The Ramones are one of the world’s most beloved bands. Their music has withstood the test of time and they are now a vital part of musical history. Guitarist Johnny Ramone was known as being both an intense person and talented musician. In 2005, he passed away at the age of 55 after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. Johnny’s wife has recently released a must-have book for any fan, Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone. Linda Ramone was married to him for over twenty years and in a recent interview talked about the book and what it was like being married to one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time.
The book is something that Johnny had planned for a long time. “He knew he was sick and he wanted to have the last word”, Linda said. She talked about how he kept notes, memorabilia and what an interesting person he was. Of his personality, she talked about how he was a very intense person, but had a very sweet side to him. Linda said, “Lisa Marie Presley used to always call him grumpy and charming.” Presley is a good friend and has always been there for them both. She even wrote the epilogue for the book. Johnny and Linda had support from some great friends during the time of his illness. When he passed he was surrounded by some of his closest friends, including Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and Presley. Speaking to Linda, it’s easy to get a feel for the greatness that was Johnny Ramone. It was fascinating to hear her tell stories of their times together.
The first time Linda met Johnny, she didn’t know what to think. Of the memory, she said, laughing, “He didn’t look delightful…” However, what you see isn’t always what you get. Linda described a man who was very into his cats, Elvis, horror movies, collections of movie posters and baseball cards, and even had a Disney themed bathroom, which she has not changed to this day. When not on the road, he was a homebody who liked to order in and have people over. She has very fond memories of having breakfast with him and sitting out by the pool. It was a love affair that doesn’t come along that often. Once they moved to Los Angeles, it made them even happier. “It’s an easier life in L.A…the weather on the East Coast really takes its toll on you. We had a very happy house…very positive,” she said.
The Ramones are one of the most influential bands to ever grace the music scene. “They were one of the best live bands ever…Johnny was such an influential guitar player. He always wanted the show to be great. He was a blaze of energy,” Linda reminisces. Johnny has left behind an enduring legacy not only as an influential musician, but as a very loyal friend and loving husband. Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone shows the true Johnny Ramone. The book is also full of pictures that match the text in the book, which is a real added bonus. What’s next according to Linda? Perhaps a Ramone’s movie that will tell the inside stories of the band, including the true story of her, Johnny and Joey, and the early days of the band.
The Johnny Ramone Eighth Annual Tribute takes place this Sunday, August 19, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary in Los Angeles. Featured guests include Tommy Ramone, Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, Henry Rollins and many more. Linda will be on hand to sign Johnny’s memoir.
More information is available here.