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.
Dee Dee pursued various solo ventures after the Ramones, including a brief career as rapper Dee Dee King. None of these were of the calibre of his work for the Ramones, unfortunately. He did briefly become a painter alongside his wife Barbara and Paul Kostabi (leader of NY hardcore band Youth Gone Mad) producing hundreds of works. He also tried his hand at acting and wrote two books: Lobotomy: Surviving The Ramones and Legend of a Rock Star, A Memoir: The Last Testament of Dee Dee Ramone.
Dee Dee battled addiction throughout his life and on June 5, 2002 he was found by his wife, dead of a heroin overdose, in their Hollywood apartment. He’s now buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery not far from his bandmate Johnny Ramone, guitarist of the Ramones.
Dee Dee was lucky enough to be present when the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, but it would have been cool to see him grow into one of punk’s elder statesmen. At least he was able to see the influence he had on many a disaffected youth and on the punk rock genre as a whole. I have a feeling that influence will only grow over time as kids around the world fall victim to the catchy hooks he wrote or hear that machine-gun shout of “1-2-3-4!” There will truly never be another Dee Dee. We miss you brother!
Luckily, we got legions of Ramones fans that continue to crank out great music. Punk rock is alive and thriving and we owe all of that to the body of work that the Ramones created. I know personally, I’ve been listening to those records for over 20 years and they still sound great.
So, today, pay tribute to a punk rock legend on what would have been his 62nd birthday by purchasing tickets to one of this week’s featured shows.
TONIGHT! Wednesday, September 18 I THE VIBRATORS, POINT OF VIEW, UNFORTUNATE BASTARDS & THE CREEPOIDS – Modesto, California Legendary UK Punk band from 1976 The Vibrators (touring on a brand new album On the Guestlist) play The Brewhouse at Hero’s tonight at 7pm with Point of View (Hella Mad Records), Unfortunate Bastards (members of Cellblock5/Screaming Bloody Marys) and The Creepoids.
Thursday, September 19 I TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET / THE QUEERS – Laramie, Wyoming A bunch of local boys coming home to party!! Here’s a review on their latest record FREAK OUT! Pretty sure they are the only band from Laramie with a Wikipedia page. The Queers are a legendary east coast punk band that is definitely influenced by the Ramones! If you don’t already know about them (which you should), they also have a Wikipedia page.
Friday, September 20 I School of Rock Performs: The Clash – Redmond, Washington School of Rock believes the best way to learn music is to play music. They take students from the lesson room to the stage, developing both their confidence and musicianship with programs designed for all skill levels. School of Rock teaches guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, drums and combines weekly private music lessons and group band rehearsals to prepare students to take the stage in front of live audiences in an authentic concert setting. To date School of Rock students have played thousands of concerts, to more than 100,000 people, at such legendary venues as CBGB’s, The Trocadero, The Knitting Factory, The Whiskey, The Roxy, The Experience Music Project, The Big Easy and BB King’s Blues Club in Times Square. They have also had the great fortune to be able to perform at music festivals from Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, to Zappanale in Bad Doberan, Germany.
Saturday, September 21 I HOMELESS ONE PUNK ROCK FEST 2013 – Whittier, California Brought to you by HOMELESS ONE PRODUCTIONS this festival features NAKED AGGRESSION, BONECRUSHER, NARCOLEPTIC YOUTH, YEASTIE BOYS, ATOMIC BOMBS, SORRY STATE, DISSENSION, VISUAL DISCRIMINATION, RIOTGUN, TARTAR CONTROL, JURASSIC PUNX, BRUTUS, FOR REBELLION, FAR FROM FREQUENCY, GBMC, VICIOUS CYCLE, CIVIL DISGUST, CARPIT, D.M.F., UNDER YOUR INFLUENCE and many more. Two stages, all day festival. Full bar and food.
Saturday, September 28 I LATINO PUNK FEST San Antonio 2013 – San Antonio, Texas The organizing of punk and hardcore music happened by the strong presence of Latinos/as in the punk subculture. This is not an alternative scene, it is a reactionary movement; an active scene which aims to aware youth through radical politics, identity, sexuality, language, cultural resistance and DIY values, is the focus and strength within our subculture. It is not exclusive movement, punks and active advocates of this group strengthen ideas by connecting to neighborhoods, families, safe spaces, youth programs, etc. The wave of Latino/as in punk was influence by bands as Los Crudos, Huasipungo, Condenada, Kontraattaque, Youth Against, Subsitencia, Sin Orden, Outraged, Despise You, Sbitch, Hit Me Back and others. Throughout the mid-1990s to present, the emergence of Latino/as in punk had and will continue to challenge the fashion of punk. Latino Punk Fest started in Chicago in 2006 and the following year. It was later moved to Los Angeles–with a larger Latino/a participation and popularity of bands–in 2008. Now in 2013, the decentralized punk festival is brought to Tejas! In the city of San Quilmas (San Antonio). This is edition #4 to the history/herstory of the Latino Punk Fest! Bands participating: Sin Orden (Chicago), Criaturas (Austin), Las Hijas De La Chingada (Reunion show), R-Tronica (NYC), Communion Of Thieves (El Paso), Biocidio (AZ), Escalofrio (Chicago), Sin Motivo (Denton), Colonia (TX), Los De Esta Noche (San Antonio), Alimañas (Houston), Porkeria (McAllen), Living Above Royalty (Youth from San Anto) and more!