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In 1972 my first band DUST broke up. It was a 3 piece heavy rock band. We did 2 LPs. I started playing at the age of 12. I liked Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker and of course Hal Blaine from Phil Spector's studio band who had more hit records than any other drummer. So after DUST broke up I was already technically advanced and could do and Keith Moon drum fill or any Mitch Mitchell drum roll etc.
In 1971 I started hanging out at a club called NOBODY'S on Bleeker Street. This is where I met Johnny Thunders & Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls. The New York Scene was just beginning. Then unfortunately Billy Murcia, their drummer, died in London of a drug overdose. At the time Jerry, Peter, Chris and myself were the only drummers on the scene. Jerry and I were both asked to come down and audition. I played Pills, Personality Crisis, and Trash. I overplayed—triplets, quadruples, accents and totally blew it. Jerry took the opposite tactic and just played straight ahead-just the backbeat and passed the audition.
Then the scene moved to Max's Kansas City—we would hang out get drunk and have a party every night. In the back room would be the Dolls, Mott the Hopple, David Bowie, Kiss (who my guitarist from DUST proceeded their first 2 albums) and bands who were popular at the time like The Harlots of 42nd Street, Teenage Lust etc. But the one person who was more outrageous than all the Glam rockers was Wayne County. He was a transsexual from Georgia who wore fishnet stockings, baby doll negligees and a ton of make-up. But he wrote great songs like— Toilet Love, Man Enough To Be A Woman, Midnight Pal and the classic Max's Kansas City. He was looking to form a new band and I joined. At the time he was on David Bowie's label called Main Man. They had and expense account at Max's so we could eat and drink for free—which we did every night!! We played around the city and I was there on the infamous night Wayne kicked Dick (the Dictators) Manitoba's ass during a show at CBGB's. But the band was too extreme for the times and we couldn't play outside NYC our asses would have been kicked or worse.
One night I was sitting at the bar upstairs at Max's with Jerry Noland and Lee Black Childers (he was a photographer, Wayne's roommate and the future manager of The Heartbreakers) when a guy named Richard Hell approached me. He had just quit the Heartbreakers. Riff's between he and Johnny Thunders had been brewing for awhile and Richard he wanted to front his own band. He came off like a beatnik poet but with spiked hair, ripped clothes held together with safety pins. He asked me to come down and play some songs with him. It was March 1976 when I officially became a Voidoid. Blank Generation was the first song I learned. We were signed to Sire Records, the premier punk label and recorded the LP Blank Generation in two weeks at Electric Lady Studio (the studio created by Jimi Hendrix) on 8th St. in the Village. I really respected Richard's song writing and he was a competent bass player. Bob Quine was and still is a great guitar player as is Ivan Julian. We went to Europe in the fall of '77 when the record was released. Punk was really starting to happen and we toured with the Clash. But Richard didn't like touring and didn't like sitting around so eventually I left the band. DeeDee Ramone and I would see each other at C.B.G.B's alot. One night he approached me and said Tommy Ramone was quitting the band to just produce records and do I want to join the band ?
I wanna get off the track here a minute—One night during the spring of 76 Wayne County was deejaying at Max's when he played the first RAMONES album–I sort of hated it–there we no leads, no drum fills. But after I kept listening I knew it was going to change the course of music. It wasn't just music it was a wall–a tidal wave–with nothing letting up. A force of astonishing power. Joey became my favorite singer and Johnny's guitar wasn't really an instrument but a power tool.
Back to the track—It was the spring of 78 Johnny Ramone arranged to meet me at Max's to discuss my joining the band. I didn't know him personally but when we met he told he had seen me play as far back as DUST. The audition was the next day at a studio on West 27th Street. I played SHEENA, ROCKAWAY BEACH and I DON'T CARE. I got the position -changed my name from MARC BELL to MARKY RAMONE and like they say the rest history....
Lately Marky has been playing with several bands: The Misfits, The Buckweeds, Marky Ramone & The Speedkings, Tarkany, Antiproduct, ... keeping the legacy alive!