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Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  711 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Raised in Queens, New York, Johnny Ramone founded one of the most influential rock bands of all time, but he never strayed from his blue-collar roots and attitude. He was truly imbued with the angry-young-man spirit that would characterize his persona both on and off stage. Through it all, Johnny kept the band focused and moving forward, ultimately securing their place in ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published April 2nd 2012 by Harry N. Abrams (first published April 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 31, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
I considered it an act of Divine Providence that propped up on a shelf for the entire world and I to see “Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone”.

The Ramones: Rock n’ Roll’s fast and furious for twenty years. Sure they were in a movie, sure they had an album produced by Phil Spector, sure they were the front men for “punk”, but they never had a #1 hit. Personally, I thought they were great, and as Johnny says in this memoir, they only got bigger after retirement.

Every Ramones song was play
Jason McNamara
Apr 07, 2012 Jason McNamara rated it really liked it
Right away Johnny Ramone wants you to be aware of an important fact about him. He's a fucking asshole. He makes a great point to detail why he's such a bastard and by the end of the book I'm ready to be one too. He talks about beating people up, throwing televisions off of roofs at people, robbing stores and reports with glee that a person who once ratted him out was hit and killed by a car. He also talks about beating up joey ramone because he was late to a movie. Johnny stresses punctuality a ...more
Caryn Rose
Aug 20, 2012 Caryn Rose rated it it was amazing
I hated it, and then I liked it, and then I loved it. I have read pretty much everything that has been written by or about the Ramones, and was dreading this book. It's not pretty and it's not polished and there are times the writing is just so unbelievably dry I regretted even starting the book. But over time I grew to both like and respect Johnny a lot more than I ever did. I am sure every member of the band had their own take on who did what, but this actually ended up feeling more even-hande ...more
Scarlet Cameo
Sep 21, 2016 Scarlet Cameo rated it really liked it
Shelves: rc-16
"Cuando leas este libro es posible que yo ya no esté, pero he tenido una magnífica vida con independencia de cómo se haya torcido ahora."

Tamelyn Feinstein
I had to laugh at the media reviews above which speak of Ramone's book as being "delightful" and "charming". Um, no.

It's a fast-paced, energetic read, but there is nothing here that changed my previous impression of Johnny Ramone as being an arrogant and heartless control freak. There were times his sheer unlikeability made me want to throw the book across the room, but I can't say I wasn't entertained.
Alan Hamilton
Feb 10, 2013 Alan Hamilton rated it really liked it
What a fantastic book!

Just like a Ramones song, it is fast, no nonsense and brutally blunt.
Johnny described himself as unique, a legend and always right and the latter characteristic comes through loud and clear in the book.

Basically, Johnny was the Ramones. He was the angry, dour, control freak who held the band together and controlled everything band-related (the songs, the look, the gig deals, etc). For example, the 'new' drummer wasn't allowed to vote on band matters like wherher the band sh
Apr 13, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing
I read Joey's, I've read all of Dee Dee's now Johnny sheds light on his life and his time in the business. I've always been a fan and they will always be my favorite group of all time! Thanks for being there in my life when I needed you.
Dec 31, 2014 Daniel rated it it was amazing
After finally putting a stormy 2014 to an end, I decided to try and get 2015 off to the right start by burning through Johnny's autobiography on the first day of the year. This was my back-to-basics inspiration to get in-step with my own self, which took a strange course for most of the previous year. I needed to connect to something or someone and I always viewed Johnny as a father figure. Who better than to put you back on the right track than Johnny. It was on my doorstep when I returned home ...more
Jesús Santana
Oct 11, 2015 Jesús Santana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1… 2… 3… 4…

No hay discusión en algo, uno de los mejores guitarristas (considerado el número 16 de los “100 mejores de todos los tiempos por la Revista Rolling Stone”) del género musical conocido como Punk Rock se llamó John William Cummings un nombre bastante desconocido para muchos a menos que se diga mejor Johnny Ramone, principal exponente y co fundador de la banda llamada Ramones, una banda que tienen mucha historia y que ha influenciado a millones de músicos alrededor del mundo no solo dent
Nestor Rychtyckyj
Jan 24, 2013 Nestor Rychtyckyj rated it really liked it
I've pretty much read all of the books on the Ramones and this, along with "I Slept with Joey Ramone" are the essential cornerstones of any Ramones library. Johnny died in 2004 and this book is based on his writings and notes. This book is most like the Ramones - blunt and to the point - no filler, no guitar solos. Johnny was with the Ramones from start to finish and he ran the band like any CEO would run his company. It started as a passion for him, but he realized quickly that the Ramones were ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
Ramones' songs were written as if timed to a machine gun: short, fast, to the point, and--in particular--loud. That was the beauty of their music. Johnny's autobiography is written in likewise fashion. Yes, you even get the feeling as you read it that it's loud. The Ramones were the greatest rock n' roll band the world had ever known and Johnny just wants to remind us of this. Typical of anything dealing with the Ramones you most likely have to be a fan to appreciate it, but if you are a fan, yo ...more
Jul 24, 2014 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Ramones had a drill sergeant and very possibly owe their longevity and hence their ongoing influence to him. Actually, Johnny Ramone is a pretty extraordinary figure when you come down to it - a mythmaker revelling in his perceived toughness, a "clean-living" convert to rock as salvation from crime and drugs the way so many other people use religion, a lifelong conservative in a nominally creative and progressive field, a xenophobic (although not apparently racist) working-class man who hate ...more
May 22, 2016 Brendan rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
The conventional wisdom on the Ramones is that Johnny was an asshole, a heartless fascist who kept the trains running on time. Johnny's autobiography pretty much confirms this.

So: Johnny established the Ramones' look and ensured that a certain level of professionalism always attended their concerts. And he was disdainful of Joey's mental illness and Dee Dee's addiction, as well as contemptuous of...well, most people on earth, actually. He has no shame about mocking "fags" and "dykes" and was th
Aug 29, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
This is a great rock n'roll autobiography, though it's been put together by Ramone's estate (his words, though). It gives you the perfect amount of history on the band, personal history and behind-the-scenes gossip. Ramone is opinionated, and while aware his may not be the only point of view, it's the only one he sees as making sense. He's very blunt, and pretty funny. The book covers all aspects of his life, from the band, business decisions to his battle with cancer.

Ramone doesn't get too in-d
Stevie D
May 28, 2012 Stevie D rated it it was amazing


Like a good Ramones song , Commando is short, to the point and a fast read. Johnny pulls no punches here and says bluntly how he felt on everything and everyone, calling it as he saw it. Noone was spared, not even his musical peers in the CBGB days, fellow band members,as well as bagging on Rock Stars that surpassed the Ramones. He was a very proud man and that came thru in his writing. I've read quite a few Ramones biographies and books, as well as seen the movies. So it was finally go
Jeff Littrell
Oct 15, 2012 Jeff Littrell rated it really liked it
Excellent rock bio. I love that you can tell it's written by grouchy Johnny, himself. He can come off as a jerk at times. Sullen and distant. But he speaks honestly of the times, his band, and fellow punk stars like Debbie Harry ( he didn't like her ) and The Clash ( good friends and rivals ).The end of the book details in his own words his battle with cancer. Even stating at one point , "... as you read this, I may not be around anymore...". He's not and that's a bitch. He was a true punk pione ...more
Lorenzo Bugarin
Oct 29, 2012 Lorenzo Bugarin rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
I'm going to begin by saying that I love The Ramones. However, I didn't know much about them. Sure, I knew the albums, the songs, the members, and their lineup changes over the years but I didn't know anything about them. I was familiar with Joey because he was the front man but I had no idea that Johnny was the driving force behind arguably the greatest punk band of all time.

I had been looking to buy Henry Rollins's autobiography but by chance I caught a glimpse of Johnny's. I loved the clas
Steve Coscia
Mar 29, 2012 Steve Coscia rated it really liked it
New insight about Johnny in his own words. The text written near the end of his life is touching - he had no regrets. Johnny grew up only a few miles from me so I related to all the New York anecdotes and locations. He was structured and methodical as a business person, but his personal life had extreme behavioral swings. He makes no excuses - tells it like it was.
While some of this text has been published in past books and documentaries, there is enough fresh material here to keep it interesti
Jun 22, 2016 Rod rated it really liked it
I've been listening to the Ramones for 30 years. They wrote and recorded some great songs.

When music takes itself to seriously on occasion we have a need for a band like the Ramones to keep us on track. Short, fun, noisy, and charmingly ludicrous contributions to the quickly dying history of Rock music. The best thing is that Johnny Ramone fully understood this. And he made a lifelong career out of it.
...and I must say: Johnny is the PUNKEST punk on the planet. He even dared hang out with some
Dec 07, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
Knock off a star if you're not already a fan. The writing's pretty sloppy, but it's still interesting to hear the band's story straight from a founding member. The appendix where Johnny reviews each album is a plus.
Favorite bits of random trivia: Nixon is #2 on Johnny's top ten list of Republicans and while on tour, the Ramones enjoyed dining at Cracker Barrel.
Feb 21, 2015 Sher rated it it was amazing
Although I disagree with many of his world views, there is much to admire about the man known as Johnny Ramone. Clearly not afraid of the bold statement, he takes us on a tour through his life as only he could, with a unique voice both brutally straightforward and unapologetically contradictory.

Johnny's vibrance radiates from the very first page, so much so that towards the end of the book I stopped reading for a week or so, knowing of course that the inevitable was about to occur, but wanting
Jul 09, 2016 Michelle rated it did not like it
Johnny Ramone doesn't like Europe and lots of other things. How can one of the most influential sound-makers in punk rock be such a republican dick-wad? Find out in this book how everything you thought was punk is not at all what this guy is about. Also he is a pretty bad writer which is even worse than his political leanings and his continual use of the word 'faggot.'
Alfredo Blanco
Aug 17, 2015 Alfredo Blanco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He leído, al menos, unos diez libros autobiográficos de músicos y este libro es lo más apegado al concepto musical que rodea a la banda. La historia de Johnny Ramone se lee en un par de días; es amena, directa y llegadora. Es como escuchar a los Ramones por primera vez, al final describe la filosofía de trabajo de la banda, tiene un apartado al final donde describe cada uno de sus discos con una que otra anécdota que los fanáticos agradecerán, son de esas cosas que platicas en medio de una borra ...more
Matt Chic
Mar 21, 2012 Matt Chic rated it it was amazing
This is an easy five stars --the Ramones' story as told by the brains behind the band.

Johnny's my favorite Ramone, even though he's a jerk. But he was only jerk because he was smart, organized, and a no-bullshit kind of dude. And he understood that the Ramones needed to be a business as much as a band. The Ramones just wouldn't be the Ramones if it wasn't for him.

If yer already a fan, there's nothing too mind blowing in the book, but there's some interesting little nuggets, and I laughed out lou
Don Inman
Jul 14, 2015 Don Inman rated it liked it
Hi, my name is Don and I'm a music nerd.
I like the Ramones music. It was really different in a time when everything wasn't. But I had a hard time reading this book. I don't know how to codify the style but shotgun comes close. If I put it down for any length of time, which I did frequently, I had to back up a few pages to get back in his rhythm of prose. The stories of the love triangles and money struggles are a quintessential part of any "garage" type band. Their experiences on the road remind
Arthur dos Santos
O livro é curto e direto ao ponto, como qualquer canção dos Ramones. Há uma série de coisas sobre a personalidade de Johnny que impressionam o leitor que está acostumado a imagem dos Ramones, porque como revela o próprio autor, essa era uma imagem construída para um certo propósito. E funcionou. Que fã imaginaria que Johnny era um republicano, a favor da pena de morte e de bombardear o Vietnã? Mas ainda assim, ele era um cara muito correto, que antes de pensar em montar uma banda, almejava para ...more
John Porcellino
Jan 03, 2015 John Porcellino rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, history
I didn't go into this book expecting much, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. JR's voice comes clearly through, and unlike many musician-penned books, which can be almost unreadable, this is entertaining, conversational, and loose, but still holds together well.

The stuff in the back (lists of his favorite records etc) should be filler, but is as interesting as the meat of the book. Fans of the Ramones will love this.
Aug 09, 2012 Johannah rated it really liked it
I really like the Ramones but they weren't really a band I knew anything about. Johnny's autobiography is a fun and easy read. It's written in such a conversational and casual style that makes you feel like he's just sitting there telling stories, some meandering, some short and really tangential, some just hilarious. I highly recommend this fun book, it's bound to make you appreciate the Ramones even more.
Apr 26, 2012 Jeremy rated it liked it
I can't say this is actually a well written book, but I really enjoyed reading it. It reads like a transcription of Johnny talking--lots of asides and digressions. It's really well put together, though, with lots of great photographs. He even throws in a couple of solid right-wing ideas, too: we should have bombed Vietnam into oblivian, and executions should be televised. Hey-ho, let's dont.
Eric Henderson
Mar 28, 2015 Eric Henderson rated it really liked it
I never got Johnny Ramone. I love the music, but I liked Dee Dee and Joey, and always just thought Johnny was an asshole - he looked so mean all the time. Having rocked through this book, which was highly enjoyable and very easy to read, my opinion has changed, a little bit. I still think he was an asshole, but now I know that he was a congruent asshole. He was just a guy who formed all his major opinions about the world by about age 15 and then held onto them for the rest of his life. The stori ...more
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I need to know before I buy...Please help! 3 10 Dec 02, 2015 11:31AM  
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Guitarist for the punk rock band the Ramones
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“I was driving in Los Angeles, and somebody called out to me, “Hey, you’re driving a Cadillac. How’s that? How are you a punk if you’re driving a Cadillac?” I said, “What the fuck are you talking about? I wrote the book on punk. I decide what’s punk. If I’m driving a Cadillac, it’s punk.” 4 likes
“I saw the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium. I took in a bag of rocks to throw at them, snuck them in under my coat, but they were too far away to hit, like out at second base, and I was in the stands, pretty far back. I had to just watch the show. I” 0 likes
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