>Marky Ramone. Aprende inglés (del bueno) con Harlem
Marc Steven Bell (Nueva York, 1956), a.k.a. Marky Ramone, no fue el primer baterista de Ramones (fue el sustituto de Tommy), no es parte del cuarteto original, pero sí lo es de su formación más recordada: Marky, Johnny, Joey y Dee Dee. Este verano vuelve a España, a tocar punk rock ramoniano con su banda actual, y mientras llega el momento saca tiempo para responder a nuestras preguntas
Pregunta. Tu forma de tocar la batería es inconfundible. ¿Cómo surgió?
Respuesta. I started playing drums because the Beatles. Beatles always have been my favorite band ever. About my Ramones’ style, Tommy showed me they way to do it. Then I perfection it, using my fingers. Johnny wanted to play much and much faster so with the arm was impossible, I started using the fingers many people asked me the trick I don’t have a problem to tell, only thing you gotta do is practice a lot.
P. Compones buena parte de tu repertorio. ¿Qué buscas en una canción, y cuáles son tus fuentes de inspiración?
R. Main part of a song is melody. If you sing a song and doesn’t get a catchy melody then forget it. My inspirations, all the British invasion, Beach Boys…
P. ¿Por qué no cantas más a menudo?
R. I’m a drummer, let singers make it. I have recorded some b-sides on vocals but still…
P. ¿Es muy diferente girar con los Ramones a ir solo?
R. But being like Marky Ramone and Friends we are also playing in big places we headlined Beijing Pop Festival in China last September together with Public Enemy and Nine Inch Nails, which is also cool, see 20-30.000 people out there singing Ramones songs. We mix big festivals with small clubs. We also did like this with Ramones, last show in NY was in a small club, while few months before we played in a soccer stadium in Argentina in front of 70.000. Is like you know I remember one show last year, by the end of the gig, one kid provably 9-10 years old came up to me with his father and tell me was a big Ramones fan he was starting playing music because the Ramones and gave me his guitar pick. That thing was impossible in a Ramones show.
P. Has dicho lo siguiente: “Los Ramones nunca vendimos millones de discos, pero el tiempo nos ha dado la razón. Cambiamos el curso de la música”. ¿Por qué dices que cambiásteis su curso?
R. 70’s were boring, was only disco, big stadium bands, five minutes solos songs, lights, big performances…We were original real…so people now realize that we were not corporate, and this is what kids still look for, real sound, real bands, and we were. Is what i said, we were real. We sounded like this cos we did from our deepest. Many bands think “these songs are easy to play let’s cover it” and then when you play it become not as easy as you expected. Is impossible to copy Johnny’s guitar sound, Joey’s voice or the drum beat. There u have bands like Metallica or U2… big names but they can not make sound our songs. Why? This is the magic of the Ramones what did us unique.
P. ¿Los Ramones fueron únicos?
R. Is like you see a monument. I love to go around Barcelona and see Gaudi’s stuff. You see all that original houses, church or parks, you recognize come from him. So The Ramones were the same in music.
P. ¿Y crees que vuestro legado está suficientemente valorado, reconocido?
R. Now yes. Never it’s too late. All bands like U2, Metallica, Rob Zombie, Red ot Chili Peppers…then the MTV ting… you know, what I’m wondering too is why not before. But I don’t know the answer.
P. ¿Por qué crees que Ramones es un grupo tan admirado?
R. Is what i said, we were real. Did not need to sell 5 millions albums to let people know we were original and we did not follow the rules.. that’s why any band can’t get close to the Ramones, like not any band can’t get close to The Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones or The Who.
P. El punk ha cumplido 30 años oficialmente. ¿Qué queda de él, de su espíritu original?
R. Punk is be honest with yourself and all people around you. Trust what you do, don’t get upset of what the other says just believe in your job. When punk started nobody could imagine 3 guitar chords could change music history like Ramones did. Because we were 100% sure of what we were doing.
P. Por cierto, ¿no crees que el punk rock nació antes de 1977, antes de que Sex Pistols lo popularizaran definitivamente?
R. To me punk is not like UK guys did. Is not all about wearing pins or colour hair. Is an attitude. Johnny said many times Elvis Presley was a punk and I’m totally agree. Ramones did “Judy is a punk” in 75, years before all Sex Pistols thing. Funny thing was that when they got in to the studio –Sex Pistols- brought first Ramones album to the sound guy and told him they wanted to sound like the Ramones.
P. ¿Te gusta el rock que se hace hoy en día? ¿No crees que está un poco domesticado, que ha perdido su capacidad subversiva?
R. Nowadays everything is money money money. Record labels don’t take risks with new bands they prefer to invest in boy bands, spice girls you know faked stuff don’t give a shit about quality. Everything go so fast. If your first record is not a gold album you are kicked out from the company, don’t let a band grow up. And without money you can not be advertised, so like it or not this is how world is now, not only music, everything. But still you have bands like Green Day, Rancid or Pearl Jam which still keep their identity. More underground bands like Riverboat Gamblers, Useless ID are great but don’t have the support of majors. And I can tell you they kick ass. Not like Busted, Simple Plan… I’m sorry for young kids who take them seriously, wearing this baseball caps, shorts Come one, I would like to see them in CB’s on the 70’s trying to explain to Dee Dee or Johnny Thunders that what they do is punk.
P. Bruce Springsteen dice que la política exterior de tu país le hace cada día más difícil sentirse orgulloso de ser americano. ¿Te sucede a ti igual?
R. I don’t care which president we have. I’m ok to be from where I am. Of course I’m not agree of many thngs GB is doing, but you know, not proud, but to me be American citizen is fine, no big deal.
P. No es la primera vez que tocas en España. ¿Qué te atrae del país?
R. I love your country as I love Italy, Japan… Here I like to take some days off when I finish a tour in Europe. I sit in a terrace and have my tapas menu. I love ham. you also have that small green peppers with salt I like to eat that. Crowds are great, I dunno why, but latin countries like Spain, South America, Italy… love the Ramones, provably because the name I dunno. Strange, most of people don’t speak English but they sing our songs. This is the magic of the music.
P. ¿Qué proyectos tienes en mente?
R. I don’t know what the future will bring. Last album I did was Start of the century is a compilation of the albums I did with The Intruders when Ramones split up. Most of the songs of the album are produced by Lars Frederiksen from Rancid, and in one song, “Don’t Blame Bame”, Joan Jett is featuring. Is a punk rock album, but subjects of the songs are totally away from the Ramones songs were about. We put it out last year so by that time is enough. But for sure I will keep playing. When playing become bored then I will stop and say goodbye.