NEW YORK - Eight years after he died of prostate cancer, Johnny Ramone's autobiography is finally being published.
"Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone" is set for release April 2 by Abrams Image. In an interview Tuesday, his widow, Linda, said he started writing the book when he first became ill: "Johnny's legacy to him was so important, even while he was sick. ... It was like he knew he was dying, and he wanted to do something."
Johnny Ramone, whose real name was John Cummings, was one of the founding members of the legendary New York City-based punk band the Ramones, members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Considered one of the most influential guitarists in rock, he died in 2004 at age 55 after battling cancer for five years.
The 176-page book includes Ramone's musings from his childhood to his struggle with cancer. It also features his romance with Linda, who once dated Joey Ramone, the Ramones' frontman, leading to a yearslong rift between the two musicians.
"It's whatever people make out of it. I guess it was some sort of love triangle - Joey, Johnny and me. It happened, and of course he talks about it and he talks about how he feels about it," Linda said. "The three of us all probably have a different story, but this is Johnny's story."
Band mate Tommy Ramone, the only surviving member of the original band, wrote the foreword. The epilogue was written by close friend Lisa Marie Presley.
Linda Ramone said the book was originally planned to have interviews with Ramone's friends, but she decided to only include her husband's words.
"It didn't make Johnny Ramone's book more powerful by having other people in the book talking about him," she said. "This is nobody else's story. This is Johnny Ramone's story, talking about Johnny Ramone."
She said several factors were responsible for the delay in the book's release, including lawsuits involving the band after Ramone died and other projects she was undertaking for his fans.
She hopes to publish another book of photos of Ramone, and hopes the book will lead to a Ramones biopic.