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I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Punk Rock Family Memoir

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“A powerful story of punk-rock inspiration and a great rock bio” (Rolling Stone), now in paperback. When the Ramones recorded their debut album in 1976, it heralded the true birth of punk rock. Unforgettable front man Joey Ramone gave voice to the disaffected youth of the seventies and eighties, and the band influenced the counterculture for decades to come. With honesty, h “A powerful story of punk-rock inspiration and a great rock bio” (Rolling Stone), now in paperback. When the Ramones recorded their debut album in 1976, it heralded the true birth of punk rock. Unforgettable front man Joey Ramone gave voice to the disaffected youth of the seventies and eighties, and the band influenced the counterculture for decades to come. With honesty, humor, and grace, Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh, shares a fascinating, intimate look at the turbulent life of one of America’s greatest—and unlikeliest—music icons. While the music lives on for new generations to discover, I Slept with Joey Ramone is the enduring portrait of a man who struggled to find his voice and of the brother who loved him.


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“A powerful story of punk-rock inspiration and a great rock bio” (Rolling Stone), now in paperback. When the Ramones recorded their debut album in 1976, it heralded the true birth of punk rock. Unforgettable front man Joey Ramone gave voice to the disaffected youth of the seventies and eighties, and the band influenced the counterculture for decades to come. With honesty, h “A powerful story of punk-rock inspiration and a great rock bio” (Rolling Stone), now in paperback. When the Ramones recorded their debut album in 1976, it heralded the true birth of punk rock. Unforgettable front man Joey Ramone gave voice to the disaffected youth of the seventies and eighties, and the band influenced the counterculture for decades to come. With honesty, humor, and grace, Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh, shares a fascinating, intimate look at the turbulent life of one of America’s greatest—and unlikeliest—music icons. While the music lives on for new generations to discover, I Slept with Joey Ramone is the enduring portrait of a man who struggled to find his voice and of the brother who loved him.

30 review for I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Punk Rock Family Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    SarahJayn

    As far as reading this book, I honestly wish I hadn't. If I hadn't, I could still cling to some of the more romantic notions I had about Joey Ramone . . . and The Ramones in general. Sure, I'd heard the stories before of bitter fights about money, mental illness, etc., but somehow it is different hearing it from Joey's own brother. There's a mist of bitterness in almost every sentence in this tale . . . it gets downright caustic sometimes. That aside, a smaller (very small) part of me is glad fo As far as reading this book, I honestly wish I hadn't. If I hadn't, I could still cling to some of the more romantic notions I had about Joey Ramone . . . and The Ramones in general. Sure, I'd heard the stories before of bitter fights about money, mental illness, etc., but somehow it is different hearing it from Joey's own brother. There's a mist of bitterness in almost every sentence in this tale . . . it gets downright caustic sometimes. That aside, a smaller (very small) part of me is glad for the honesty. Even in the midst of bitterness, there's really humanity and a sense of loss - - it's almost like he's describing a mourned relationship between brothers that never quite was instead of mourning the brother that he had. There's real love between these two, but throughout the book you're wondering if it is mostly out of obligation or real connection. I think most of the time it's a volatile mix of a little of both. If you don't mind having one of your heroes taken down a peg or two (or you don't give a shit about The Ramones), this book is a decent read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Xixi

    What I learned from this book: Sure SUCKS to be Joey Ramone's brother. Not only do you get shit on repeatedly by your more famous and troubled older sibling, but your enormous load of potential and talent never fulfills its promise, because your family sabotages it along the way. (And there's no dearth of examples to back up this claim.) But, alas, all is forgiven now that there's a book around to vindicate the author and clear his name of all the evil rumors his brother had been spreading during What I learned from this book: Sure SUCKS to be Joey Ramone's brother. Not only do you get shit on repeatedly by your more famous and troubled older sibling, but your enormous load of potential and talent never fulfills its promise, because your family sabotages it along the way. (And there's no dearth of examples to back up this claim.) But, alas, all is forgiven now that there's a book around to vindicate the author and clear his name of all the evil rumors his brother had been spreading during their tumultuous relationship. Mickey just wants us to know... he never stopped loving his brother. And essentially, he sacrificed his own musical aspirations to do what was right: to help Jeff. ---------- I guess I would recommend this book if you're interested in Joey Ramone's upbringing. That covers about half of it. But prepare to be smacked in the face with pages upon pages of self-righteous, self-pitying, subdued bitter vignettes about Joey's and the Ramones' life after fame, most of which center around how they did everything in their power to fuck Mickey's music career up despite him helping them out as much as possible. I understand that, yes, this is his book, and inevitably, he can only describe things as he saw it, but halfway through, you get the feeling that this book is not about Joey, but rather about how the humble, down to earth guy-you-can't-help-but-like was swallowed up by a greater calling (to take care of his sickly older brother). What a martyr. The only way to get through this book is to surrender to the author's self-importance. The amount of time he spends talking about himself and his own bands only increases as the book goes on. I'm sure Mickey Leigh is a perfectly nice and amicable guy, but do I care about him? No, not really. Do I care that Joey Ramone was a dick to everyone who cared about him? Sure, but I don't need it rubbed in my face over and over again. But, that being said, it was a fast read. Maybe you can borrow this from someone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Connie Kuntz

    When I think about what rock-n-roll "means" to me, I go blank. I feel like I should think of sex, drugs, booze, cigarettes, Fashion Week, you know, Rock-N-Roll (!), but I don't. Nope. I just go blank. Ooooom. The reason this happens is because I believe that rock-n-roll is pure joy and that only the warmest souls who have a firm grasp on the concept that Shit Happens can create it. That is why I like The Ramones so much. I enjoyed every page of this book. It is a very detailed memoir about the gl When I think about what rock-n-roll "means" to me, I go blank. I feel like I should think of sex, drugs, booze, cigarettes, Fashion Week, you know, Rock-N-Roll (!), but I don't. Nope. I just go blank. Ooooom. The reason this happens is because I believe that rock-n-roll is pure joy and that only the warmest souls who have a firm grasp on the concept that Shit Happens can create it. That is why I like The Ramones so much. I enjoyed every page of this book. It is a very detailed memoir about the glories, impurities and realities of the rise and fall of The Ramones, in particular, Joey Ramone (Jeff Hyman.) It also reveals (without exploiting) the mental illness Joey Ramone battled. The book was written by Joey's brother, Mickey Leigh (Mitch Hyman.) I've never actually witnessed brothers behaving as brothers before. I have a brother and I have a son and I have a husband and I have some male friends, but I only know them as individuals. I have never witnessed them with their brothers, mostly because most of them don't have brothers, therefore I've never had a glimpse into the concept that is brotherhood. That is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. I gained a brand new perspective on the art of brotherhood. It's a complicated relationship, I see. I think Mickey Leigh did a great job presenting alternative perspectives about Joey and all of the Ramones and the people surrounding them. He examines OCD, schizophrenia, drug abuse, paranoia, sexism, violence, divorce, cancer, parental relationships, death and dying. I would like to point out that the author wrote the book in a way that even though it is his memoir, it isn't soley about him. It is not selfishly written. I really appreciate how the author writes about his memories of everyone, and doesn't just give us "his take." He has some anger, who doesn't, but he isn't jaded. He is, however, stubborn... I truly did enjoy this book but it got me to thinking about something strange and that is that I would never want anyone, let alone one of my siblings, to write a book about me. (I realize that isn't going to ever happen, but I have an active imagination.) I'm quite certain they would get it all wrong and I'm pretty sure I would go ballistic with rage. I almost feel sorry for the person who has to deliver my eulogy because I am quite certain, if given the possibility, I would haunt his ass forever. That is just me. Ironically enough, I would thoroughly enjoy writing books and articles about other people. I learned a lot from this book, the main thing being that no matter what your work is, even if you are a full fledged rock star, work is...work. *Feel free to exchange "punk" for "rock" at any given time in this review. I simply cannot articulate the difference.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    The Ramones stand as one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Coalescing in 1974, they came around at an era when rock music had stagnated into noodling solos and a lot of folks riding horses with no names. The Ramones built on the framework provided by proto-punk bands like the Stooges and the MC5, distilling the basic 3-chord song structure down to its most primal level. Their songs were often less than 2 minutes long, all speed and fury. No solos, no posturing, just the amplified e The Ramones stand as one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Coalescing in 1974, they came around at an era when rock music had stagnated into noodling solos and a lot of folks riding horses with no names. The Ramones built on the framework provided by proto-punk bands like the Stooges and the MC5, distilling the basic 3-chord song structure down to its most primal level. Their songs were often less than 2 minutes long, all speed and fury. No solos, no posturing, just the amplified essence of what made rock music so liberating and fun in the first place. The Ramones were a direct influence on the Sex Pistols and The Clash, who caught their act when they played London in 1976. All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname "Ramone," although none of them were related. They adopted a deliberately “anti-hippie” look and style, wearing leather jackets and jeans in lieu of bell bottoms and flowing caftans. Their music was pure aggression, and they nurtured an attitude to match. By 2014, all four of the band's original members, lead singer Joey Ramone (1951–2001), bass guitarist Dee Dee Ramone (1951–2002), guitarist Johnny Ramone (1948–2004) and drummer Tommy Ramone (1949–2014), had died. Any book covering any aspect of the Ramones is due for some scrutiny for the simple fact that a lot of people see this band as something sacred. The Ramones helped to define a generation. They rose above the music to help give voice to an entire lifestyle and attitude, and that's a lot of weight and history to carry around. Enter Mickey Leigh's book, “I Slept With Joey Ramone.” Mickey is Joey Ramone’s younger brother and a player on the punk and New York music scene in his own right. That fact puts him in a position to give us insights into Joey and the band that no one else could, and I think that to a large degree he succeeds here. His writing is a bit sloppy sometimes, trying to be equal parts autobiography, family memoir, biography of Joey, and chronicle of an evolving music/cultural scene. In the end, though, I think that it mostly works, giving us a raw yet (mostly) loving picture of the extended family dynamics that drove one of the truly original and great rock groups. It's clear, though, that Mickey is still a bit bitter about some of that family history. He grinds a pretty hard axe on Joey at numerous points during the book, and there were times that it threatened to derail the narrative. The photo section is also inexcusably weak. Surely Mickey could have opened the family vaults just a little bit so as to give us a more intimate look at what his text was describing. Joey Ramone comes across as a pretty genuine guy. Shy and awkward, he was a nice, though street-savvy presence. Tall and skinny, he and Mickey and the rest of the Ramones would fight their way to a sort of pseudo-stardom. Though The Ramones were never really commercially viable, they were a huge influence on literally hundreds or perhaps thousands of bands to come along in their wake. Joey was truly disappointed that the band never achieved mainstream success. Overall I believe that this was a worthwhile effort and something that would be worth having if you're a fan of the band or of punk rock in general. Keep in mind that this is written from Mickey's perspective, and as such it's biased. I did get the impression that Mickey truly loved Joey, and wants this book to validate that fact. Legs McNeil contributed a lot of material to this book, and his involvement helps to give the book added credibility. McNeil co-founded “Punk” magazine back in the day, thus giving a name and a definition to this budding music/social movement. He also wrote “Please Kill Me,” one of the definitive accounts of the development of New York punk rock. Coda: this is another of my older reviews that I edited and added some material to. My direct memories of this book are not as sharp as they were, but I don’t feel much need to go back and reread it. My clearest recollections are of Mickey and Joey’s childhoods, the sibling rivalry providing for some good stories and reminiscences. I also seem to remember that Mickey Leigh seemed to be a bit bitter in places. He was honest enough to admit that he roadied for The Ramones, but you could tell that he wasn’t too thrilled to be schlepping cabinets and instruments around for his more successful and famous brother and his band. Overall, it was a good read and well worth the time if you’re a fan of The Ramones. It’s bittersweet for me now, knowing that all of the original members of the band have passed away. The Ramones were part and parcel of a special time for me, and they occupy a special place in the cultural history of rock and roll. There are better books on the market about the band, but you could do worse than this one. .

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Detroit

    I’d be hard pressed – particularly after a few bottles of suds – to name my favorite band of all time, but the Ramones are always lurking at or near the top of the short list. No one’s life or record collection can truly be complete without all of their studio albums (and “It’s Alive”). Forget Anita Bryant and orange juice; a day without the Ramones is like a day without sunshine. But despite their genius for effortlessly and endlessly combining the same three chords, more hooks than a drunken o I’d be hard pressed – particularly after a few bottles of suds – to name my favorite band of all time, but the Ramones are always lurking at or near the top of the short list. No one’s life or record collection can truly be complete without all of their studio albums (and “It’s Alive”). Forget Anita Bryant and orange juice; a day without the Ramones is like a day without sunshine. But despite their genius for effortlessly and endlessly combining the same three chords, more hooks than a drunken office golf outing, and lyrics about mental illness, girls, microcephaly, and huffing airplane cement and household cleaning products into songs that will stop you in your tracks, slacken your jaw, and seal that hole in your soul - even for a quick two minutes and change – there was a VERY dark side to Forest Hills’ finest that has been written about over the years in fits and starts but by no one with a seat as close to all of the dysfunction as Joey’s brother and early Ramones roadie Mickey Leigh. From a broken-home childhood fraught with bullying, the diagnosis of Joey as a certified paranoid-schizophrenic, a raftload of dope, pills, and opiates, and an epiphany via Alice Cooper’s “The Ballad of Dwight Fry” to a stunted adulthood that amounted to nothing more than a claustrophobic 20-year van ride across the globe - the Ramones packing 'em in everywhere but over here in the land of milk and honey, returning from trips outside the continental 48 to anoint the faithful only to play the same old clubs from New Haven to Bakersfield - it’s all here and revealed with unflinching candor. Joey, a fan's heart beating eternally in his chest but saddled with a cornucopia of physical and emotional maladies and self-image problems - in particular a crippling case of obsessive-compulsive disorder - clings to an 18-year grudge against Johnny over a woman (what else?) like a hyena to a wildebeest leg, refusing to file any pretensions to stardom and music biz acceptance in folders marked “myth” and “pipedream,” something the rest of the band did after the Phil Spector-produced “End of the Century” fell on deaf dimwit ears. Some dreams die hard. Those expecting an aggrandizing portrait of Johnny as the band's personal Mussolini won't be too disappointed, the former John Cummings apparently not much concerned with karma while browbeating bandmates, slapping around girlfriends, and generally living life as one of the biggest d’bags in the history of rock and roll. He was a great guitarist, but a complete dick as a human being. Eventually, the full-tilt lockstep of the Ramones’ live performances (over 2,200 in all) and all of the head games, posturing, and trying to mark territory clearly wears down Joey - never the most robust guy healthwise to begin with - reducing him to slurring lyrics and in some cases flat-out omitting them in order to keep pace. And who can blame him? He was never built for the long haul in the first place. Nor were Johnny or Dee Dee, all three probably still arguing off in the ether somewhere about songwriting credits, who sits where in the van, and most of this book. Get your wallet out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Josh Bayer

    I first encountered this book when my brother tossed it my way saying he didn't want it but i thought It was cool, down to earth and intensively interesting. maybe you must come from the same sort of alien world Joey and His brother Mickey Leigh came from to be as engaged as i was. Heres a quick Pro's and Cons list of the book's attributes. On a pro side, you will discover a new love of the Ramones music by reading this book. I found myself looking up obscure tracks from Subterranean Jungle Adio I first encountered this book when my brother tossed it my way saying he didn't want it but i thought It was cool, down to earth and intensively interesting. maybe you must come from the same sort of alien world Joey and His brother Mickey Leigh came from to be as engaged as i was. Heres a quick Pro's and Cons list of the book's attributes. On a pro side, you will discover a new love of the Ramones music by reading this book. I found myself looking up obscure tracks from Subterranean Jungle Adios Amigos and Animal Boy and revisiting them or with a new sense of the autobiographical sensibility that ran through the songs. The book gives yopu a good sense of some of the opposing forces that ran through Joey and made him who he was I wish there was as well written a book about Dee Dee. You will learn more about the fascination with Nazi themes that ran through the band's lyrics.about how the The Ramones dealt with the rise of hard core in punk rock and watch the members face drug addiction, exiting members, middle age and every other celebrated conflict throughout their career. On a con side, Mickey sounds as potentially self deluded as any one writing a memoir. You cant trust guys who have another chance to set the record straight and make themselves out to be noble and justified. Every answer Mickey gives about his strained relationship with Joey raises more questions about what the other side of the story may be. Joey at times comes off as selfish, immature and jealous of Mickey's potential success, while Mickey is always steadfast and a sort of sympathetic underdog, and it all seems a little hard to take at face value. But Mickey also clearly loves and respects his brother and the flaws are probably inevitable with this type of book. Good for Mickey for writing it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nestor Rychtyckyj

    Along with Johnny Ramones autobiograohy, the Joey Ramone memoir writtne by Mickey Leigh (Joey's brother) and Legs McNeil (of Please Kill Ne and Punk magazine) is essential to trying to understand the Ramones. These 4 guys managed to start a rock & roll revolution that is still reverberating 35 years later. This book is acually more about Mickey & Joey than it is about Joey and Johnny or Dee Dee. The book is hard to put down - in many ways Joey's sucess with the Ramones is shown as a counter to M Along with Johnny Ramones autobiograohy, the Joey Ramone memoir writtne by Mickey Leigh (Joey's brother) and Legs McNeil (of Please Kill Ne and Punk magazine) is essential to trying to understand the Ramones. These 4 guys managed to start a rock & roll revolution that is still reverberating 35 years later. This book is acually more about Mickey & Joey than it is about Joey and Johnny or Dee Dee. The book is hard to put down - in many ways Joey's sucess with the Ramones is shown as a counter to Mickey's lack of success in the same field. Each time Mickey's bands are on the verge of some sucess - it comes craahing down. We all know how the story will tutn out, but it's hard to take. I often wonder why Mickey didn't become a lawyer or an engineer and not have to compared to and always known as Joey's brother. Mickey's relations with Johhny Ramone aren't much better and its painful to see how Joey failed to stand up for his brother when Mickey tried to get credit (and payment) for his contributions to the Ramones. In the end Mickey and Joey were brothers and they reconciled their differences (as Joey & Johnny never did). Mickey has worked tirelessly to keep his brother's legacy alive with the excellent solo album that was released earlier this year. In the end I gave both the Joey & Johnny books only 4 stars. Is there anything wrong with the books - no, I loved them both. Maybe, I just did not want to know all the details about the petty bickering, inability to hold conversations and other skeletons in the Ramones closet. I guess that I wanted to be lile Riff Randall in Rock & Roll High School - believing that the Ramones are 4 brothers who get along and are the greatest band in the world. Gabba Gabb Hey! RIP Joey!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    Started 2/23/10. Finished 3/3/10. First of all, I was never a HUGE Ramones fan. I like the Ramones and I have a shit-ton of respect for what they accomplished in breaking new ground and really establishing the punk scene in the US, but I just don't know a lot of their stuff beyond the 8 or 10 big songs. Their music was the inspiration for SO MANY bands and artists that I love, and for that I love them. This book was not a biography of Joey Ramone, as you might expect, nor was it a biography of the Started 2/23/10. Finished 3/3/10. First of all, I was never a HUGE Ramones fan. I like the Ramones and I have a shit-ton of respect for what they accomplished in breaking new ground and really establishing the punk scene in the US, but I just don't know a lot of their stuff beyond the 8 or 10 big songs. Their music was the inspiration for SO MANY bands and artists that I love, and for that I love them. This book was not a biography of Joey Ramone, as you might expect, nor was it a biography of the band as a whole. This was very much what the title indicates, a family memoir. Because Joey Ramone was who he was and because the Ramones did what they did, I think a band biography, or a biography about Joey would be great. This wasn't it, and I feel like this book sort of shut the door on that possibility. It was enough detail about Joey and the band to block out future projects, but not enough to satisfy. I now have a love/hate relationship with Mickey Leigh. In part, after all that he wrote here about how private and painfully shy Joey always was, and how much he hated having things written about him, I can't help but feel like Joey would've hated the very idea of this book. That makes me feel like Mickey wrote it in part to cash in on Joey's name and on being his brother in ways that he never did when Joey was alive. The book alternates from being a really touching story about their relationship and the ways that it evolved over the years, to being a whiny bitchfest about how much Mickey did for Joey and the Ramones and how much he sacrificed in his own life and career for them, all without ever receiving the acknowledgment or money he deserved for it. And there was a lot of the latter going on, which I really could've done without. I get it Mickey - you helped write a lot of those songs, and you never got your acknowledgements or royalties; you sang background on "Blitzkrieg Pop" and never saw a dime for it; you worked as a roadie making only $60/week traveling all over the world; being Joey's brother hurt your attempts at being a rock star yourself. Enough. The parts about their relationship and family life were touching and enjoyable, though. It put Joey in a whole new light for me to learn about the struggles he had his whole life with illness after illness, not to mention the severe OCD that plagued him until he died. Overall, the book was interesting and I'm glad I read it, but I think it would've been better if some of Mickey Leigh's incessant whining had been replaced with a little more detail about the workings of the band. If you're a Ramones fan, I think this is probably a must-read, but if not, don't bother.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy Hasenbein

    gosh, while this book was a decent read, it felt like i was reading the whinings of a resentful little brother who never made it. this was a fear of mine going into the book but thought it might have some credibility with legs mcneil as the co-author. granted, joey ramone...and all of the other ramones...was a flawed, imperfect brute. these guys weren't respected for their emotional maturity. i'm not sure what the motivation in writing the book was for the author but it just left me feeling sad fo gosh, while this book was a decent read, it felt like i was reading the whinings of a resentful little brother who never made it. this was a fear of mine going into the book but thought it might have some credibility with legs mcneil as the co-author. granted, joey ramone...and all of the other ramones...was a flawed, imperfect brute. these guys weren't respected for their emotional maturity. i'm not sure what the motivation in writing the book was for the author but it just left me feeling sad for joey to have a brother who chose to air the family's dirty laundry after joey passed away.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Gurr

    Such a great book! When I was a teenager, I wanted Joey Ramone to be my boyfriend. There is just something very endearing about him. However, after reading this book, there are just some things I wish I hadn't learned about him. Like the fact that he suffered from schizophrenia and OCD and was difficult to deal with at times. People took advantage of him, especially the band. He didn't stand up for himself very often and people walked all over him. But when he did take a stand over something, he Such a great book! When I was a teenager, I wanted Joey Ramone to be my boyfriend. There is just something very endearing about him. However, after reading this book, there are just some things I wish I hadn't learned about him. Like the fact that he suffered from schizophrenia and OCD and was difficult to deal with at times. People took advantage of him, especially the band. He didn't stand up for himself very often and people walked all over him. But when he did take a stand over something, he could be malicious. He did have a heart of gold and was mostly a very gentle sweet man. I think that is how I will choose to remember him. I will always <3 Joey Ramone, RIP.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    Jeff's brother Mitchell - Joey's brother Mickey - really accomplished something special in this book, a book which is an act of love and a tribute that manages the fear of not being hagiographic. This is, of course, in no small measure due to the able work of Legs McNeil, who can construct a fascinating narrative out of what must be hundreds of hours of conversation, so you have this book which is, by the way, also very informative. Out of all the Ramones books, this one really does justice to Jo Jeff's brother Mitchell - Joey's brother Mickey - really accomplished something special in this book, a book which is an act of love and a tribute that manages the fear of not being hagiographic. This is, of course, in no small measure due to the able work of Legs McNeil, who can construct a fascinating narrative out of what must be hundreds of hours of conversation, so you have this book which is, by the way, also very informative. Out of all the Ramones books, this one really does justice to Joey, explaining in a way that only a loving younger brother can, what Joey's life struggle were really about. I think even most fans don't appreciate just how sick Joey was, how much adversity he faced just to get through a day. With the support of a loving family and with his own inner light, twisted talent, and originality, Joey Ramone found the alchemy to survive, to persevere, to transform weakness into strength, the strength to be an original, to be a hero for the weird, and to be a major catalyst in enacting significant cultural change. Joey did this with help - Mickey makes it clear that without the Ramones Joey may well have ended up institutionalized. And yet - the very thing that saved him also served as an unending source of misery to him. The real tragedy of Joey Ramone's success - and indeed of all the Ramones - is that despite achieving said success and significance, Joey never fully appreciated who and what he was. On some level Joey and the Ramones were trying to be the Who or Led Zeppelin, and they just were not going to be that, and somehow none of them realized it. There was not going to be a hit about Wanna be doing this or not Wanna be doing that. There was not going to be a stadium in the 1970s or 1980s full of people raising their lighters for songs about b-movies and mental illness and UFOs and turning tricks and pain. But precisely because of that, they created something entirely new. And on top of that, what success they did enjoy - and there was much of it - was tempered by the horrible interpersonal lot of the Ramones, mostly, but not entirely, caused by John. Measured by that, the gap between expectation and reality, Joey Ramone was a failure. He did live to play stadiums and an occasional quarter of a million dollar gig, but his enjoyment of that was tempered by seeing proteges and proteges of proteges passing him by. And through it all, he struggled with disappointing health setbacks and near-crippling OCD, and he never did make it to 50. But that is not the true measure of Joey Ramone, and by every other measure he was a success. But this is Mickey's book, too, and Mickey has much to say. From childhood Mickey was put in the position of having to nurture and look after his big brother - he even taught Joey to play guitar. Ever a true brother, friend, and support, Mickey was there from the beginning - first fan, first roadie, and even to lend his handclaps, background "oo"s and more in the studio. This last fact was an eventual source of strain between the two brothers, all recounted in gruesome detail here. Mickey is not afraid to let other voices speak, even those who were hostile to him and his account (eg, Daniel Rey). Ultimately, even when Mickey is recounting ways in which Joey did and said extremely hurtful things, he never portrays Joey in an unforgivable light. The love is always there. One of the lessons of this book is how important family is. Towards the end it wasn't platitudes from Green Day that got Joey through to the other side, but it was his mom and his brother who were there from the beginning. All of that said, it should not be understated that Joey Ramone was not an unlucky person. He overcame adversity, and dealt with his many problems, but he had much to feel blessed for. He achieved many of his goals, certainly earning the respect of his peers and even his idols (like Phil Spector), to say nothing of adoring students and fans. Unlike Dee Dee Ramone, who is maybe even more of a tragic figure, Joey seems to have achieved solid financial comfort. He was never destroyed by drugs. He was a beloved local figure, highly regarded and treated as important and he knew it. He got to do the things he enjoyed, hosting parties, deejaying, and musically collaborating with artists he liked. He had his family, in which he was the golden boy. He did not have longevity though - and I cannot understate how weird it was when he was gone, because Joey Ramone as an institution seemed very solidly rooted. Beyond the music, the humanity and special character of a one-of-a-kind original man, will live on and this is in part thanks to Mickey Leigh's loving tribute to his big brother Jeff - I Slept With Joey Ramone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    a few things: If you're a hardcore Ramones fan (like myself), be prepared to cry. ALOT. If you just start reading it, keep reading, don't stop, read all the thank you's in the back, read the print information, the author info. Just keep reading. You will love this book like i did and the only thing that's keeping it from a full 5 is the unavoidable ending. Call me cheesy, but it really was a tear jerker. it was a perfect add to my collection and really opened my eyes to the chemistry of the band, a few things: If you're a hardcore Ramones fan (like myself), be prepared to cry. ALOT. If you just start reading it, keep reading, don't stop, read all the thank you's in the back, read the print information, the author info. Just keep reading. You will love this book like i did and the only thing that's keeping it from a full 5 is the unavoidable ending. Call me cheesy, but it really was a tear jerker. it was a perfect add to my collection and really opened my eyes to the chemistry of the band, and it points to some milestones in both Mickey Leigh's and Joey's lives. from one fan to another, it's a just a good book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Learning about Joey and the relationship among the band was interesting and slightly disappointing. I like the Ramones a lot so the constant fighting was a little disheartening. My biggest issue with the book was actually how annoying the brother was. We get it you are also a musician but I didn't read this to hear your constant bitching about how Joey never gave you credit and you never made it big. Learning about Joey and the relationship among the band was interesting and slightly disappointing. I like the Ramones a lot so the constant fighting was a little disheartening. My biggest issue with the book was actually how annoying the brother was. We get it you are also a musician but I didn't read this to hear your constant bitching about how Joey never gave you credit and you never made it big.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Legs McNeill and Mickey Leigh did a very good job with this bio. If you read one punk rock book this holiday season, make it this one! It's sad that apparently Joey's treatment for OCD was pretty hit or miss even later in his life after he quit drinking. Usually these days most books could stand with some drastic editing, but the writing here isn't sloppy and maintains the standard of humor you would expect from Joey's brother and one of the early champions of The Ramones. Mickey/Mitchell does re Legs McNeill and Mickey Leigh did a very good job with this bio. If you read one punk rock book this holiday season, make it this one! It's sad that apparently Joey's treatment for OCD was pretty hit or miss even later in his life after he quit drinking. Usually these days most books could stand with some drastic editing, but the writing here isn't sloppy and maintains the standard of humor you would expect from Joey's brother and one of the early champions of The Ramones. Mickey/Mitchell does repeat himself a bit about Joey's crazy-making behavior and lack of interpersonal skills, but ultimately it's a very powerful portrait, and it's very sweet (no shit!)that Mickey got a good couple of months in at Joey's side near the end. He comes off as a pretty decent and interesting guy himself, not self-aggrandizing but honest. I love the Mickey Leigh bands STOP and The Rattlers and am thankful the CDs put out by said bands are still available through the magic of the internets. My favorite line in this book is Dee Dee's explanation of their early output, where he explains that the band didn't do a positive song until they put out "Now I Want to Sniff Some Glue." Yeah, bright-sided as all get out!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book is really good insight into Joey Ramones and the Ramones in general. I enjoyed the beginning of this book a little more than the end. Near the end of Joey's life, he and his brother had several disagreements and weren't speaking. They did reconcile. So near the end of the book, there is less and less about Joey. The book is really a family memoir about Joey and his brother Mickey (also a musician). I could have done with less info about Mickey. I understand it is all context, but I am j This book is really good insight into Joey Ramones and the Ramones in general. I enjoyed the beginning of this book a little more than the end. Near the end of Joey's life, he and his brother had several disagreements and weren't speaking. They did reconcile. So near the end of the book, there is less and less about Joey. The book is really a family memoir about Joey and his brother Mickey (also a musician). I could have done with less info about Mickey. I understand it is all context, but I am just not that interested in him. So if you read this book, there are a few all Mickey chapters that you could skip if you feel similarly. If you are not a fan of Joey Ramone (after this book, it is really hard to be a fan of anyone else in the band-- and even Joey had his flaws), this is still a great look at sibling relationships and their complexities. I also question Mickey's motives for writing this book. Joey and both their parents are deceased leaving no one to defend themselves or give a different side of the story. Mickey never "made it" in the music business to the degree the Ramones eventually enjoyed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    This book easily fits into my top 10 of 2010. That said, you need to be a music fan of more than passing fancy. I would call myself a music geek, maybe even QUEEN of the music geeks! The book is written by Mitchell Hyman (aka Mickey Leigh of the Rattlers), brother of Jeffry Hyman better known as Joey Ramone. You'd think this would be a tale of, sex-drug-and-rock-and-roll.. and to an extent it is. More so it's a story of relationships, religious, race and economic bigotry, the birth of a genre an This book easily fits into my top 10 of 2010. That said, you need to be a music fan of more than passing fancy. I would call myself a music geek, maybe even QUEEN of the music geeks! The book is written by Mitchell Hyman (aka Mickey Leigh of the Rattlers), brother of Jeffry Hyman better known as Joey Ramone. You'd think this would be a tale of, sex-drug-and-rock-and-roll.. and to an extent it is. More so it's a story of relationships, religious, race and economic bigotry, the birth of a genre and the disintegration of a dream. The imagery is so rich you can almost smell it (in the case of the famed CBJBs ew). Fans of The Ramones will be shocked, pissed off, elated and empathetic. If you weren't a fan you might not get the full experience BUT it's still a great read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kalen

    Fascinating history of the Ramones, told from Mickey Leigh's (Joey's younger brother) perspective. But wow, this was a slow, long read. It was mostly enjoyable but about 100 pages could have been knocked out, easily. Somewhere between the first quarter and the last, there was a lot of "lather, rinse, repeat": Joey and Mickey are fighting, no one in the band is talking to each other, Mickey is broke, Mickey is angry, Joey is angry.... A little of that goes a long way. Hardcore Ramones fans will en Fascinating history of the Ramones, told from Mickey Leigh's (Joey's younger brother) perspective. But wow, this was a slow, long read. It was mostly enjoyable but about 100 pages could have been knocked out, easily. Somewhere between the first quarter and the last, there was a lot of "lather, rinse, repeat": Joey and Mickey are fighting, no one in the band is talking to each other, Mickey is broke, Mickey is angry, Joey is angry.... A little of that goes a long way. Hardcore Ramones fans will enjoy this one; others will wish it moved a little faster. But I confess, I cried at the end.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Detailed look into the tortured life of a Rock genius. Joey suffered with depression, OCD and bi-polar illness most of his life, was painfully shy and yet fronted one of music's most influential Punk Rock bands. The Ramones never achieved great commercial success, and in some cases completely screwed over by the industry, yet their music lives on. Joey just wanted to make music that people would love. This book, written by the title namesake's actual brother, is a great tribute to one of music's Detailed look into the tortured life of a Rock genius. Joey suffered with depression, OCD and bi-polar illness most of his life, was painfully shy and yet fronted one of music's most influential Punk Rock bands. The Ramones never achieved great commercial success, and in some cases completely screwed over by the industry, yet their music lives on. Joey just wanted to make music that people would love. This book, written by the title namesake's actual brother, is a great tribute to one of music's mos recognizable figures.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deedee Light

    I've got a punk rock spirt and I loved reading about a punk rock hero. The tale of the family, the brothers and the disease, no, make that diseases that shaped, "Joey Ramone's" AKA Jeff's life is a fascinating tale. And, the book is well written. It's bohemian and touches both the glam and punk scenes of NY. If you like rock, weird and modern pop culture. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed. I've got a punk rock spirt and I loved reading about a punk rock hero. The tale of the family, the brothers and the disease, no, make that diseases that shaped, "Joey Ramone's" AKA Jeff's life is a fascinating tale. And, the book is well written. It's bohemian and touches both the glam and punk scenes of NY. If you like rock, weird and modern pop culture. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ray Dunsmore

    A fascinating insight into one of rock music's most oddball frontmen of all time, Jeff "Joey Ramone" Hyman. Includes all the elements which make for a great rock music book: family strife, arrogance, sociopathy (holy shit Johnny Ramone stop beating women), stardom, mental illness and a heartfelt ending which may leave you a bit misty-eyed. Recommended for anyone who loves a good rock and roll story. A fascinating insight into one of rock music's most oddball frontmen of all time, Jeff "Joey Ramone" Hyman. Includes all the elements which make for a great rock music book: family strife, arrogance, sociopathy (holy shit Johnny Ramone stop beating women), stardom, mental illness and a heartfelt ending which may leave you a bit misty-eyed. Recommended for anyone who loves a good rock and roll story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amber Sexton

    I finally got around to this book and I'm glad i did, though i read a review copy. It was such a loving portrayal of an iconic yet very real human being and artist who certainly had a huge impact on my life. There's something timely about reading of the childhood bullying Joey endured. Also just the amazing confluence of events that brought us the Ramones was fascinating. I finally got around to this book and I'm glad i did, though i read a review copy. It was such a loving portrayal of an iconic yet very real human being and artist who certainly had a huge impact on my life. There's something timely about reading of the childhood bullying Joey endured. Also just the amazing confluence of events that brought us the Ramones was fascinating.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Within Mickey Leigh’s and Legs McNeil’s exhaustive, gossipy I Slept With Joey Ramone is the most detailed story of The Ramones I’ve ever come across. The compact-by-comparison documentary End of the Century will probably be enough for most folks, but fanatics like myself will appreciate Leigh’s telling of all.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    As a music lover and a fan of memoirs, I knew I had to read this book. I Slept with Joey Ramone gives a first-hand look at the birth of punk music. It's a masterpiece and gave me a new respect for the Ramones. Even if you aren't a fan of their music, you will still enjoy this book. As a music lover and a fan of memoirs, I knew I had to read this book. I Slept with Joey Ramone gives a first-hand look at the birth of punk music. It's a masterpiece and gave me a new respect for the Ramones. Even if you aren't a fan of their music, you will still enjoy this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Derick Douglas

    Interesting first hand history of the Ramones

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Enjoyable, although a mixed bag. It's a family memoir, told from the point of view of Micky Leigh, the often-aggrieved younger brother of Joey Ramone. Although it's not a balanced view, and of course somewhat self-serving, he clearly loved his brother, and he really tries to delve into and understand the psychology of their family relationships. Occasionally the narrative is counterpointed with different, sometimes contrasting, points of view (perhaps due to the involvement of Legs MacNeil, who Enjoyable, although a mixed bag. It's a family memoir, told from the point of view of Micky Leigh, the often-aggrieved younger brother of Joey Ramone. Although it's not a balanced view, and of course somewhat self-serving, he clearly loved his brother, and he really tries to delve into and understand the psychology of their family relationships. Occasionally the narrative is counterpointed with different, sometimes contrasting, points of view (perhaps due to the involvement of Legs MacNeil, who was present for many of the events, and who clearly interviewed a lot of people). Those other voices help clarify and deepen the story. I'd heard much of the dark side of this story before--Johnny's domineering behavior, Joey's OCD and other physical/mental problems, and the clashing, difficult personalities in the band--but this book provides a lot more detail, and context of the family dynamic sheds a lot of light. My friends and I met the Ramones in the late 1970s in a 7-11 after seeing them in concert, and I learned from this book that they always stopped in a 7-11 after a show! After decades of loving the band, I won't stop now. But I think I will listen to the songs a bit differently. Although sometimes kind of exhausting, this is a pretty good book. I'll be interested to read Marky's memoirs and Johnny's book (the latter might be hard to read, though, as he sounds mostly awful) to see other sides of the story.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tech XXIII

    of course it's sad. we know how it ends, and being a story involving a ramone, it was bound to be anyway! never a more dysfunctional collection of individuals ever got together to make music! ah, but what music! sublime and practically perfect pop music (well, for the first 3 albums at any rate!). mickey leigh, with assistance from legs mcneil, has produced an affectionate, at times touching, account of his older brother's life, through a very troubled childhood and, well, through an equally tro of course it's sad. we know how it ends, and being a story involving a ramone, it was bound to be anyway! never a more dysfunctional collection of individuals ever got together to make music! ah, but what music! sublime and practically perfect pop music (well, for the first 3 albums at any rate!). mickey leigh, with assistance from legs mcneil, has produced an affectionate, at times touching, account of his older brother's life, through a very troubled childhood and, well, through an equally troubled adulthood as well. joey was no ordinary individual, and didn't everyone know it and make his life miserable - until through his love of music he became the face of u.s. punk music - that changed things. or did it? the story of the relationships among ramones is well known, but leigh manages to add to this from his view from ringside, and is able to relate joey's perspective on events on his behalf. personally, i don't know any of leigh's music, and i have read criticism that this book highlights too much of his own career, but seeing as how most of the brothers ventures were intertwined in one element or another, i don't see how he could have left much out. plus, it's always interesting to learn about people on the ramones periphery. there were many in joey's support circle, none more so than leigh and their mother! johnny ramone doesn't come across well here, but he doesn't come out of any of the accounts well, and this lends more credence to the general belief that he was the major 'spoiler' as the ramones career plunged sadly downwards toward mediocrity (sharing my theory that 'too tough to die' was the last great ramones record). strangely, though dee dee gets little mention, but then wasn't in the same 'faction'. complex inter-band relationships, but saddening all the same. however, this is a great and appropriate addition to my expanding library of ramones books. the most compulsively addictive (poor choices of words!) story in music! there are a few available that i wouldn't touch with the proverbial, but this is securely lodged on the essential list!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allan Heron

    Described as a family memoir this is very much about the two brothers rather than a biograpgy about Joey or the Ramones. Of course, the story of the band can't be avoided and, along the way, there are some tales that will surprise, and a few that will shock. In particular, it does help to understand the real people behind the cartoon image that the band portrayed. But don't worry, Johnny remains an arsehole. More relevantly, the darker side of Joey rather jars with the Public Image and not least a Described as a family memoir this is very much about the two brothers rather than a biograpgy about Joey or the Ramones. Of course, the story of the band can't be avoided and, along the way, there are some tales that will surprise, and a few that will shock. In particular, it does help to understand the real people behind the cartoon image that the band portrayed. But don't worry, Johnny remains an arsehole. More relevantly, the darker side of Joey rather jars with the Public Image and not least as it impacted on his relationship with his brother. Joey was a person who faced challenges and poor health from the day of his birth. The story remains an inspiring one and which is very movingly told by his brother. Gabba Gabba Hey!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Plants

    I thought this would be a biography of Joey Ramone, but instead it’s the martyred memoir of his younger, bitter brother (which happens to revolve around his brother, Joey). I didn’t care about mickey’s story; I didn’t like the writing; I didn’t like the way he framed his narrative; I really disliked this book—A LOT.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meg Sessums

    A must read Well written, and a page turner. Insightful, and about so much more than ‘just’ a band and a life (if you could even use such a descriptor in this circumstance. The Ramones were the soundtrack to much of my life and remain my hands-down favorite band. I’m honored that Mickey Leigh shared this story wih me. Thank you Mickey!

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Lyman

    This is a fantastic book, a must read for Ramones fans. I’ve read Dee Dee, Johnny, Marky, and Monte's, this is definitely the best. A true insider's view of the birth, life, and death of the Ramones. I’m glad I didn’t know what a jerk Johnny was back then. This is a fantastic book, a must read for Ramones fans. I’ve read Dee Dee, Johnny, Marky, and Monte's, this is definitely the best. A true insider's view of the birth, life, and death of the Ramones. I’m glad I didn’t know what a jerk Johnny was back then.

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