While Andrew was on tour with Marky Ramone in the UK, they took some time to sit down with two always-awesome magazines, “FRONT” and “Metal Hammer” to discuss music, mastery, and magical partying. For the FRONT piece, Andrew and Marky talk about some of their earliest and most favorite musical experiences, and the songs that helped shape their lives. In the METAL HAMMER piece, Andrew gets to interview Marky himself, and ask him about his legendary life as a Ramone and a drummer.
See the actual magazine pages below, and the fully-transcribed text, for easy reading!
Andrew W.K. & Marky Ramone | FRONT Magazine
The world’s greatest drummer and hardest partier have joined forces. Here are the tunes that made them…
Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley
Marky: When I was about nine, ten years old, I was a sci-fi fanatic. I loved monster movies. All the Universal monsters – Frankenstein, Wolfman, the Creature From The Black Lagoon, Dracula, all of them. When I heard Purple People-Eater, about a Martian who lands on Earth and wants to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band, that was the first song that ticked every box and got me going into wanting to play.
Sir Noise D’Voidoffunk by Parliament
Andrew: The first time I heard this I was in the first year of high school. The older brother of a girl I was dating had every Parliament and Funkadelic album, and I was blown away by how heavy but cheerful it was, how creepy and strange sounding and otherworldly. I loved the musicianship, the quantity of musicians involved, but more than anything it was a feeling that the people that made this music wanted me to come to this party they were having. Ever if I was from a different country and a different age with a different background, I felt not only allowed and accepted, but desired and welcomed.
The Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett
M: A songthat really went over the top for me was the Monster Mash. I couldn’t believe the guy had made himself sound so much like Boris Karloff, who played Frankenstein’s monster. It sounded like Boris fronting a rock band.
How Can I Be Sure? by The Young Rascals
A: Growing up in south-east Michigan, all the music on the radio was oldies. All the songs that were playing, I didn’t even know when they were from. I was about six and have no sense of who these people were, what they were singing about, where it was coming from, it just made me feel like I was living in a movie or something. You couldn’t tell if it was a woman or a man, he sang in a high register. Amazing.
I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
M: I watched The Beatles come out for their first time on the Ed Sullivan show. My parents had one TV, and it was in the living room, and we all watched it. That was the moment that put me on the road to ruin. They played I Wanna Hold Your Hand, She Loves You – the greats. My mom got me their first album and I listened to it endlessly.
Pump Up The Volume by M|A|R|R|S
A: I’d never heard music that felt like this. Songs have feelings that go beyond the lyrics and the emotion involved into physical feeling. To think someone could make music that made me feel a way I’d never felt before was exciting to me. The video was in space and I found it terrifying. This song made me feel older than I was, like I had access to another version of myself that was more advanced and had been through more. It was like living someone else’s life.
Be My Baby by The Ronettes
M: This was produced by Phil Spector. I couldn’t believe the quality of it. It was produced on two tracks. I didn’t know that then – I didn’t know about production – but I know it now, and I appreciate it more. That’s what started me off. He had 35, 40 people in the studio when produced that, and what he pulled off is incredible.
Pet Sematary by Ramones
A: This got a lot of airplay after the movie, and it brought Ramones back bigger, and for a lot of my friends it was the first Ramones song they heard. It’s a controversial one to say is your favourite, because it’s a different sound to what they’d had before. It’s surreal to perform it with Marky. It really captures the feeling of the movie – it’s a creepy song that sounds cheerful. It’s also one of the only songs about pets in the history of music.
Take Five by The Dave Brubeck Quartet
M: I love Joe Morello’s drum solo. It’s off beat on the whole song, and the whole song is in 5:4 timing – jazz is another area. Anyone can play in 2:4 and 4:4, but to play 5:4, 6:4 and 7:8 is another game. That was another challenge for me too. It’s using your brain, which I still have some left of now, but back then it was a pure brain.
Masterclass with Andrew W.K. & Marky Ramone | METAL HAMMER
From the birth of punk at CBGB’s to modern hardcore, Marky Ramone has seen it all. Andrew W.K. takes a break from partying to quiz a true punk godfather.
Andrew W.K.: When was the first time that you thought you’d be able to make a living from the drums?
Marky: When I was about 14 at Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. New York (which is where I grew up), in a Jewish centre. They wanted a band to play at their party, so there I was playing the hits of the day with my first band and we got paid $25 each, which was a lot of money in those days.
Andrew: Does it seem like a long time ago since you started out?
Marky: Everything is connected. Everything’s a building block. You start out playing other people’s songs, then you want to do originals, then you start playing with better musicians. You start with high school friends, then say goodbye to them and go to playing with real recording artists. The first band I played in professionally were called Dust. I was 17. We were signed to a major label and we did two albums. We were all still at school but we were one of the first metal bands in America. Black Sabbath hadn’t even hit the shores yet. We weren’t competing, we just liked to play heavy. We toured with Alice Cooper and Uriah Heep so I guess that was my introduction to the world of heavy metal. Then I started hanging round New York a lot more.
Andrew: So what did you do about school?
Marky: Well, that was one of the reasons the band had to split up. Our manager couldn’t handle a teenage heavy metal band – you gotta remember that there weren’t these kind of bands in American back then. My parents said “I want that diploma on the wall.” So I fucked off for about 10 months on tour and then I went to summer school for two months and got the diploma. I thought it was the easiest thing in the world! Jerk around for a year, work for two months, and my parents were happy to see the diploma up there. It was a piece of piss.
Andrew: Growing up in New York is tough. How did you develop a resistance to all the negative stuff?
Marky: I took it all out on the drums. I tried to avoid confrontational situations with other kids but there were always fights “Fuck you!” “Your band sucks!” “You’re never gonna make it!” – not just from peers but from family too. I just said “Fuck this, I’m gonna play longer, better, harder!” That’s what helped me get through it. Then you gotta learn about the business; royalties, publishing, lawyers… or else you’re gonna get ripped off.
Andrew: Did you ever get ripped off? Like, in the early days?
Marky: Never. Ira Herzog was the Ramones’ accountant for 33 years, totally honest, and – these are the things that bands need to understand – once you release an album you’re a product, a commodity. Record labels are a capitalistic society. So you have to have these people there to make sure you run your ship properly.”
Andrew: You also have to be in the right place at the right time. Do you feel like that’s happened to you on many occasions?
Marky: Well maybe. I remember I was living in a basement apartment with concrete floors – you needed a padlock to get into it, no heating, no hot water, always smelled of garbage – and I just thought “I gotta do something” so I started hanging around CBGB’s in ’74/’75, playing with Jane County, who was a transvestite and very extreme for the time… nobody was coming out of the closet back in those days. Are you kidding me?! So we couldn’t get booked anywhere apart from CBGB’s. I loved playing there, but what about the rest of the world? So I started a band with Richard Hell, The Voidoids, and did the Blank Generation album, went on tour with The Clash and then he didn’t wanna tour anymore because he was dope sick. So I joined The Ramones and the rest is history.
Andrew: These days the Ramones are bigger than ever. Does that surprise you?
Marky: Man, who knew? I think we solidified punk, there were other bands with punk elements but we were the fastest, the tightest… we were the only band that jumped around physically. No one else was doing that. I mean, yeah, Iggy did that but he was just the frontman not the whole group… in The Ramones the whole band just wen for the kill. We stuck to our guns and played our style of music, which obviously influence England’s punk scene. Obviously.
Andrew: Well you guys had such commitment to the style and image, as well as the sound!
Marky: And that’s when we saw a lot of bands were copying our style – the sneakers, the pins, counting the songs off, all this stuff. It’s still popular today because it’s still such a great alternative to so much of the shit that’s out there.
Andrew: It’s kind of a punk thing to say punk is dead now/ Did it ever really die?
Marky: Well that’s just media sensationalism. When we got too big to play CBGB’s a lot of the purists didn’t like it and there was a spin put on it that punk was dead. It never went away. We got bigger, Television got bigger, Talking Heads got bigger, Blondie got bigger. We were still there the whole time when that awful LA metal rock like Wasp and Cinderella came out and we hated that. We were just lucky that Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Offspring and Rancid and all those bands came along. it was different to us but it gave us a shot in the arm and re-invigorated us. Yeah, punk might mean something different to a kid these days than it does to me, when I think of punk I think of James Dean and Marlon Brando and the gangs around New York that were so violent back then, but I’m glad people are still using the word.
Andrew: You’re never going to get bored of playing these songs live, right?
Marky: No. I feel the songs are too good not to be played and not it’s more fun than it was back then. This isn’t just a job you know… this is fun.