The four men who started the Ramones (Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone and Tommy Ramone) were the pioneers of punk rock music when the scene began in New York in the late 1970s. Marky Ramone (born Marc Bell on July 15, 1956) was not in the original band, but replaced original drummer Tommy Ramone in 1978 and played with the band off and on for 15 years and is the sole living member of that lineup. Marky also played in Dust, Estus, Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, and the Misfits. Marky now carries the torch for the Ramones with Marky Ramone’s Blitzkreig, which tours the world playing a 32-song set of Ramones songs. He is also a disc jockey on Sirius/XM satellite radio, hosting Marky Ramone’s Punk Rock Blitzkrieg.
On the current tour, including Irving Plaza tonight, Andrew W.K. is the featured vocalist. While the set was all Ramones, the band did not look or sound like the original band of 35 years ago. For his part, W.K. did not dress like Joey Ramone or affect Joey’s vocal style or reticent stage appearance. W.K.’s proven style has been in leading party rock, and had done so previously several times at the same venue with his own band. He learned the Ramones catalogue and led the charge in his own style, powered by 57-year-old Marky’s powerful and fast drumming. Like the Ramones of years gone, the songs pile-drived one after the other with barely breathing room between songs. W.K. led the quartet through “Rockaway Beach”, “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker”, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”, “Beat on the Brat”, “Rock 'N' Roll High School”, “The KKK Took My Baby Away”, “I Wanna Be Sedated”, “Blitzkrieg Bop” and about 25 more songs in just 90 minutes. It just wasn’t the same without the original band, but it was fun. Yet, for those who never saw or who grieve the loss of this gateway band, this was an opportunity to relive and respond to the early days of punk.
Visit Marky Ramone’s Blitzkreig at www.markyramone.com.