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Marky Ramone Talks About His Blitzkrieg Featuring Andrew W.K.

By Casey Moffitt in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 4, 2013 4:00PM

Photo by Bob Gruen

Marky Ramone spent 15 years behind the drum kit for the legendary punk band Ramones, playing more than 1,700 shows and recording 10 studio albums with the act. He continues to carry the torch for the band's music as he brings Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg to the Metro Tuesday night.

By all accounts, the show will look familiar to those who saw the Ramones perform before they retired in 1997. Marky said he has personally selected 35 Ramones tunes that will be played during Tuesday's set.

What will look very different is the fact Andrew W.K. will front the band. Ramone said W.K.'s personality brings a different nuance to the show.

"Andrew's got a certain excitement about him and he really engages the crowd," Ramone explained. "He's got his own style and his own image. He's not a clone in any way."

W.K. is nearly the polar opposite as a performer than late Ramones frontman, Joey Ramone. Where W.K. flails about the stage, throwing fists in the air and barking orders at the crowd, Joey Ramone had a far more subdued approach on stage. He still exuded charisma and confidence through his gangly frame, but did it with little talk and just a few tasteful stage moves.

"No one is going to be Joey," Marky Ramone said. "People are different and they all have their own deliveries. Andrew is from another generation, and we're going to give him every opportunity to do his thing."

Ramone said hiring W.K. to be his frontman was easy. Ramone was looking for a singer when a mutual friend suggested W.K. for the gig. The pair met for dinner to talk about the project and they decided to give it try.

"We set a rehearsal time and I gave him the set list," Ramone said. "He worked very hard before that first rehearsal and he impressed me right away. We breezed through the whole set in about an hour and 20 minutes. I thought it was very admirable for him to invest his time and get all the songs right."

The current line-up toured 12 countries through Europe this past spring, and Ramone said he thinks U.S. audiences are going to enjoy themselves at the show. "Andrew does such a great job," he said. "Everybody leaves smiling. Even I do. After the set, I walk off the stage and I'm smiling."

Still, Ramone warned it will never be like seeing the Ramones.

"There is no way we're going to compete," he explained. "We do have a high energy level. We do it in an ultra-professional way, and there will be no disappointments." Those who never witnessed the Ramones live missed a truly great rock'n'roll show. The band would barrage an audience with more than 30 tunes at breakneck tempos, ear-splitting volumes and be done with the show not long after an hour's time. It was a wicked display of fury, speed and stamina.

The Ramones continue to be a major influence on young musicians, which is part of the reason why Marky Ramone continues to perform the songs live.

"Now, there's a lot of people who just are too young to have seen the Ramones. I look out into the crowds, I see younger people and older people mixing together out there," he said. "Plus, these songs are just too good not to be played."

Marky Ramones's Blitzkrieg hits eight U.S. cities during the tour, and will continue for three more in the United Kingdom. It caps a busy year for Marky Ramone, who moonlights as a radio personality on Sirius/XM. He also made stage appearances with Fall Out Boy and The Offsping this past summer. In the spring, Sony Legacy remixed, remastered and reissued both Dust albums— the self-titled debut from 1971 and Hard Attack from 1972—upon which Ramone appears under the name Marc Bell.

"Dust was one of the first American heavy metal bands," Ramone insisted. "There were bands in America doing loud music at the time, like Blue Cheer and Mountain, but you could count them on one hand."

Ramone was 16 years old when he joined Dust, and he said he enjoyed listening to the old tracks again.

"To play the way we did at that age, it still amazes me," he said. "We made the two albums, but we were too young to tour. We were still in high school and our parents wanted us to get our diplomas - which I went to both summer school and night school to get."

Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg plays October 8 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark Street, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave, 8:30 p.m., $25, 18+ 21+