Start of the Century
Ironically, the drummer lived longer than anyone else in The Ramones. Now Marky Ramone has reissued two solo albums he recorded with backup band The Intruders. The songs were written just before the band hung it up for good, and came out several years ago to widespread disinterest. Considering their well-deserved obscurity, these reissues add little to the body of rock and roll associated with this landmark punk band. There’s an interesting cover of “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles and songs like “Life Sucks,” “Middle Finger” and Anxiety” sort of sound like they might be Ramones songs, but they never reach the level of head-banging stupidity that hallmarked the real thing.
Included in this package is a second disc with a composite live recording of Marky Ramone’s tribute tour in Mexico. This music is slightly better, as he sings and drums his way through the big hits from “Rockaway Beach” to “Pet Cemetery.” While technically acceptable for a live recording, singing and drumming are not two skills that mix well, and his occasional dopey commentary adds little to the experience. The shining moment comes when he calls for “Blitzkrieg Bop” and gets “Chinese Rocks.” There was a time when that sort of thing would have charming, but now it’s just slightly embarrassing.
If you absolutely, positively must have every single Ramones item on the face of the earth, go for this pebble. But if you remember the band as a living organism, Start of the Century is a poor artifact.