for June 11, 2002
Dee Dee, You Hardly Knew You.
by Stiffy Biceptz
I love writing and shouting about the Ramones. This is the second time it is not joyful.
Sadly, Dee Dee Ramone was found dead last week in his home. Apparently, drugs were involved, heroin the chief suspect. And so only two of the original four members survive, Johnny and Tommy, both of whom are more likely to live long lives.
I find it very disturbing to find out someone is dead, just after I had recently seen them or spoken to them. The short lapse of time makes the impact even greater, more of a shock, as if a light was suddenly turned out. "How can this be? They were alive just yesterday." Hearing or seeing someone leaves an echo or image in our brains. As time goes by, the echo diminishes, the image fades until we can question ourselves whether we ever knew them at all, whether they really even existed.
And so it was with Dee Dee. I saw the Ramones many times after his departure from the band in 1989. At the time I thought, "How could you have the Ramones without him?" But they continued on, and eventually I got used to CJ. I even forgot about Dee Dee. Had he ever been in the band? Hadn't Joey always yelled out 1-2-3-4? But then I would play Rocket To Russia, and hear his voice and say, "Oh yeah, that's Dee Dee!"
And so it is with Dee Dee. Just a month or so ago, I actually saw and heard Dee Dee Ramone at the silly Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies. There he was, with Johnny and even Tommy. This was like David Lee Roth on stage with Eddie, only cooler and really important. He was alive, talking, laughing, existing. Image refreshed on brain. Check.
Now he's dead, another life consumed by drugs. Its even more disappointing to me because the Ramones represented the anti-pop/rock clichés: short, fast songs, no solos, no wardrobes, no laser, no stage show. Pure, honest, direct. And no drugs. How ironic is it that Dee Dee is dead and Keith Richards is alive? I guess Keith can afford the treatments.
From everything I've seen and heard about Dee Dee, he was a lost soul. The early pictures of the band show him looking like a child, a scared little boy, while those of Johnny, Joey and Tommy portray confidence and some sort of clarity and understanding.
As time went forward, he changed, covered himself with tattoos, cut his hair, got entangled with chemicals, while Johnny and Joey remained exactly the same. Finally he left the band, pursued a solo career as Dee Dee King, and eventually faded from memory.
And my final image of him is his Hall of Fame appearance, which was his goodbye. He didn't look bad in the suit. 4-3-2-1...
©2002 Stiffy Biceptz
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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