We spoke to the longest-serving drummer in legendary punk band The Ramones
Marky, you’ve had an incredible career with The Ramones. We’re impressed. Yes, 1,700 shows, 10 studio albums, and I’m really the only Ramone member keeping the legacy alive. That’s important to me because I feel the songs are too good not to be played. It’s really a homage to Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee Ramone because I think they died too young to enjoy the fruits of their labour. I get a lot of emails from both older and younger people: the music bridges the generation gap. So why not tour? I enjoy playing, just as long as I do other things. I’m a DJ in America on Sirius/XM radio, which airs throughout the States, and I do other appearances and DJ spots. I have to help deal with the Ramones merchandise, with the drummer Tommy Ramone, who was only in the band three and a half years, but I love him.
We read something about you launching a pasta sauce and a clothing line… The pasta sauce was a concoction I put together because my grandfather was head chef at the Copacabana and 21 Club in New York. As a little boy I would watch him cook. So I brought out Marky Ramone’s Brooklyn’s Own Pasta Sauce. Daniel Boulud, one of the top chefs in the world, even put it on his menu. I couldn’t believe it. As for the clothing line, Tommy Hilfiger has been a friend of mine for 25 years. I remember him just starting out, selling his clothing from the back of his car. He approached me to make a leather jacket, a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, which became a capsule collection. It’s sad because I didn’t get a coat for myself – I gave them all away. But I’ll get one somehow, probably on eBay…
It’ll probably cost you a lot more! What has been your career highlight? The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, for one reason: because The Ramones and punk were overlooked. We were the first punk band inducted, so we were among people like the English invasion, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, The Stones and the original rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard. We were amazed and very grateful to be the first representatives of this kind of music. Finally the world caught up to us!
The Ramones changed music forever. Are there any bands around now that could make a difference? I don’t know if they had the same impact as The Ramones or the Sex Pistols, but Nirvana were great for what they did. There are a lot of bands I like: Gallows, Riverboat Gamblers, Arctic Monkeys.
Finally, what do you make of Dubai? It’s the city of the future. I see things here that I just can’t believe, like the tallest building in the world. I’m amazed at how it is a desert and what has been done to it. Especially the hotels – seven-star hotels are unheard of elsewhere!