As the Ramones' drummer, Marky Ramone always had the best perspective on
his band. On and off for over a decade, he enjoyed a wide-angle,
behind-the-kit view of the pioneering quartet that rose out of the New York
underground in 1975 and helped spearhead the punk movement.
But Ramone's perspective wasn't only that of the beatkeeper. He also kept
the Ramones' history on film, accumulating hundreds of hours of his
bandmates' backstage and onstage moments for posterity.
With 500 hours of those moments in hand, Ramone (born Marc Bell) set out
two years ago to put together the definitive Ramones movie, something the
drummer said he feels that he's done with the 71-minute film, "Ramones:
Around the World" (Sept. 29).
"This is it," Ramone said.
And he points to the band's fans as providing a key impetus for making the
flick. "The Ramones have been broken up for two years, and a lot of kids
keep asking me, 'Are the Ramones gonna get back together?' " Ramone said.
"I don't think there'll be any reunion, but I thought at least I'd put out
a video so they have something extra to remember us by."
The film, dedicated to Johnny Ramone, whom Marky Ramone credited with
keeping the band together for more than 20 years, is culled from footage
that Marky Ramone said he shot between 1987-96. It includes several concert
sequences -- filmed in such locales as Japan, South America and Greece --
as well as intimate looks at the band backstage and on the road.
The Ramones are shown playing such classics as
Bop"(RealAudio excerpt) and "Cretin Hop."
"You see us up close, confronting fans, on the bus together, in situations
where we're not always wearing our leather jackets," the 42-year-old Marky
Ramone said, citing the group's trademark garb.
The group also featured singer Joey Ramone (born Jeff Hyman), guitarist
Johnny Ramone (born John Cummings) and bassist C.J. Ramone (born
Christopher Ward). One-time bassist/songwriter Dee Dee Ramone (born Douglas
Colvin) also appears in the video.
The two-year process of editing down all of the footage from the more than
100 hours that Marky Ramone submitted to editor Curtis Cates was an
eye-opening one for the avowed Ramones fan. "I was a fan, not a fanatic,"
Cates said. "And going in I felt they were a great band and really
important, but after watching all this footage, I personally concluded that
they were the best rock 'n' roll band ever in America."
Cates said the intensity of the Ramones' performances and their dedication
to refining their live show taught him a thing or two about the band's work
methods. If something worked once, he said, the Ramones would incorporate
it into their act for good. The way they took the stage, with Marky Ramone
hitting his snare, Johnny Ramone strumming his guitar once to make sure the
sound was right and then launching into the count. All this became clear as
Cates edited the tapes, he said.
Dismissing last year's "We're Outta Here" video/CD package of the band's
final show as "lame interviews and weak footage," Marky Ramone pointed out
his own qualifications for making the definitive Ramones movie.
"To be able to be that close to them, you had to be in the band, because a
lot of the times they didn't want a camera in their face," he said. "But I
got away with it because I was in the band."