Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tommy Ramone And His Legacy - A Conversation with Ramones Tour Manager Monte A. Melnick!

"They had something going, and they stuck to it."

Monte A Melnick and Tommy Ramone
The Ramones were a raucous sort. They famously disliked each other, they traveled their entire career in a cramped van shuttling them from city to city, and their disparate personalities drew them further and further apart - even as the demands of their music required that they work together on an almost daily basis.

At the center of the storm was Monte A. Melnick, who was the Ramones' tour manager for 22 years - their entire career. Monte kept the operation running on time and made sure that, to the extent he could, the demanding touring schedule did not overwhelm the band.

Monte was a high school friend of Tommy Erdelyi, aka Tommy Ramone. Tommy was the original Ramones drummer and producer and was critical to the band's success. Tommy died of cancer on July 11, 2014. He was the last of the four original Ramones. Now they're all gone - three (Johnny, Joey, and Tommy) from cancer, and one (Dee Dee) from an overdose.

I love the Ramones. I saw them perform many times and met my wife in the mosh pit at one of their shows. As a drummer, I thought a lot over the years about Tommy's drum style and its importance to the Ramones sound, and Monte and I discussed this at length.  Monte, who is the 3D Theater and Audio Visual Supervisor at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York, is the author of On The Road With The Ramones, the definitive book on the band and their life on the road. You can learn more about (and order!) the book, which I love to read over and over, on Monte's Facebook page

I hope you enjoy our conversation about Tommy and the drumming style he created, the other Ramones drummers, and the Ramones' legacy. And a note of thanks to Monte A. Melnick for his generosity of time!