We talked to Ramones drummer, Marky Ramone, on Thanksgiving Eve about his launch of Image Personal Experience (a way to video chat with celebs), his line of pasta sauce, and how he likes to draw science fiction shit.
On Thanksgiving Eve, Ramones drummer Marky Ramone found a phone to chat with us. He's announcing a "new memorabilia technology launch" called IMAGE Personal Experience. It's basically a mad pricey way to video chat with famous people. If it's one thing this interview proves, it's that you shouldn't invite Marky as guest chef at your apartment, ever. Also, you can not afford a lock of his hair.
VICE: You must be pretty excited about Friday.
Marky Ramone: Oh, it's gonna be fun. Brand new. It's new technology. I love new technology. I'd love to see how this goes.
So it seems a pretty vital element of this IMAGE Personal experience event is "video proof of authenticity." Why is that so important? How does it make the experience special?
Anybody who does it is good because it shows that it's authentic. There are so many snakes and stuff out there that you can't even tell anymore so when you see a person actually sign it, you know that it's their signature. Their thing.
What's the funniest thing you've come across that had your fake signature on it?
The funniest thing was a leather jacket that they tried to sell on a website. And it wasn't my coat! I told them it wasn't. I should know my coat—I have one left—and (in singsongy voice) it wasn't my coat! I had a little argument with them and they finally took it off. I said, 'Look, I'm gonna have to call my lawyer and put a cease and desist on it. I don't want to cheat any of my fans. It's not right. It wasn't a FUNNY thing, but this is what happens. Know what I mean? You want it to end up so that nobody's getting cheated. These people have to do the right thing.
Absolutely. How long do you plan to spend with each fan during this?
Oh, the time depends on the individual or whatever. Depends. They get the signature, we take a photo, and then we take it from there… I don't know how many people are gonna be on the Internet, but you gotta make room for everyone, know what I mean?
Sure. Do you know how many people have signed up so far?
No idea. That's not my end. I just have to get ready to get going. I have to do some stuf. I've been away for a while. On tour. I just got back and I have to catch up. So I guess the guy who's in charge of it—Gary [Sohmers]'s the one who deals with all that.
OK. How are you preparing for all this?
Oh. I just see all my friends and fans and have a good time. There's really no preparation. It's just a new thing that I was never involved in so it's like landing on another planet.
Right. Are you sticking only to the advertised items—drumsticks, marinara sauce, and your artwork?
Well, uh, yeah. The thing is, if somebody has something else that they really, really want signed that'd be okay, but I think that these are the things that Gary wants to deal with or have me sign.
How much would you charge for a lock of hair?
Oh boy. A lot!
I heard that you're selling some of your original art. Could you tell me about some of that?
When I was a kid, I always used to paint. I like to draw. Uh, I can paint. I'm not Picasso (laughs). But I have a style. It's pretty funny. It's very childlike. So far everybody who's seen it wants it. "I'll pay you anything." That's what they say. I say, "Look. I'll give you a copy of it on a piece of paper. I'll have it done really good, and you give me a few dollars for it. That's all. I'm not going to give you the original, cuz I like it!" I made some copies, they're numbered, and that's basically it. I got into it because I wanted to see what I could do. I was always into science fiction and I always liked sci-fi. Aliens! Spaceships! And all that stuff. So I combined all that together and that's really what the artwork is.
How would you describe the overall feel of your art?
Cool. I'm sure that you heard about all the Hurricane Sandy stuff. How did you feel about it? Especially since "Rockaway Beach" is one of the songs that made your group so popular? Have you done anything?
Horrible. Horrible. It was a horrible thing. It was a disaster. The worst that ever happened over there in Rockaway and Jersey. It was a horrible thing. But it's a great thing that everyone's gotten back together again, and we see people working really hard to get it together. I might go down there with my chef who runs my food truck. We could hand out sauce, hand out food to people all over the borough. Whatever! Whatever we could do.
Have you been down there to check it out yet?
I just got home so I haven't been able to do anything. I've only gone out once, to see how my parents are. t
Where are your folks? Down in South Brooklyn?
How are they?
A few trees fell on their property. Some things broke. Luckily, nothing hit the house or garage, so they're OK.
So what's the status of The Job That Ate My Brain, your documentary? Is that still going on?
That was the name, but I'm not gonna use that name. I have to be finished with my book by December 31. Not much time. It's on its way. I've been writing, writing, writing, having to go back on my notes from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Looking at all my video footage I have. I have the largest Ramones video library in the world. I look back at all that, and I put it all together. It's gonna be a book written by a Ramone, not a family member or a roadie. Plus I was in the band for 15 years and I have a lot to say. It's gonna come from my mouth, not a secondary person.
Could you tell me about your writing process? How you get in the zone, sit down, and actually get to work?
The thing is, you get all these memories. They get back in your brain and believe me, they really come up out of nowhere, then you blop 'em down. And if you get lost, you go to that place in your notes, your videos. I have all the dates written down to remember what we did and where we played. So I can always bounce back and forth with all that stuff.
You kept pretty detailed diaries during the Ramones hay day?
Yeah, they were good. They held up. I have them in composition notebooks.
How many notebooks would you say you collected over those years?
I'd say four or five.
How did you feel to find out you're the first rock star to head off this IMAGE Personal Experience event?
I didn't know I was the first one! (Laughs.) I was very surprised. Hopefully people will get it and like it so they can avoid people who sign other people's autographs that aren't real. We'll see what happens. It's good for rock stars, athletes, politicians—anybody who's autograph you want… to avoid all the fake stuff.
How do you feel this would be better than just sitting down in front of someone for a face to face meet and greet?
Well, I like that too. But it's the way we live. The problem is people live all over the world. They're not able to just fly in to get your autograph. That doesn't make sense. I think it really expands that whole territory for someone who really wants an autograph, they can get it this other way.