Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dee Dee Ramone Figures Into Things


Dee Dee Ramone Figures Into Things

(Part 1 of 3) Where Songs Can Come From

Rather than visit the library or plan a quicker way to teach Huck Finn, I usually slink around collecting stories about bass players, almost exclusively from punk bands. I do it unprofessionally and lazily, but putting the years in perspective, its graduated from coincidence to hobby. How Sting claps slowly, and like a caveman. Or the way Kira Roessler who played bass for five Black Flag albums used to respond to groping fans at shows: by smashing them in the jaw or eye socket with her heavy bass's body, all without missing a note any of the thousands of notes she touched off without a pick.

A recent continuation of this collection has been reading DeeDee Ramone's first book, Poison Heart. My experience oscillated between wanting to light some sage or a sizeable candle to put DeeDee's soul to rest and giggling over his ritual of loss: his headhitting, his life of setback and willpower to whirlpool himself into disasters. (Here place two examples from text).

Born to an unlucky young German mother and an older alcoholic US vet in 50s Berlin, you get the feeling that Dee Dee never had a chance to be anything other than a Ramone. Not a hotdog vendor with a cart in the park nor a candy store owner and not a doorman in a suit, career choices he regretted not choosing.

Regrets like these cause Dee Dee to dash through apartment doors away from police and Phil Spector, and to leap from the tour van into Florida swampland or congested intersections, his fellow bandmates yelling, "Dee Dee, no!" but only half able to dismiss one of the lead songwriters.