Exclusive: Teenage Bottlerocket Turn Marky Ramone Around
Published Nov 06, 2009Wyoming pop punk rockers Teenage Bottlerocket have made one of their own idols eat his words. And they love it.
Following the release of the band's Fat Wreck Chords debut and fourth album overall, They Came From the Shadows, former Ramones skins man Marky Ramone had to admit that, while not exactly adoring the group upon first listen, he is now onside.
"Originally Marky was not a fan of us," Teenage Bottlerocket guitarist/vocalist Ray Carlisle recently beamed to Exclaim! "The first time he played our song 'Skate or Die,' on his radio show, apparently he kinda trash-talked it. Now he's playing it more often and he says he's come around on us. I didn't hear it firsthand at the time though. A friend called to say he played our song on his show and had some bad things to say. I can't quote verbatim but basically he said he's not into it. Now he admits he's come around and he's into it."
Strange that Ramone (born Marc Bell) would pick on TBR, as they commonly abbreviate themselves. Not only were the Ramones victims of outright slagging by radio announcers at their onset in the mid-1970s - before Bell was a part of the band at that - but those same detractors eventually recanted once they started to understand the Ramones.
In other words, history has repeated itself with Ramone conceding a judgement error in the same manner those New York DJs were forced to do. He's admitted fault, going so far as to bring TBR onto his show for a face-to-face chat. Naturally, though, he couldn't help but needle them about his part in establishing their sound.
"Marky Ramone asked me how the Ramones influenced our music," Carlisle laughs. "They did it by playing great, simple rock'n'roll we can relate to with our songwriting. As far as getting into punk rock by hearing the Ramones, that didn't happen. When I was 15, I heard Green Day. That got me into the Lookout! Records catalogue, then I got into the Fat Wreck Chords catalogue and listened to as much as possible. I discovered the Ramones after Green Day but no one's born with a mohawk."
Disputes and apologies aside, with even a fleeting listening to They Came From the Shadows, it's clear these guys aren't just another mindless pop punk act. They get what the Ramones are about, but actually strive to move beyond that comparison and be defined on their own terms.
"A lot of people are comfortable with pegging us as a Ramones-core band," Carlisle says. "We admire the Ramones and take it as a compliment. We can relate to it but we're so much more than that. We're not confined to write that kind of song, though. We're free to do whatever the hell we want. We've always embraced it. It's just that at this point, we want to move past it."
The song that initially stirred up such controversy: