Wahn two three fah!
Anyone that has ever bothered to delve into the history of the Ramones knows that three different drummers officially occupied the drum throne from 1974 to 1996. While friends of the family would lend a hand in times of crisis, the drum kit primarily belonged to Tommy, Marky, and Richie Ramone. These guys could play a 4/4 pattern all night long and were definitely too cool for school, too dumb to get a job.
Jeff Hyman, aka Joey Ramone
, was actually the group's first drummer. It was Thomas Erdelyi (later Tommy Ramone
) that suggested he try vocals instead. He did. It worked. Joey died on April 15th, 2001, after a battle with lymphatic cancer.
On March 30th, 1974 (exactly 30 years previous to the completion of this writeup), record producer Thomas Erdelyi was present at the first serious Ramones jam session
, when the group was a three-piece with Dee Dee
singing and Joey
playing drums. Soon after recommending that Joey switch to vocals, Thomas was asked to join the group and donned the Tommy Ramone moniker
. Tommy left the band in 1978 to focus on producing, but remained close to the Ramones and served as the producer ("T. Erdelyi
") on several of their later records.
Tommy can be heard on these albums:
Tommy Ramone died at his home in Queens, New York City, on July 11, 2014, aged 65. He had been receiving hospice care following unsuccessful treatment for cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). Tommy was the last of the original band members.
Marc Bell, formerly of Ramones contemporaries the Voidoids
, replaced Tommy in 1978 and played with the Ramones until late 1982
. After Richie Ramone
's chaotic exit in 1987, Marky returned at Johnny's urging and continued touring and recording with the group until their final gig
in 1996. Retaining his Ramones stage name, Marky has since formed several new bands and has toured and recorded with the Misfits
Marky can be heard on these albums:
Richard Reinhardt was the drummer for the New York band the Velveteens
before being asked to replace Marky Ramone
. Richie played drums for the Ramones from 1983 until 1987. Richie appeared with the band in the music videos accompanying the Subterranean Jungle
(1983) album, although it was actually Marky's drumming that was heard in the videos. Having put the music business behind him, Richie is now working as a caddy at a Los Angeles golf course
Richie can be heard on these albums:
Drummer for Johnny Thunders
' band the Heartbreakers
, Billy played on the last track recorded for Subterranean Jungle
(1983) after a disgruntled Marky took his drumsticks
and went home.
Billy can be heard on this album:
Clem Burke, drummer for New Wave
, sat in with the Ramones for two gigs in August, 1987 after the sudden departure of Richie. Clem was not meant as a serious replacement
(as his alleged stage name might indicate), and never recorded or toured
with the Ramones after those two shows.
* - Richie Ramone should not be confused with former bassist Ritchie Ramone, who played briefly with the band in 1974 before being ousted in favor of Dee Dee.
** - Smash You! Live '85 is an 8-song bonus disc included with the excellent Loud, Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits compilation.