Go Away With … Marky Ramone

Marky Ramone

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
May 19, 2015

Best known as the drummer for the punk rock band, The Ramones, Marky Ramone saw a good chunk of the world, thanks to the group’s touring schedule. “I loved being in that group,” says Ramone. Of the first overseas trip he made with the Ramones in 1976, he says, “We were with Richard Hell and toured with the Clash. It was great. London was everything that I had thought it would be. It was like what we had seen on TV, postcards and the movies.”

Born and raised in Brooklyn, where he still resides, he is also the creator of Marky Ramone’s Brooklyn’s Own Pasta Sauce, which donates part of the proceeds to benefit Autism Speaks. Currently on tour, the musician writes about his time with the iconic band in his memoir, “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone” (Touchstone, $28). For more information, check out his website at  or follow him on Twitter.

Q. The saying goes that Cleveland Rocks. In your opinion, which city has the best live music scene?

A. At this moment, I would say Brooklyn. It’s just a thriving scene of people from other states that move there. There’s a neighborhood called Williamsburg and there are a lot of hipsters that play in coffeehouses and things like that. It’s a very cool place.

Q. When you go to hear bands there, can you just blend in?

A. (Laughs) Not usually. I only stay for a little bit and then I leave because if word gets out, it can be a little rude to the bands playing. You have to be cool with your fans and it’s nice to talk to them. But you don’t want to be a distraction from the band that’s playing, either. It’s their moment.

Q. What kind of souvenirs do you buy on the road?

A. I like knick knacks and T-shirts. Stuff like that. A fan once gave me an oil painting of myself. I couldn’t believe he had taken that much effort and time to do that. It was very cool.

Q. Which cities have the most vocal fans?

A. New York. Los Angeles. Tokyo. London! To be honest, I think our fans were just great everywhere.

Q. Of all the places you’ve been, where would you go back to in a heartbeat?

A. We’ve played in Argentina and Brazil. San Paolo and Rio were amazing. Hong Kong and Dubai are unbelievable. I was just there to play last year with my group. We played in Vietnam, which was pretty cool.

Q. Are you an adventurous eater?

A. I like to experiment! If I’m in a new place and I have to play that night, I’d rather eat something I’m familiar with that I see on the menu. You really have to take care of yourself when you’re on the road, with all the flying. But on days off, it’s fun to experiment.

Q. What do you like to do on vacations?

A. I just chill out and watch TV and movies and go out at night to nice restaurants. I really enjoy that.

Q. What are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. I like to bike ride a lot just around where I live in Brooklyn Heights. It’s easy to overlook things in your own neighborhood. It’s nice to stay close to home sometimes. People sometimes ask if I want to go to Connecticut or someplace close like that. But after you’ve been to London, Paris, Rome and Venice, Connecticut can wait a little longer. I’ve been there so many times that when I come home from a tour, I want to just relax.

Q. What kind of trips did you take when you were a kid?

A. The first big trip that I remember was going from the East Coast to the West Coast with my parents. They owned a VW camper and we went cross-country. I was about 11 and had fun. My parents liked the outdoors a lot.

Q. How do you occupy your time at the airport?

A. I like to listen to books I’ve put down on my iPhone. I like to doodle and read. I take a lot of notes. I’ve kept notes for 35 years. My memory serves me very well, but I relied on those notes when I wrote my book over these past five years. I wanted to make it as comprehensive and truthful as possible.

Q. If you have to move away from your current home, where would you live?

A. I could live in London, Or Quogue in Long Island. I’m an East Coast kind of guy, so I could never move to California.

Q. What is on your travel bucket list?

A. I would love to go to Egypt one day and see the pyramids and the Sphinx.

Q. Do you take a lot of pictures on your trips?

A. Yes! I have the largest Ramones video library in the world!

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. London and Paris. I like Berlin a lot. Hong Kong was really cool. And Madrid!

Q. Do you have a gift for languages?

A. Nope! As many countries as I’ve been to, I usually have to have an interpreter.

Q. What are some of your tried-and-true travel tips?

A. Try to get some magazines, go into the lounges that are available and just chill out with some tea or coffee and read that book you’ve been meaning to read. Then get to the gate in plenty of time. That’s it. (Laughs)

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. I usually wait until after a tour actually. But when I get back home, I’ll pick three Ben and Jerry’s ice creams and just have my choice.


© 2015 JAE-HA KIM


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