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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea