Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Monte. Since you released your book "On The Road With The Ramones" what have you been up to?
Monte Melnick: Right now I’m the Audio Visual Associate at the New York Hall of Science here in Queens, New York - http://www.nysci.org.
CM: You were a major part of the Ramones family from very early on until the band retired in '96. How did you get involved with the band initially before you became the road manager?
MM: I went to Jr. High and High School with Tommy Ramone aka Tommy Erdelyi. I was in several bands with Tommy in the late 60’s, I played bass and he was on guitar. We had a three-piece band called Triad and then a four-piece band called Butch.
CM: I can only imagine how stressful it must have been to work with the band. But all bad blood aside with Joey and Johnny, if you had the chance to go back and do it again, would you change anything?
MM: If I had the power to go back and change anything it would have been to try to get rid of the bad blood between Joey and Johnny. Alas, I don't have that power.
CM: You were pretty much Joey's handler in a lot of ways. Making sure he got to the gigs and onto the planes. When it was all said and done, and the band split up, did you and Joey keep in touch?
MM: Joey and I developed a strong relationship over the years. He dated a sister of my girlfriend at the time. I would hang out at his mother’s house for some of the holidays. In a way we were a ”happy family” …LOL!
CM: When you look back at all the time you spent with the Ramones, what are some of your fondest memories?
MM: Oh boy so, so many, that’s why I wrote a book. It’s packed full of all the good, the bad and the ugly memories., with over 250 photos and images.
CM: Before your involvement with the Ramones family, you were a working musician in your own right. Did you ever record any albums with any of your bands?
MM: Yes, I had a band called “Thirty Days Out” on the Warner Bros Reprise label. We had two albums out, one in 1971, one in 1972.
Funny thing just this year they released both of them on CD. It took 40 years to get it out on CD … LOL!
CM: Who are some of your personal musical influences as far as being a musician? Who inspired you to wanna make music?
MM: I had many, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream to name a few that I actually got to see live during their early years.
CM: Let's jump ahead a little ways. Was it your intention to write a memoir of your time with the Ramones? Or where you approached by people beforehand?
MM: Well over the years a lot of people wanted me to write a book. Unfortunately it took the sad fact of Joey passing away to where I felt I could finally put out a book that laid it all out, warts and all.
CM: Since '96 have you worked with any other bands in the management department?
MM: After 96 I did Tour Manager for Ronnie Spector and D-Generation.
Then I had a management company for a short while called “Search & Rescue” with my good friend George DuBose (George was the photographer for many Ramones album covers). One group we had was Marky Ramones group “Marky Ramone and The Intruders”. We got him an album deal on Thirsty Ear Records and put him out on tour.
CM: Do you miss those days of traveling around the world and being a part of something that people NOW consider so special?
MM: I do miss traveling around the world. It was one of the many perks of being a tour manager and working with a band as popular as the Ramones.
CM: Does it amaze you that fans have so much love and admiration for you? I mean, you were the glue to held that band together for so long.
MM:Who doesn’t like being loved and admired … LOL!
I’m just happy I had something to contribute to the Ramones legacy.
CM: Do you feel it's just deserts that the bands legacy is so strong now as opposed to when they were still together?
MM: I fell it’s a shame that they didn’t get the recognition they deserved when they where still around. They are so big now I have to say “If they were this big when I worked for them, I would have gotten a BIG raise” ... LOL!
CM: Do you still keep in touch with Tommy, Marky, Richie, C.J. and Arturo?
MM: I do keep in touch in one way or another with all of them.
CM: Any big plans for the second half of 2011?
MM: My book “On The Road with the Ramones” is in its third updated edition and has been published in Spanish, German and this fall it will come out in Hungarian and French.
CM: I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Monte. This really IS a dream come true for me. Gabba Gabba Hey! Thanks again, Monte!
MM: You are welcome and Gabba Gabba Hey to you too Chris!