New York Honors Dee Dee

Former band mates, friends salute late Ramones bassist

July 3, 2002 12:00 AM ET

New York punks old and new paid tribute to Dee Dee Ramone on Tuesday with a concert at the downtown club the Continental, where the legendary Ramones bassist had gigged frequently in recent years. The Toilet Boys, Star Spangles and Charm School appeared on the bill along with the trio of Marky Ramone (drums), C.J. Ramone (bass) and Ramones producer Daniel Rey (guitar), who played Ramones covers with help from an array of guest singers, including the Dictators' Handsome Dick Manitoba, the Heartbreakers' Walter Lure and Black Flag's Dez Cadena. Proceeds from the event went to UNICEF.

Dee Dee, known for his propulsive basslines and trademark "One, Two, Three, Four!" countoff, died June 5th of an apparent drug overdose in his Los Angeles home. His death came barely a year after the passing of singer Joey Ramone from lymphatic cancer and just months after the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"He was probably the greatest punk rock songwriter of all time," said, C.J., who replaced Dee Dee when he acrimoniously left the group in 1989. And besides penning Ramones classics like "Rockaway Beach" and "53rd and 3rd," Dee Dee was a novelist and painter; several of his chalk drawings and paintings fill the walls in the downstairs green room at Continental. He was working on his third book, Legend of a Rock Star, at the time he died. "He was always compelled to create," Rey said. "Without it he went crazy."

"His influence as an individual -- it spread everywhere," said Marky. "When Sid Vicious was in New York, we'd be hanging out at CBGBs, and the first thing he would say was, 'Where's Dee Dee?' -- because the guy would follow Dee Dee around, and he would imitate him."

In addition to the performers, several Ramones associates showed to honor Dee Dee. Both Monte Melnick, the band's former tour manager, and "Trigger," Continental's owner, gave heartfelt tributes from the stage. The surprise guest of the night was Tommy Ramone, the band's original drummer, who sang "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »