One day in 1978, a friend asked drummer Marc Bell if he would be interested in leaving the band he was in to join another.
That friend was Dee Dee Ramone, whose band, The Ramones, supplied hits like "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Blitzkrieg Bop."
That day, Bell became Marky Ramone.
Marky Ramone, one of the few surviving members of punk legends The Ramones, will play with his band, Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg, at Aldo’s Lounge in?Altoona as part of an East Coast tour.
Now, as one of the only surviving members of the band, he will bring a 30-song Ramones set and several originals when his band, Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg, plays at 8 p.m. Sunday at Aldo's Lounge in Altoona as part of an East Coast tour.
We caught up with Marky Ramone to ask what it's like to bring classic Ramones songs to both longtime fans and a whole new audience.
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If you go
What: Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg with opening acts Railroad City Murder Machine, X's for Eyes and The Whatleys
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Aldo's Lounge, 623 N. Fourth Ave., Juniata
Details: $20 in advance, $24 at the door. Available at Aldo's, open every day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ages 21 and over only.
For more information, call 943-9907
What went through your head that day Dee Dee Ramone asked you to join the band? You had already been in several established bands, but do you ever muse about how different your life would have been if that hadn't happened?
"I have no idea, but it was an unbelievable opportunity. I knew them before I joined the group, and I stayed with them for 15 years, 1,700 shows and 10 studio albums. It was just amazing, getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, winning a Grammy and best of all being on "The Simpsons" (laughs). That was great. To this day, fans all over the world still love The Ramones."
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What has helped you to continue playing Ramones music with Marky Ramones' Blitzkrieg?
"It's the songs, they're too good not to be played. We did start punk rock. It really relates to youth, the lyrical content and the energy that we have on stage. So, it just continues to this day. I see it, and I'm very happy to continue keeping the legacy alive."
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The band has released a few original songs also. What is the writing process like for the band, and what things are inspiring to you in modern times?
"Things never change, it's still the same. A lot of people have the same frustrations and anxieties. They have to figure out what they're going to do for their jobs. War is still going on. Technology changes, but not people. So my inspiration today is basically the same thing that's been going on since we started out. The only difference is people have cell phones now (laughs). ... I'm not into making albums now, just good singles. Then when I have 15 or 16 songs, I'll make a compilation. I don't want to have just album filler, I want to make sure all of the songs are good."
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Who do you find coming out to Blitzkrieg shows? Do you think the band is helping cultivate a new, young generation of Ramones and punk rock [fans]?
"[We see] Ramones fans, the younger fans, older fans. It's funny, parents bring their kids, and both like the Ramones. It's really great to see that it closes the generation gap."
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Tell me why you signed on Michale Graves [formerly of The Misfits] as the frontman for Marky Ramones' Blitzkrieg. What do you think longtime Ramones fans enjoy about seeing him perform the material?
"He has experience, and he's a really good singer. That's what matters to me, and he does it his own way. He doesn't copy Joey Ramone. I like the way he delivers the song, and he has a good stage presence. I'm very happy he's able to do that."
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Do you think the band exudes the same live energy that The Ramones became known for?
"Definitely. We do it differently, but we stick to the formula. I don't think doing anything different would be a good idea, because the fans want to hear basically what was on the album in the live stuff. There is no reason to do anything differently."
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Over the course of its history, the Ramones had some controversy that surrounded the band. Does Marky Ramones' Blitzkrieg get along?
"We get along so well, and that's really important. The Ramones were like a family. We had our differences at times, but it was 90 percent good and 10 percent what a family would go through."
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What's in the future for the band? Will you continue to tour at such a grueling pace?
"We just did an Asian tour, we did a whole thing in Spain, Italy, Germany, and now we're going to do a few shows on the East Coast. You get used to it. It's something I always wanted to do. I want to see the world, and I really enjoy it. It's something I always wanted to do when I was a kid, and it's better than doing nothing."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520