Marky Ramone's Exclusive Interview with JFX


The always cool Marky Ramone took a few minutes out of his busy day to give Toxic Teddie's inventor JFX an exclusive interview in his Brooklyn home.

JFX: So, Marky, the first question I have is ; you have been all over the world and
here you are in good old Brooklyn, USA. What is it about Brooklyn? How come you
haven’t gone all “Joe Hollywood”?

Marky: I’m just not into that. I’m not into the whole rockstar thing. I’ve lived
here all my life. The Ramones are a New York band, all of my friends are here, my
relatives and family. I don’t have to impress anybody, you know? I’m not out to be
like some rich rockstar, showing off. I like my friends and the people in my life
to be regular people.

JFX: So you don’t go for the Hollywood stuff?

Marky: I’m just not into the glitz. I’d rather hang out with a guy I can build a
car with then hang out with a guy who’s going to go to a club and show off and say
he’s some kind of rockstar or something. You know, I don’t want to hear about his
money, cars, mansion, his girlfriends or the drugs he takes because I don’t do that
shit. I find my friends who are not in the business a lot cooler.

JFX: That’s pretty cool, man. So what do you do on a normal day? Just an ordinary
day, do you cook or anything like that?

Marky: No, no, I like to eat (laughs), it’s one of my only vices. And I’ll list
songs for my new radio show on Serious Satellite Radio, my own show on Faction
Channel 28, Tuesday nights at eight o’clock. Then I’ll play the drums for about an
hour. Then maybe I’ll go out somewhere to eat at night with a friend or my wife.
I’ve been married for 22 years. Then I don’t know, I might buy an old car and fix
it up from scratch with a friend of mine out in the Bronx. He has a semi shop with
a lift in it there and we like to tear cars apart and rebuild them.

JFX: You do body work and all that stuff?

Marky: Yeah, everything. Everything and anything. So that’s what I enjoy doing,
things like that. When I’m not doing music I like to work on cars and do you know,
normal things.

Could you tell me about you radio show? How did it come
to be? How did you become a DJ, what gave you the idea and initiative?

Marky: Tony Hawk, a famous skateboarder asked me to come to his show to do an
interview with him.

He has a show in New York?

Marky: He has a show on Sirius Radio too. He heard me on the Howard Stern Show a
few times and he said “ya know, you can really talk”, well yeah of course I can
talk. So he had me on his show, he’s a great guy. They liked me on his show and
they asked me if maybe I could possibly put a show together. I asked of what?
(laughs). You know, I play the drums, I do the Ramones productions and stuff like
that. Also I’m writing my book, so I had to ask myself if I had time to so this and
think it over very seriously because it takes a lot of commitment. So I said yes. I
wouldn’t have said yes if I couldn’t do it. You’ve got to pick out a play list each
week. You’ve got to know when your breaks are going to be. You’ve got to check
emails and voicemails and then you have to go live. Eventually I can tape. Say I
want to do some shows in LA or South America or Japan for two or three weeks, I can
tape the shows and play them on the radio station.

JFX: And then you go out on tour.

Marky: Yeah and then I come back and I do the radio shows live again. As long as I do more
live shows than taped shows, I'm happy. The first four I just did, and this is October 26th,
so the show is brand new. I’ve done four shows and the response has been overwhelming.
It’s hard to get to all of the voicemails at the radio station because there’s just
so many and when you get there you have to be pumped up to go on. So what they’re
going to do is break the voicemails and the emails down so they can send them back to me here to make things a lot easier. I play lots of punk rock. I believe that there were a
lot of bands coming up that deserved to be played and they weren’t. Guys who worked
hard, spent all their money recording and then they got shafted.

JFX: Any in particular that were your favorite?

Marky: Well, you know when the Ramones came out we didn’t even get played. Now
we’re played in stadiums, I Wanna Be Sedated, Blitzkrieg Bop, you know , all that
stuff. Then there’s bands like The Heartbreakers, my friends who I still miss. The
Dolls with David Johansen, who deserved more credit and should have been played more
when they came out. Just bands that I feel deserve to be heard, whether it’s on
cable radio like Sirius, or anywhere really. There’s just so much crap out there
now it’s all just a copy of a copy of a copy. There’s really no substance anymore.
.When you look at bands like the Dolls or the Ramones, The Clash or The Pistols, there’s no one like them. They’re the real deal. Green Day’s great, Rancid’s great, so you’ve got the newer punk bands holding up the mantle, which is good.

JFX: Do you listen to Social Distortion?

Marky: Yeah, they’re great too. I played them last night. You know, bands like X
from California, Bad Religion, The Germs, Fear, Blondie, Talking Heads. There’s a
lot of things people did on their own too. So that’s what I’m going to be
dedicating my two hour show to.

JFX: Awesome, I’m going to have to get Sirius Radio.

Marky: That’s the way to go. I mean once you get it, that’s it because you don’t
want to hear commercials for five to eight minutes anymore and you pick your own
songs. I have a pretty good idea of the punk rock scene, I’ve been in it since ‘74
when it started in New York at CBGBs. So I kind of have a pretty good touch on it.

JFX: After the huge success of the Ramones Raw do you plan on doing a sequel or a
special edition with some of the excluded material such as the Jerry Lewis telethon
performance for example?

Marky: I could do another Raw , I have enough material, but will it be as good as the first one,
because that’s the cream of the crop. Some things, like the telethon, couldn’t be
used for commercial use. But I think the show from Italy was great. I think out of
the three hours of footage, visually it’s a five hour DVD if you put it all together
with the commentary from me and Johnny Ramone talking over it. I think there’s so
much stuff in there that it’s really enough, that’s it. Plus the End Of The Century
was a little depressing. It was a documentary more from the directors point of view
of what he thought and what he gathered. The Ramones were fun, I really enjoyed
being a part of it and sure, there were a lot of crazy bad times but that’s life.
Life hits you with a lot of curves so you have your problems. You deal with them.
I had to leave the band or, well, get thrown out for three and a half years because
I was drinking too much. Dee Dee was doing too much dope and drinking, Joey was doing too much coke and drinking too much. A lot of that shit effects you.
At the end I straightened out, I came back a second time to the Ramones. But
that’s what End of the Century was about, the darker side. Raw was the lighter,
funnier side. We tried to throw a lot of funny stuff in there.

JFX: You guys looked like you were having a lot of fun.

Marky: We were, most times, like anything else ; I know a lot of guys, even
construction workers who don’t get along and some do. I know cops who don’t get
along with each other but some do.

JFX: When you’re with someone twenty four hours a day you might get a little
tired of them.

Marky: You know what that’s called? Office politics! But when we played that’s
what was most important and we left all the bullshit off the stage.

JFX: I’ve seen you guys about fifteen times and it was awesome every time.

Marky: You saw us with Dee Dee?

JFX: I saw you with Dee Dee too. I think the first show I saw you guys was 1987 or

Yeah, and Dee Dee left in ‘89 when he was forming that Dee Dee King thing.
There are some good songs on that album.

Are there? I never heard it.

Yeah, there are. We should have used some of those songs for the Ramones
albums. But he contributed out of the band while he was a writer so there was still
an element of Dee Dee in the band even when he was out of the group. So that was

JFX: Now I know you have your own band and you do touring and stuff but I was
wondering if you ever considered putting something together like you did with Dee
Dee with the Remains, maybe with CJ and someone else from the Ramones camp like
Daniel Ray or something just as a thought to put some Ramones songs out there?

CJ has kids, I don’t think he can tour. He’s a family man now, which is
cool. Daniel is a producer, he’s not really a touring kind of guy. I have a band
with three guys that love to tour, love to play and they’re able to. We do Ramones
songs. I get emails from 16 and 17 years old kids asking me to come out and do the
Ramones songs. When the band retired in ‘96 it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I
wanted to do my own stuff but then I realized that coming from the Ramones, that’s a
pretty heavy menu. The kids just really wanted to hear the Ramones songs, I
understand that. I mean, how far can a drummer really go doing original material.
A lead singer or guitar player yeah, that’s different, but I don’t sing, I play
drums. So I figured what am I known for best, what do the kids want to hear? Me,
playing Ramones songs and being one of the Ramones. So I got a band together with
some guys, they’re not rock star types, they’re not into the ego shit. They’re from
Cleveland, Ohio, near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were always fans of the
Ramones, very dedicated. We’re going to play in LA on the 29th with Suicidal
Tendencies, Fear and the new Germs. They asked us to come out there as East Coast
representation. So we’re going to start playing around and the beauty of it is
that it’s when I want to not because I have to. That’s the difference, I don’t
have to tour anymore but when I want to tour, when I get the bug, the itch, I will.

JFX: When you can’t sit still?

Marky: When you sit still you die. That’s the truth. I went on vacation at this
place to get away but then I had nothing to do. I was getting antsy so I said what
the fuck am I doing here? I figured just let me go home.

JFX: I’m like that too. After three days I’m done, I want to go home. So I see
looking around your place that you’re a collector, you love collecting. You’ve got
old sci-fi stuff here.

Marky: Yeah, I’ve got 300 robots, these are just some of them. The other ones I
have are in storage and downstairs. Here’s the Hall of Fame statue, the MTV award
and here’s the original Robby the Robot from 1954. And these are the replicas, they’re
very collectible too. Oh, and get a view of that!, that’s the outside of Markys’

JFX: That’s the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge, very nice. I can see why
you still like living here. So what made you like the Toxic Teddies enough to want
them as Ramone figures, did you think they were funny?

Marky: Well they look like a hand made them, not just a machine. It was thought
out well and I like it, they’re cute, kids will love them. When I was about nine or
ten, the Beatles came out and if I had seen this at that age in Beatle form I would
have definitely bought them. I find I like the background with the Marshal amps,
the logo and the hall of fame stuff, that’s pretty cool.

JFX: Did you think that the series of the Toxic Teddies were in the spirit of the

Marky: Yeah, definitely, and these look very similar, there’s definitely something

JFX: Do you think the guys would have gotten a kick out of them, Joey, Dee Dee and

Marky: I think Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee would have had them on their shelves.
Unfortunately they aren’t around to see this. But knowing them for the thirty years
that I knew them, I know they would have loved it. It’s unfortunate that all this
stuff is coming out now. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about
them. Whether it’s a song that comes on or I see a picture, there’s always
something. But Tommy and I are grateful that all of this stuff is happening and
we’re going to just keep at it. We have Ramones leather jackets coming out soon.
They’re beautiful, I saw one yesterday. Nice leather, great quality.

JFX: During your career with the Ramones, aside from being inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame, was there any particular highlight that sticks out where you
could say “wow, we’ve made it”?

Marky: (Laughs) Yeah, when we got out of CBGBs and started touring the world.
CBGBs is a great place to play when you’re starting out but if you only stay in
clubs like that you’re going to die. You’ve got to move onto bigger places to get
to more people. Once we realized that people were starting to like us, we got a
pretty big following. The fans were everything to me, when they came to our shows,
that’s when I knew we had arrived.

JFX: Speaking of fans, how do the fans react to you when they see you on the street?

Marky: They say : “Hey Marky, how ya doing, let me take a photo with you”. I don’t
really even like to use the word fan, I prefer friend of the Ramones. But if he
wants to get an autograph or a photo of course, why not? You take out a pen and
sign, what’s the big fucking deal? You’ve got these guys that don’t want to do it
too. One time this guy, I’m not going to name names, but the guy was a rock star
and a man and his baby approached him and the guy said, "fuck you and your baby".
(Laughs) I would have hit the guy in the mouth, I don’t give a fuck who he was. But
I think it’s wrong to come off like you think you’re better than anyone else.

JFX I heard there’s going to be a bio like one of those VH1 movies, I don’t know if it’s
actually VH1, but it’s about the story of the Ramones played with actors.


Marky: Well, there was interest from a producer in Hollywood who’s well known and I
think he’s going to wait for my book to come out. That way he can pool everything
together , Montys book, Jim Bessmans book, my book and I guess my book will be the
most comprehensive because I was in the band. Dee Dee's books are good, but they’re
kind of fantasy. Because he’s a great writer, there’s a definite element of fantasy
there. Where as my book is going to be real and to the point and that’s that.

JFX: How long have you been working on the book now?

Marky: Two years. It’s going to be thick. All about from the beginning to now.
So the guy is in California and he knows everything about the Ramones but maybe
lacking about 20%. That’s why he has to talk to me and Tommy. Tommy to talk about
the beginning and me to talk about ‘78 on. But knowing the producer it should
definitely be a great movie.

JFX: Very good, I’m really looking forward to that. I don’t want to take up any
more of your time so thank you very much Marky.

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