– every year we endure the Grammys and every year a not insignificant number of people are outraged when the awards fly wildly off target, as if this ceremony has ever accurately reflected anything
– theories abound that Beck’s Album of The Year win last night was the voting body’s mea culpa for snubbing his genius work Odelay! nearly two decades ago; there should just be a category called “Oops!” wherein they grant themselves the opportunity to reverse decisions from years past
– I think we all appreciate Kanye going through the motions for us
– wouldn’t it be great if all this lead to a Beck/Beyoncé collaboration?
– Beck: Scientologist; Beyoncé: Illuminati demigod; they each have five Grammys now, so let’s end this pointless conflict and get back to uncovering the evidence that will prove Lorde is actually in her late forties
If you’ve ever caught an interview with Marky Ramone you know he tends to sound a little rehearsed, like he has stock answers he’d prefer to substitute for in-the-moment emotion. Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As A Ramone reads a lot like that. It’s less heated than Johnny’s Commando or any of Dee Dee’s volumes, working hard to cram in the most superfluous exposition (OMG, we know what the fucking Berlin Wall was). That said, our self-proclaimed Chicken Beak Boy manages to add a tiny bit of fresh perspective to the Ramones legend while additionally owning up to his own bonkers alcoholism.
Granted, it’s frustrating the drummer can be so candid about substance abuse while ignoring more interesting bits of his mythology, but I suppose only a fool would have expected a chapter devoted to Mark’s alleged wig wearing. There are also several points where it’s not difficult to read between the lines. Die-hards are familiar with the drama between Marky and C.J. and in this tome the former damns the latter with faint praise, mostly saluting his attitude while offering no adjective above “good” to describe the bassist’s playing. Even more telling: there’s no reference to the half decade Mark spent drumming for the Misfits.
Punk Rock Blitzkrieg covers well-worn ground in regard to the founding “bruddahs”: Johnny was fervently right wing, Joey was severely OCD, Dee Dee never met a pill he didn’t like, Tommy was sensitive. Even the author’s struggles with the bottle have been tackled to varying degrees elsewhere. If there’s any revelation in PR Blitzkrieg it’s Marky’s admission that he believes Phil Spector to be innocent of Lana Clarkson’s 2003 murder. Give him credit for sticking by his pal.
The most fascinating stuff in the book comes before Mark’s time in the Ramones, when he bounced from power trio Dust to country rockers Estus (major label ding dongs who owned a swank mansion in upstate New York) before landing in Richard Hell’s Voidoids. The Voidoids were mastering their debut album the night of the 1977 New York City blackout. On his way home, Mark decided it was time to get his; he picked up a trash can and attempted to hurl it through a bank window. The can bounced off the plexiglass like a Nerf football. Inside, a security guard smiled and waved.
Other interesting snippets: Steven Tyler was nice to the Ramones back in the day, Sting wasn’t, Dee Dee’s rap career was just as much about annoying the other Ramones as it was about a love for hip hop, Marky has a twin brother named Fred, Marky likes the Circle Jerks.
Punk Rock Blitzkrieg summed up in one line: probably the one on the last page where Marky expresses satisfaction with his career because both the Pope and Obama are Ramones fans. I’ve never seen Barack in a Mondo Bizarro t-shirt but I’m happy to take the Chicken Beak’s word.
I’ve been taken with Blank Generation by Richard Hell & the Voidoids for seventeen years, since I first heard it freshman year of college. It’s romantic and imaginative and jazzy and poetic without being dreadful or pretentious. I often struggle with the fact so many consider it an esoteric work; to me it’s just as accessible as anything by Elvis Costello or Radiohead.
Then I remember every time I’ve put on Blank Generation with the sincere hope of converting someone only to watch their face contort in confusion in response to the opening song.
“Are they saying ‘hot dogs in space?'”
No…but they may as well be.
By the way, I just finished reading Richard Hell’s autobiography, I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp. Some interesting nuggets in there. Did you know Johnny Thunders supported Jesse Jackson for president? What a campaign rally that would have been.
Something I forgot to mention (because I forgot it happened) in last year’s paragraphs about the time I saw Iggy Pop: a few songs into Ig’s set, a very gangly teen jumped onto the stage from the second floor balcony. He landed on his feet and managed to stay upright, but you could see from the way he staggered that something had twisted the wrong way. He was also dressed like J-Roc from “Trailer Park Boys.” Super baggy everything, and I think a visor worn upside down and askew (maybe it was just a backwards cap).
Security wasted no time moving in to clobber this kid. It’s the House of Blues, they don’t tolerate this kind of tomfoolery. The bruisers were moments away from steamrolling Kid Jumper when Iggy raised his hand to halt them.
“Hang on!” Pop grumbled into the mic, a sly grin stretched across his mug. “Let’s see what he can do!”
The audience cheered and the kid’s face lit up. Unfortunately his injury or injuries prevented serious shimmying. The Jumper just waved his arms for a few seconds while Iggy’s band pounded away. After that, If memory serves, Ig gave him a high-five and let him hobble off stage.
It was, to steal a phrase from Mikhail Gorbachev, pretty fucking cool. Thanks to Jon C. for unearthing this memory.
You’ve listened to the entire first season of the “Yaxzon Jackson” podcast, now literally watch myself, Rollie Hatch, C. LeMar McLean, and Kirk Howle spin our wheels on Dangerous one last time. What are our final thoughts on this album? What does Kirk actually know about college football? How many Jerry Mathers jokes can we get through before we spit up on ourselves like stupid babies? Click play and find out.
Beloved Letterman sidekick Calvert DeForest and the members of Nine Inch Nails circa 1994. DeForest gave the band a memorable introduction at that year’s Woodstock: “Ladies and gentlemen, punch your balls off and please welcome Nine Inch Nails!”