How we met: Andrew WK & Marky Ramone

'I know he likes the mindset I've been trying to pursue: be glad that you're not dead'

Andrew WK, 34

Following the release of his debut album 'I Get Wet' in 2001, it was Andrew WK's (left in picture) single 'Party Hard' that propelled him into a dual career as a rocker and motivational speaker. He has spent the past year singing Ramones songs with Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg. He lives in New York

Marky and I have a mutual friend, Steve Lewis, who's a king of the night-time world, part of the Studio 54 set. One day Marky was telling Steve that he was looking for a new singer for his band and Steve suggested me.

Like so many folks of my age, I'd been familiar with the Ramones since I was a child. Marky was the second drummer, after Tommy, but when he took over from the Road to Ruin album [in 1978], I think he took Tommy's style to new heights, playing the drums with such urgency that he really proved himself. But we never met until we were introduced, in November last year.

So I went to dinner with Steve, Marky Ramone and a few others. He looked young and vital and in great physical shape. I was starstruck and nervous but felt an underlying force compelling me to push through the shyness. Luckily, he's one of the few people I've met who I don't think has an ego.

He was curious whether I'd be able to live up to the standards [the material] demands. So I did an audition of 35 Ramones songs.

Marky took a risk in associating himself with me: I'm not the best singer in the world, but by joining him and going on tour together, I have been raised up to a higher level. Though I do wonder whether I have reduced him!

I never expected to become friends with Marky. Sometimes you work on a project, have a shared vision, but don't expect anything else. But I remember when we were about to play the first show in Europe, in Serbia. The rehearsal was in our hotel room, Marky playing drums on a couch, the guitar and bass players all in the same space. At one point, I made the sound of a fart, in time to the music. Marky laughed out loud in such a genuine way I thought, "Wow, maybe we could be friends."

After that we went through a lot of good times and laughs, and I think those moments I had with him were the most meaningful parts of the project.

He had done some research on me and I know he likes the mindset I've been trying to pursue personally, as part of my party philosophy: be glad that you're not dead. I asked him how long it feels he's been doing what he does. He said, "It feels like it's only just happening right now." He's seen some of his best friends in the band die, yet he's not bowed by it. Instead, I think it's given him an urgency to live. It's something I relate to: I don't remember what's happened and I don't want know what happens next; I just want to live for now, too.

Marky Ramone, 57

After a stint playing drums in 1971 with Dust, one of the first heavy-metal bands in America, Marc Bell took on the name Marky Ramone when he joined the Ramones in 1978 as the band's drummer. Ramone continues to play the Ramones' hits on tour with his band Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg. He lives in New York

I never knew who Andrew was until a mutual friend suggested him to me as a frontman for our band. We met at a restaurant a year ago, with Steve Lewis. He knew Andrew as he DJs in Steve's clubs. The minute he spoke to me, I thought he was an intelligent guy and an extrovert, which is important for a frontman.

You have to take chances in life. So I gave Andrew a copy of all the Ramones songs to learn and he came to a rehearsal in Brooklyn. I told him, "You'll need to be able to sing songs in rapid-fire succession – there's no time for water." I wanted someone who could do 35 songs in a 120-minute set, with two encores. He may have felt under pressure, but I could relate to that: I had to learn 40 songs in two weeks when I joined the band, in 1978. Joey [Ramone, the Ramones frontman] wasn't a Pavarotti, but he had style, and Andrew has a vocal style that works well, too.

Some people who work together don't get along. [The guitarist] Johnny [Ramone] and Joey didn't get along but had a professional understanding. But me and Andrew hit it off. We had a lot of laughs on tour.

I remember riding a motorcycle with Andrew in Moscow. A Russian fan lent us his zebra-stripe-painted bike so we went driving round the block, Andrew holding on to me, which was a lot of fun. Being in the Ramones for 15 years, there were laughs, but not too many times like that, as animosities festered.

We never used a bus on this tour; we travelled in a van. Of course we had arguments, but to add levity I would make a belch and everyone would start laughing again. I had to reduce myself to that kind of humour: I'd stick my ass out of the van window. You could say it was regressing to childhood, but I find little things like that funny and so does Andrew.

One thing I learnt about Andrew is how much he likes the colour white: whenever he played, he'd appear in an all-white costume: shoes, trousers, shirt, the lot. But at least he was doing something alternative.

I'm a drummer, so maybe I've a drummer's personality: I'm a lone wolf, I don't socialise that much. Going to a club opening is difficult for me, as I prefer to tinker with cars, while Andrew is a lot more social.

When you see friends who died too early to enjoy the fruits of their labour, you need to not be bothered by the little things: let it go. We could only be on this planet for another day, so channel that energy into something positive. I think Andrew is like that, too.

'The Party Bible', by Andrew WK, will be published next year by Simon & Schuster

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future