Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!
by David Lee Beowülf
As most readers of Ink Nineteen know, we've reported on the Ramones for the last seven years (since the magazine's birth). We are proud of this, and I'm quite proud to declare myself a frothing-at-the-mouth Ramones fanatic! Before they disbanded in 1996, after more than twenty years, I would do all I could to see them. Why, I even think my decision to move to New York from Florida was based on my having a better chance to see the Ramones. I even got to work the stage at a show in Melbourne, Florida. Wow! I'm too cool!
Marky Ramone started his own band last year, the Intruders, and so far they have recorded one album of excellent punk rock, the self-titled Marky Ramone and the Intruders. As one should expect, it's nothing but gritty, noisy, "classic" punk rock. I was privileged to interview Marky in March, the day they were doing a show in my own back yard up in Westchester County, New York.
Hi! This is Dave from Ink Nineteen, is Marky Ramone there?
He's still in the shower. Can you call back in twenty minutes?
[Twenty Minutes Later... ] Hello?
Hi! This is Dave from Ink Nineteen, may I please speak with Marky Ramone?
Yeah, this is Marky Ramone. I'm alright, I just kind of woke up. We did a show last night in Virginia and we got home [Queens, New York City] after six in the morning.
Aren't you used to that, being a rock and roll star?
Kinda, but we started at the spur of the moment. It wasn't really planned.
Marky, I consider it a great honor being able to speak with you. I must confess I first heard of the Ramones in 1978, twenty years ago, when I was 14. I've been hooked ever since. Really hooked. Boy, am I hooked. Anyway...
Thank you. Uh-oh, you can come to my house, I have a rehab.
How long have you been playing together as Marky Ramone and the Intruders? Who are the Intruders? Who are these guys?
The Ramones broke up in August of 1996, after Lollapalooza. Me and Johnny and Joey talked about it, and we knew that the band was going to break up. I figured that I would write some songs, record the album before Lollapalooza, and then wait, give some time after the Ramones broke up to start playing with the Intruders. So the band's been together for about a year and a half. The first shows we played were with the Sex Pistols in South America, and then here on their reunion tour as well. Then we did some shows in Europe with us headlining, then we did some shows with Marilyn Manson, then the Descendents, then we came back and now we're on tour with the Misfits, who are great friends of ours, who asked us to tour with them on their East Coast tour. We did the club circuit here in New York and here we are with the Misfits! In August we'll be on the Warped tour. Now, my first singer, Skinny Bones, had a drug problem so we had to throw him out of the group, we're a three piece now.
Skinny Bones was the Intruders' singer. Who's singing now?
My guitar player, Ben Trokan. He's better, he'll be on the second album, (which may be produced by Lars from Rancid). What can you do? The guy was doing a habitual drug and it interfered with the band, but everything else has been great. We've done over 100 shows with the guy who replaced Skinny, and it's been really cool. We've been on the current tour for four weeks. We just did the whole south, you name the state, we were there. We played the House of Blues in Orlando. Tonight's [show in Port Chester, New York] going to be really good. We're gonna do a Southern American tour, headlining on our own, after Warped as well.
The new songs hit some powerful subjects, like "Man of God" and "Coward with a Gun." What went into those songs? You seem to like South America, is the subject of "3 Cheers for You." Do they have good radio there?
Yep. They do, They're really into punk, they're into new stuff; they have really great radio in South America. They really have a thing for the Ramones, the Pistols, Rancid, Green Day; they love Kiss and Mötörhead. Their tastes in a lot of ways are really way ahead of a lot of other places. They like a lot of the cooler newer stuff.
I wrote the songs with two friends of mine. I hummed the music to, at the time, Skinny, and then he wrote down the music that I hummed to him. That's how I do a song, I'll come up with the words and then hum the music to the guitar player, then they'll write the music to it.
How come the Ramones aren't played 24 hours a day on classic rock radio?
Well, the Ramones albums are selling more now then they did when we were together! It's something I still don't understand.
See, kids who were kids then, finally have money...
... and they can pay for the albums now! [Laughter.] Rhino recently bought out the Warner/Sire catalogue and they're going to reissue all the classic Ramones albums. I'm coming out with my own video, too. The second Ramones video, We're Outta Here, is mostly my footage, and now an hour of my own stuff will come out.
A Ramones box set. ... I need it!
Me and Dee Dee just did an album together with Daniel Rey, who produced all the classic Ramones albums, called Zonked. Dee Dee wrote all the songs and his wife sings all the songs and she sounds like Nico from the Velvet Underground! She sounds great!
Do you find that the people coming to see you are older, younger, or mixed? Have you met a lot of younger, that is, teenaged, Ramones fans? Have you met any really old fans? I turn 35 on Saturday, and I can't imagine myself NOT going to see punk rock shows, ever.
The Ramones fans at Lollapalooza were anywhere from 14 to 19, and Intruders fans are that young, too. You see the older Ramones fans who are curious, and want to see what you're up to. I'm really the only Ramone out there touring.
Are there any Intruders fans, say, older than 60?
60? Not, no, my parents show up sometimes, they're 66! They come once in a while, and the Misfits' parents. It's pretty cool. Well, it's a whole new audience out there. You're going to have young kids who want to go out, older people should go out but they stay home! The album has been out for a year, and the Ramones fans are finally picking up on it through word of mouth, and they buy the CD and check us out. The tour's mostly been Misfits fans, but a lot of them are curiosity seekers, and they put you under a microscope: they're scrutinizing you, they want to see what you're about, and they give you a chance. There's no booing, there's no calls for Ramones' songs, and they like what they hear.
This is respect for who you are. You deserve that kind of respect!
Thanks! I know, but you have to understand they are the headliners and they're giving you a chance to see how your going to come off, which is something I really appreciate.
You have a serious in with Howard Stern, who seems to be the only thing on K-Rock of substance. Speaking of that, the day of the Misfits/GWAR show back in October at Roseland, where you and Joey made a surprise stage appearance with the Misfits, you were on Howard Stern and patched things up with Joey. What was the story behind that? When the two of you took the stage, I realized I was witnessing a great event in history!
Joey patched things up with me. Well, we were supposed to do a [Ramones] show in South America for our last hurrah, and Joey, to spite John, who married his girlfriend, wanted to be vindictive and said, 'no, I don't wanna do it.' That would've been a good thing to do, like icing on the cake, 'coz it would've been a lot of money, and these days it's nice to have a few bucks in your pocket... And he didn't want to do it, and he forgot who his friends were, like me, Monte, Cee Jay, Dee Dee, Aurturo. If he would've went there it would've been a nice ending for the band. He was heard my album and he was upset because he wanted me to form a band with him, but I didn't want to play in his band, I wanted to have my own band and he got pissed off about that and we were all kind of pissed off that he didn't do the South America thing, and so then we stopped talking for a while. We jammed with the Misfits at Roseland and everything worked out. Howard likes to create a lot of tension. I love Howard, and we had a little feuding there, and I wish Joey all the luck. He's a very good singer and time moves on.
My own opinion is that Justice demands that the Ramones have their own cable station, radio station and everything. How about action figures?
For the Ramones? No, but that would be nice... "GI Marky" instead of "GI Joe." We were on the Simpsons...
That's two cartoons, the Spiderman video and the Simpsons...
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame looks almost definite, but you gotta see it to believe it. We got the vibe. There's a panel that votes... who knows who they are? I have no idea. We have our own area, though, they have my drumsticks, my sneakers, my dungarees and it's all signed. They called and asked if I had anything and I said, "yeah."
But you don't walk around naked, you have other clothes, right?
Ahhh, yeah, these were from like 20 years ago, they're authentic! Don't miss tonight's show. It's going to be special, I'm gonna sing a surprise song myself!
Argh! And I missed the Port Chester show because my car exploded! So it's still a surprise! Regardless, The Intruders opens a new door in rock and roll history as Marky, the only touring Ramone, is starting all over again, with a small punk band, beating out more great punk rock! If you don't have the Intruders' first album, you should pick it up, and man, I can't wait for that boxed set. That way I won't have to dig out my albums and find a decent turntable...