Tommy Ramone

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Tommy Ramone
Tommy Ramone.JPG
Background information
Birth name Erdélyi Tamás
Also known as Tommy Ramone, Scotty, Thomas Erdelyi
Born (1952-01-29) January 29, 1952 (age 62)
Budapest, Hungary
Origin Forest Hills, Queens, New York, United States
Genres Punk rock, bluegrass
Occupations Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Drums, Percussion, mandolin, guitar, vocals
Years active 1974–present
Labels Sire, Radioactive, Chrysalis
Associated acts Ramones, Uncle Monk

Tommy Ramone, also known as Thomas Erdelyi (born Erdélyi Tamás; January 29, 1952),[1] is a Hungarian American record producer and musician.[2][3] He was the drummer of the influential punk rock band the Ramones and is the last surviving member of the original quartet.


Erdélyi is Jewish,[4] and was born in Budapest, Hungary, to Jewish parents who had survived the Holocaust by being hidden by neighbors, though many of his relatives were victims of the Nazis.[5] He grew up in Forest Hills, New York. [6] Tommy and guitarist John Cummings (later to be dubbed "Johnny Ramone") performed together in a mid-60's four-piece garage band called the Tangerine Puppets while in high school.[7] In 1970, Erdelyi was an assistant engineer for the production of the Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsys.

Producer and drummer for the Ramones[edit]

When the Ramones first came together, with Johnny Ramone on guitar, Dee Dee Ramone on bass and Joey Ramone on drums, Erdelyi was supposed to be the manager, but was drafted as the band's drummer when Joey became the lead singer and found that he couldn't keep up with the Ramones' increasingly fast tempos. "Tommy Ramone, who was managing us, finally had to sit down behind the drums, because nobody else wanted to," Dee Dee later recalled.[8]

He remained as drummer from 1974 to 1978, playing on and co-producing their first three albums, Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket to Russia, as well as the live album It's Alive.[9]

Behind the scenes with the Ramones[edit]

He was replaced on drums in 1978 by Marky Ramone,[10] but handled band management and co-production for their fourth album, Road to Ruin; he later returned as producer for the eighth album, 1984's Too Tough to Die.[11]

Dee Dee, in his books, expressed resentment towards Tommy for having it "together" more than anyone else in the band, being able to cook himself dinner and organize his life in a much more functional manner, without the psychosis or addiction problems that Dee Dee himself suffered from. In comparison to everyone else in the band, Tommy was seemingly "normal", though there are accounts of him partying with the band and driving them around in his car in the early days.

Tommy Ramone wrote "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and the majority of "Blitzkrieg Bop" while bassist Dee Dee suggested the title.[7] He and Ed Stasium played all the guitar solos on the albums he produced, as Johnny Ramone largely preferred playing rhythm guitar.[12]

In the 1980s he produced the highly regarded Replacements album Tim, as well as Redd Kross's Neurotica.[13][14]

On October 8, 2004, he played as a Ramone once again, when he joined C.J. Ramone, Daniel Rey, and Clem Burke (also known as Elvis Ramone) in the "Ramones Beat Down On Cancer" concert. In October 2007 in an interview to promote It's Alive 1974-1996 a double DVD of the band's greatest televised live performances[15] he paid tribute to his deceased bandmates:

"They gave everything they could in every show. They weren't the type to phone it in, if you see what I mean."

Currently, Ramone and Claudia Tienan (formerly of underground band the Simplistics) are performing as a bluegrass-based folk duo called Uncle Monk. Ramone stated: "There are a lot of similarities between punk and old-time music. Both are home-brewed music as opposed to schooled, and both have an earthy energy. And anybody can pick up an instrument and start playing."[16] He joined songwriter Chris Castle, Garth Hudson, Larry Campbell and the Womack Family Band in July 2011 at Levon Helm Studios for Castle's album Last Bird Home.[17]

Discography with the Ramones[edit]



  1. ^ Melnick, Monte A.; Meyer, Frank (2003). On the Road with the Ramones. MJF Books. p. 18. ISBN 1-60671-020-6. 
  2. ^ Harper, Jason. "Tommy Ramone Gives the Mountain Music Shoppe a Brush with CBGB". Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Punk rock legend enjoying venture into old-time music". Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ Ralph Blumenthal. "Punk, and Jewish: Rockers Explore Identity". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ballon, Marc. "Book reveals secrets from the Patriarchs of Punk: CBGBs was really Heebie Jeebies", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, February 1, 2007. Accessed September 7, 2011. "Erdélyi kept his Jewish identity so well concealed that not even Danny Fields, the Ramones' first manager (himself a Jew), knew of Tommy Ramone's religious background until now. That Tommy Ramone would want to keep his Judaism hidden makes sense. He was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1949, and his parents, both professional photographers, barely escaped from the clutches of the Nazis by hiding out with friends during the war. Most of Erdélyi's family perished in the Holocaust."
  6. ^ "Return of a Ramone...Tommy Ramone & Claudia Tienan Bow Bluegrass Duo Uncle Monk with Self-Titled Album Due Out May 22", PRWeb, press release dated February 4, 2007. Accessed June 17, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Interview with Tommy Ramone". Mark Prindle. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ McNeil and McCain, pp. 182–183.
  9. ^ Alexis Petridis (January 6, 2005). "Interview with Tommy Ramone". London: The Guardian. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ Gregory, James (May 8, 2005). "Pitchfork interview with Tommy Ramone". Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Boston Phoenix – Gabba Gabba Hayride". July 8, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ Sharby Coms, "How The West Was Lost", in Mojo Punk Special Edition, p. 94
  13. ^ Relix Magazine – Tommy Ramone is a Bluegrass Punk[dead link]
  14. ^ "Redd Kross Neurotica Re-Issue review". Knac. January 24, 2003. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  15. ^ The Sun Friday October 5, 2005.
  16. ^ "Interview with Jari-Pekka Laitio". Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  17. ^ Martin, Jim. "Americana songwriter, Womacks play Edinboro, Erie gigs | Times-News". Retrieved August 11, 2013. 


  • Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.
  • Monte A. Melnick Ramones Tour Manager "On The Road With The Ramones"[1]

External links[edit]