histories but the writing of this book is very obvious in its’ intention
Not to say that they don’t address the flaws of the band, like Dee Dee’s drug issues and Marky’s alcohol issues and they talk a lot about how hard it was to keep going after ¬†countless disappointments etc…
But they don’t even come close to hinting about the Joey/Linda/Johnny situation, nor do they talk about Joey’s maddening OCD or hygiene issues
They do hint at Johnny being a hardass and his distaste for anything non-American but they barely scratch the surface of what we now know was his history of bullying and physical abuse
Richie is not trashed but he wasn’t exactly painted as their friend

This book basically sets all of the parameters for the standard folklore of the band
So don’t go looking for anything juicy here

DeeDee Tommy

If there is any dirt it is mostly on Dee Dee
There’s the story of 53rd and 3rd, of him accidentally breaking into a laundromat instead of a grocery store, the rocky relationship with Connie, the Dee Dee King phase etc…
But other than that, it is pretty sanitized

I have to go back again to the time period of 1993 and address the fact that an average Ramones fan wouldn’t have had access to much information outside of this book
I have tried to see if there were any other books about The Ramones that dated before “An American Band” but I did not find any (so if you know of any, please tell me)
It sounds like such an old man thing to say “back before the internet” but you only got decent information on bands in 1993 in magazines like SPIN and the underground stuff
Grunge had just caught on and we had not gotten to the “Every Grunge Band agrees that The Ramones Are Important” phase, which means that MTV wasn’t real enthused about The Ramones either
By this time, they had put out “Mondo Bizarro” they may as well have called this one “Adios Amigos” because I pretty much quit buying their albums after that
My last live Ramones show was the Bomb Factory on Sunday March 20th 1994
I still listened to The Ramones on a regular basis but I was on to other things by then

This book is not going to tell you anything that you don’t already know but it is an interesting read nonetheless
I would say it is a novelty read at best

Book 3

 

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My response to the article “Why Road To Ruin is the best Ramones Album”

Here is the original article
Why Road To Ruin Is The Best Ramones Album

There are several factors that the author did not take into consideration
#1- Marky is the new drummer and is light years ahead of Tommy in experience. Keep in mind that Tommy had only played drums for about 4 years. Add to that, he hasn’t had any time to develop any style other than what served the basic needs of The Ramones. Not only did Marky added a lot of dynamics but he gave the band a wider base to write upon.
#2- Johnny has relaxed a bit on his sparse arrangement conditions because they have enough of a back catalog to play headliner length sets. In addition, anything added to the album that could not translate live was basically stripped down to the basic live setup.
#3- Various sources have quoted them as saying that they still wanted to achieve pop status. Their live shows were a solid guarantee of revenue as well as T Shirt sales but they still wanted to put out something that would chart in the top 10. They were confident that their touring fans would tolerate the new pop sheen of the albums because the live versions would be stripped down.

There was no way to tell if the new radio fans would have been able to endure an entire Ramones live show but those are good problems to have.
It seems like Richie was the catalyst for their next pivotal moment. Just goes to show you how important a good drummer really is.
Think about that next time you write off a drummer as a lesser musician.

 

Rocky The Ramone is The One man Tribute Band to the Ramones. Please check him out on FaceBook
https://www.facebook.com/RockyTheRamone/

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