"Es como si te recibiera en su casa" observa su colega Tommy, un inocente comentario que podría entenderse también como advertencia, porque este libro es una confesión visceral in artículo mortis y a quemarropa. John Cummings, alias JOHNNY RAMONE (1948-2004), pasará a la historia de la música popular como fundador de una banda empedernida. Una cuadrilla de rufianes, para ser exactos. Antes de ese estruendo había sido un chico con aficiones tan benignas como el lanzamiento de televisores desde azoteas, la destrucción de ventanas a ladrillazos o el derribo de pacíficos viandantes con fines delictivos. El rocanrol lo apartó del mal camino para conducirlo a un éxito que, sin embargo, no borró ni sus raíces ni su agreste chulería. Pasó de las calles a los escenarios conservando intacto el espíritu pendenciero que distinguiría a los Ramones y los llevaría en 2002 al salón donde se exhiben las famas del rock. Dos años después moriría de cáncer: era la tercera baja del grupo. Johnny nunca economizó hostias y no las escatima en estas páginas, donde asistimos, por ejemplo, al memorable puñetazo que le arreó a Malcolm McLaren por dirigirle la palabra a su novia. Tampoco se ahorra coces para juzgar a algunos músicos ilustres de su tiempo (que acaban despellejados). Commando es la historia de Johnny y la peripecia de los Ramones contadas con la salvaje honestidad de quien jamás se mordió la lengua. El volumen contiene decenas de fotos inéditas y un pintoresco surtido de materiales complementarios: desde una evaluación de los discos ramonianos hecha por el propio Johnny a varias páginas de sus legendarios "libros negros" pasando por unas listas donde consigna sus muy insólitas preferencias. Esta obra no descansa en paz.
Writing with a voice as loud and direct as the music his band would be known for, late guitarist Johnny Ramone (n e John Cummings) recounts his lengthy rock and roll career in this eye-catching and readable memoir. A devout Republican who had no qualms with licensing songs for beer ads, and whose post-show ritual was heading to the nearest 7-11 for milk and cookies, Cummings was a true iconoclast, working tirelessly to promote The Ramones and maintain the band's brand identity. All the hard work paid off The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, and their fan base is as strong as ever. Longtime listeners looking for dirt will get some of that here Johnny wore silver lam pants for some of the band's early shows at CBGB; though credited, Dee Dee Ramone didn't actually play on many of the band's later albums due to substance abuse but the thrust of Cummings's story is his own take on history. Whether he's talking about censorship, blowing off a Saturday Night Live appearance due to a last-minute cancellation by the Sex Pistols ("We don't substitute for anybody"), or his battle with the cancer that would claim his life, Cummings' blunt approach is sure to give fans a greater appreciation for the guitarist and his legendary band. 60 color & b/w photos. Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Short, Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of A Confederacy of DuncesCory MacLauchlinDa Capo, $29 (288p) In this thoughtful and thorough biography, MacLauchlin recounts the short and tragic life of John Kennedy Toole, author of A Confederacy of Dunces a book cast aside by publishers during the author's life, but finally published and awarded the Pulitzer Prize after his suicide at 31-years-old. Born in New Orleans in 1937, Toole was the only son of a "pure" Creole mother and an Irish immigrant father, and was a precocious student growing up and at Tulane. MacLauchlin tracks Toole from his Cajun upbringing, to his graduate work at Columbia in New York City at a time when the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were basking in "newfound literary fame," and to his being drafted and stationed in Puerto Rico as an English teacher in 1960, during which assignment his book began to take shape. Unfortunately, finding a publisher for the idiosyncratic comic novel proved difficult; Simon & Schuster editor Robert Gottleib took interest in Toole and his work, but remained unconvinced that publishing A Confederacy of Dunces was a tenable business move. Meanwhile, Toole's mental health rapidly deteriorated, a process abetted by his work on the novel. The final days of the young writer's life are the hardest to recreate, but MacLauchlin does an admirable job distinguishing facts from speculations as he recounts the events leading up to Toole's suicide on a lonesome Mississippi roadside.