On Saturday, March 30, the Los Angeles Theatre will host the seventh annual Rock Against MS, a benefit show for those who have multiple sclerosis.
Full disclosure: This writer's wife has MS, and it is a cruel and devastating disease. So events like this, which serve to raise awareness as well as money, are crucial. This year, Marky Ramone will perform with his band Blitzkrieg, fresh from going viral thanks to his verbal battle with John Lydon during a panel discussion for the documentary series Punk.
Other performers include Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler, Jane’s Addiction’s Stephen Perkins, comedians Hal Sparks and Debra Wilson, and many more. It promises to be a special night. We chatted with Marky Ramone about all of that and more.
L.A. WEEKLY: Why did you want to get involved with this cause?
MARKY RAMONE: I’ve known [event organizer] Nancy [Sayle] for quite a while. I do a lot of charity work for a lot of other things, too, and why not include this? This is, I think, the third time I did, sometimes out in Los Angeles. It’s a good thing to do. It’s a horrible, debilitating disease, and if there’s anything that I can contribute to this cause, I will.
You're playing with Greg Hetson now — are you happy with this incarnation of your Blitzkrieg band?
Yeah, Greg of the Circle Jerks and Bad Religion and he does my set with me. I tour the world and do 40 to 45 Ramones songs, but there I’m only going to do 35 because of the tight schedule. He picked it up great. I love the guy — he’s very recognizable and he’s a real pro.
What else are you up to?
I have the internet radio show on Sirius XM, the 1st Wave radio show on Sirius XM. I’m cultivating these things. I’m doing that and I’ll start a world tour in July.
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Were you surprised by the attention the Punk TV show panel with John Lydon got?
The guy was drunk, what can you do. The guy was the shape he was in. I can relate to that — I used to drink, 35 years ago. You know, that’s his shtick. To cause sensationalism. He knows that punk started in New York and Detroit. Anything for argument’s sake, he will do it. I didn’t let him do anything to me. I was surprised that Henry [Rollins] and Duff [McKagan] reacted the way they did. I’m not gonna let anybody step on me and say shit about me. Fuck that. I had to tell them that if it wasn’t for Richard Hell and the Ramones, he’d be selling fish ’n’ chips somewhere. Do I like to come down to that kind of a level? No. But I can. Looking back, you could say it was all in good fun but at the moment, it wasn’t. I met him before, and he just seemed very bitter that Sid Vicious ended up becoming the star of the Pistols.
What can we expect from the set on the night?
I’m gonna do 35 Ramones songs. There’s something for everybody, which is great. The original drummer from Guns N’ Roses [Steven Adler] — nice guy. And other genres of music. It ends at 11, and then afterward there will be an afterparty.
Rock Against MS takes place on Saturday, March 30, at the Los Angeles Theatre. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m., though there's a "meet and greet" at 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $35 general admission and $125 VIP, though add $10 to those prices on the day of the show. There's also an afterparty, though you must have a ticket for the main event to purchase an afterparty ticket. For more information, visit the event page.