Heroin Be The Death Of Me Dee Dee RIP.
Douglas Glenn Colvin (aka Dee Dee Ramone) was found dead on the couch at his Hollywood home by his wife, Barbara, on 5th June 2002. A syringe & drug paraphernalia were found in proximity to the body but the results of June 6ths autopsy are being delayed until toxicological tests have been examined. Barely 14 months after the death of brudder, Joey, from lymphatic cancer in April of 2001, the R&R world suddenly finds itself in possession of only half of the Ramones. Dee Dee was buried during an informal service attended by close friends on June 11th.
Douglas Glenn Colvin was born in Fort Lee, Virginia, on September 18th 1952. Son of an army father, he grew up on a US Forces Base in Germany before the family unit fractured, forcing him, his mother & his sister to relocate to Forest Hills, Queens - NYC. His teenage years in Queens were the stuff of myth drug dealers, sex tricks, crime & heroin.
Dee Dee formed the Ramones in 1974 with guitarist Johnny. They chose the name the Ramones in homage to a popular Paul McCartney alias, Paul Ramon. Bored with the fatuous pomposity of most other contemporary groups, the Ramones welded their love of The Kinks, The Beatles & 60s Garage Punk to the undercarriage of the MC5, The Stooges & the New York Dolls. Their stripped down, hell for ripped denim & leather approach, speedy live ferocity & 1-2-3-4 count ins, made them the toast the NYC scene within months of their formation.
The Ramones buzzsaw gtrs, hum-able melodies & street gang image quickly scored them a record deal with Sire Records. Their debut LP, 1976s "The Ramones", set the benchmark for most of what would follow worldwide in the ensuing 4 years. The bands 1976 London shows proved to be a sterling catalyst for nascent UK Punks: Dee Dee famously piled in in defence of Rotten & Simonon during a fracas with JJ Burnel of The Stranglers outside Dingwalls.
The 1st 4 Ramones LPs still represent everything that was ever achievable via Punk Rock & stand as an unswerving testament to the vision, dedication & application of Dee Dee & his fellow brudders. Dee Dee left the band in 1989 & flirted with hip hop, tribute bands (The Remainz) & writing novels. Sadly estranged from Joey at the time of his death, it is a great shame to learn that Dee Dee never truly valued his time with the band while they were actually together (any other walking legends currently in the same ballpark should take note/heed before its too late!!).
Dee Dee Ramone could tell a tale or two, that much is for sure. Sometimes you got the feeling he didnt even believe himself some of the time. He was intrinsically self-destructive, blissfully un-aware of his own pedigree & as unassuming & pleasant as any R&R legend has a right to be. The fact that he succumbed to the dumbest Punk Rock tripwire ever invented says far more about the man than I ever could. As Sid Vicious, Kurt Cobain, Malcolm Owen & countless others have proved heroin, be the death of me. Think about that the next time you cook up & reach for the tourniquet all of you. RIP.DD.
Jean Encoule June 2002 trakMARX.com