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Monday, February 13, 2006

Review: On The Road With The Ramones - Book

Hopefully this is the last book I'll ever read that's composed mostly of quotes. It's a lazy way to write and a lazy way to read. It's not writing, it's editing. I could do it, so that's how I know no skill is required.

2003's On The Road With The Ramones was compiled by Frank Meyer with direct assistance from Monte Melnick, the Ramone's tour manager for their entire career, from pre and post. It ends just before Johnny dies but covers Joey and Dee Dee's deaths pretty well. Always the diplomat, Monte doesn't slash and burn but he can't help but be truthful, and he doesn't need to anyway since everyone else is cutting each other to ribbons as usual.

This is my fifth Ramones book so I know the story fairly well. I forgot that Bruce Spingsteen wrote "Hungry Heart" for the Ramones but was turned down. I also didn't know the first three albums, the trifecta of greatness, were written in the same period and recorded in chronological order for reasons only known to Johnny. I found most of it to be pretty damn interesting so I'd recommend the book to anyone with even a passing interest.

What Monte refreshingly brings to On The Road With The Ramones is an aura of believability since the band members have axes to grind and fish to fry. Tommy might be a reliable source but he didn't live it every day for the whole run like Monte. The books' worth it just to read the anecdotes of Joey's obsessive compulsive disorder. Touching down in the UK he flips out because he HAS TO fly back to NY and touch something, anything, at the airport. Poor Monte.


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