You know a book is rock ’n’ roll when not one but two cars catch fire in the course of the narrative. You know it’s punk rock when two cars catching fire aren’t even important plot points. Nope, it’s just one of the many insane things that happen when you join the Ramones. You might also encounter rioting Italian teenagers, groupies literally throwing drugs at you, Johnny Rotten, John Lennon and a wet, angry Ed Asner. It’s all in Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone (Touchstone, $28, out Jan. 13) by Marky Ramone with Rich Herschlag. Marky joined America’s original punk band in 1978, just in time for End of the Century, their album with Phil Spector and their appearance in the cult film Rock ’n’ Roll High School.
Marky may eat bugs and throw money out the window, but he comes off as the most normal Ramone, compared to Joey, the lead singer with OCD and hygiene issues; Dee Dee, the bass-playing, drug-huffing inadvertent poet; and Johhny, the fascist asshole guitarist. Perhaps this is because, unlike his brothers in Keds, Marky Ramone came to the band with a solid background as a musician, playing professionally since high school. Thus, the book also includes tales of his pre-Ramones days with NYC new wave act the Voidoids and his brief tenure in trannypunk Wayne County’s band. For fans of old-school punk, vintage New York City or drummers of all stripes, Punk Rock Blitzkrieg has more than one good story to tell.