Commando - The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone
Last night, I cracked open this 175 page book for a brief read in an effort to tire the eyes so I could fall asleep. I ended up finishing the book it was such a good read.
Johnny's story starts out talking about his love for baseball, his hatred for going to school, his late teen life of violence, a brief stint working as a steamfitter, and then his life in the Ramones.
There were a few things that I did not know about the Ramones that I learned in this book. I didn't realize that Tommy Ramone was the driving force in getting the band started. It was Tommy who kept on telling Johnny and Dee Dee to start a band. Johnny loved music and didn't think he could play as good as the bands he was going to see every week until he saw the New York Dolls.
It was interesting to read about Johnny's concern about "the uniform" that the band wore and how it was created over time. I didn't know that Johnny married Joey's former girlfriend after courting her for years while she was still dating Joey. They were afraid to start dating because they felt Joey would break up the band.
Johnny had a goal to put $1 million in the bank and then retire. He achieved his goal, and then began earning enough $ from royalties that he didn't need to spend his savings. Interesting that he had thoughts that there may have been reunion shows or releases of the new song here or there for compilation releases. He put an end to those dreams when Joey died, and wouldn't play with another singer. Then, he was hit hard by the death of Dee Dee. Lastly, his own battle with cancer that he was unable to beat for the 3rd time. Ultimately, he finished this book knowing he would not live to see it published.
This was a great read for anyone remotely interested in learning more about the Ramones through the straight forward stories of the originator of the 3 chord punk rock guitar player.