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PCR #116 (Vol. 3, No. 24). This edition is for the week of June 10--16, 2002.
The Digital Divide
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Dee Dee Ramone
Douglas Glen Colvin
Dee Dee Ramone
Rest In Peace

Long-time Pop Culture review readers know I have always had a special place in my heart for those founding-father punkers, The Ramones. And you also know it was with a heavy heart I reported and commented on the premature death of Joey Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman) at age 49 April of last year, of lymphoma.

Well, another Ramone has gone to that CBGBs in the sky...

Dee Dee Ramone, bassist and one of the founding members of that seminal punk band, has died. Last Thursday, he was found dead in his Hollywood home by his wife Barbara. Ramone's death apparently was the result of an accidental drug overdose--drug paraphernalia, including a syringe, reportedly were found in the kitchen of the home. He was 49. It is not known at this writing what kind of drug was involved. An autopsy was performed Thursday, but conclusions about the cause of death were deferred pending toxicological tests, spokesman David Campbell told the AP. Those results could take several weeks.

The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. Dee Dee Ramone was one of three surviving original members of the pioneering punk band; lead singer Joey Ramone as I've mentioned. The other original members are Tommy Erdelyi, who took the name Tommy Ramone and was also the group's manager; and John Cummings, who took the name Johnny Ramone. Tommy Ramone was eventually replaced by Mark Bee (Marky Ramone), who was in turn replaced by Richard Beau (Richie Ramone). Dee Dee Ramone left the band in 1989 and was replaced by Christopher John Ward, aka C.J. Ramone. Founded in Queens in 1974, the Ramones soon took up residency at New York club CBGB, playing dozens of shows before they were signed.

young Dee DeeScott van Sickle (close friend of mine, artist, bassist for The Hats, Blade, Sniper) and I went to a Ramones concert at Tampa Theater in the early '80s. Tampa was actually the "first leg" of their tour that year, I remember them saying. It was in the top 3 loudest concerts I have ever attended! They inspired me with their wacky million-miles-an-hour tempos and short songs. Corey Castellano called it "heavy metal beach music" which I thought was a brilliantly funny way to describe it. The Ramones inspired hundreds of bands over the years. I remember shortly before Joey died, he remarked something about being disgusted that "Green Day stole our act!"

My bands usually featured ramones songs somewhere int he set--I remember we did "Rockaway Beach" and "I Wanna be Sedated". I learned "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," "Blitzkrieg Bop," and "Rock 'n Roll High School", and played them live occasionally. Man, those were the days!

older Dee DeeThe Ramones' first album, released in 1976, helped lead the way for the mid- and late-1970s New York City downtown music scene, which also included Blondie, Television, and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. After leaving the band in 1989, Dee Dee Ramone briefly became a rapper, then was involved with an ill-fated punk supergroup including the Dolls' Johnny Thunders and the Dead Boys' Stiv Bators. In recent years, he formed a Ramones cover band and became a painter. He also wrote an autobiography, "Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones."

The Ramones played its last show in 1996, after which members parted ways.

Dee Dee also wrote a book, The Chelsea Horror Hotel, a non-fiction brutally hilarious account of an ex-Ramone living in the infamous Chelsea Hotel.

This issue's Digital Divide retrospective was composed by, and ©2002 by, Nolan B. Canova.  Webpage design and all graphics herein, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova.