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The Mid-Week Beat: 1-2-3-4! Happy Birthday Dee Dee!

DeeDeeRamoneChelseaHotel2Today in 1951, a punk rock icon was born.

Born Douglas Glenn Colvin in Fort Lee, Virginia, he was better known by the name he adopted in the band that would make him famous, Dee Dee Ramone. Dee Dee was a founding member of the Ramones, the band’s chief songwriter and bass player from 1974 to 1989. He would continue to write songs for the band even after he left, penning at least three songs for all subsequent albums leading up to their eventual breakup in 1996.

Dee Dee is best remembered for his signature count-off shout of “1-2-3-4!” and you can still hear this shout echoed in punk bands today. In fact, many of the bands that we’re featuring today owe quite a bit to ‘da brudders Ramone! It’s a shame that Dee Dee doesn’t get more credit as a songwriter considering he penned most of the Ramones’ timeless tracks: “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Rockaway Beach,” “Chinese Rocks” and “Rock and Roll High School” to name a few.

I know for me personally, the Ramones were one of the bands that changed my life and sent me down a punk rock path. As a kid, I loved the harmonies of bands like the Beach Boys and early rock and roll and the Ramones were the perfect combination of classic American pop hooks and menacing punk rock noise. I became obsessed with the band and was lucky enough to see them in 1990 at The Paramount Theater here in Seattle. Unfortunately, this was their first tour without Dee Dee. Their new bass player CJ Ramone did his best Dee Dee impersonation but he was no Dee Dee, that’s for sure.

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The Mid-Week Beat: Happy Birthday to Mick Jones of The Clash!

Today is Mick Jones, guitarist of The Clash‘s birthday! Which means that today’s post is a completely self-indulgent one for me as I get to talk about my favorite band and feature some upcoming shows of bands that I loved as a young punk rocker.

Mick Jones, was there at the beginning of the UK punk rock movement. Like many of the early punks, Mick started out as a fan of glam bands like Mott the Hoople and proto-punk bands like the New York Dolls. He formed a glam band in the early 70s called The Delinquents and shortly after, formed the legendary London SS with Tony James, who would later form the bands Chelsea and Generation X with Billy Idol. The band featured a number of members that would go on to become major players in the London punk scene including Brian James and Rat Scabies of The Damned and Matt Dangerfield and Casino Steel of The Boys.

When the SS broke up in 1976, Jones and Paul Simonon began a new group after seeing the Sex Pistols. They recruited lead singer Joe Strummer, formerly of pub rockers The 101ers and The Clash were born. The Clash would then go on to be one of the major players, if not THE major player, in the UK punk scene, eventually achieving international success. Their global success encouraged many punk purists to label the band as “sell-outs” but the band outlasted most of their contemporaries by incorporating different musical styles into their sound and expanding the definitions of what a punk band was. Jones was eventually fired from the band in 1983 by Strummer and Simonon and the band limped along for one more record, but many agree that The Clash ended the day Jones left the band.

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