Marky Ramone wasn’t the first drummer of the seminal punk rock band the Ramones, but he played a key role in the early New York City music scene prior to joining them in 1978. The former Mark Bell, who changed his last name to replace Tommy Ramone, made his first record with the proto-metal band Dust while he was still in high school.
“I was going on 16,” the drummer said recently from his home in Brooklyn. “We could play on the weekends but we couldn’t tour … my parents wanted the diploma on the wall, ya know. I mean, education is important.”
After graduation, Marky dove into to emerging punk milieu. “I started hanging out at CBGB, and that’s where I met Wayne County, Richard Hell, Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, Debbie Harry. I auditioned for the New York Dolls.”
After a stint in County’s band, Marky joined Richard Hell and the Voidoids in 1976, playing drums on the band’s first EP, which included “Blank Generation.” The song eventually made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 most influential” list.