5 Things You May Not Have Known About Dee Dee Ramone

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Ramones Road to Ruin Cover

Today we celebrate the birthday of the late, great Dee Dee Ramone. You’ll be able to honor his memory in a big way later this week, when Rhino reissues ROAD TO RUIN, but for now we’re offering up five things that you might not have previously been aware of about this man known as Dee Dee.

  1. He provided The Ramones with their name.

The origin of the band’s name – and, of course, the last name adopted by its members – is well-documented, but it’s not as often mentioned that the idea came from Dee Dee, so let it be known: it was indeed Dee Dee’s suggestion to take a cue from Paul McCartney, who was known to sign into hotels under the pseudonym “Paul Ramon.”

  1. Before The Ramones, he was in a band – along with Tommy and Johnny – that took their name from a Donovan song.

Alas, The Tangerine Puppets failed to make much headway in their short-lived career, but any band that ends up producing three punk rock heroes is certainly worth remembering, even if we can’t actually hear what they sounded like...or, rather, you can, but you won’t hear Dee Dee. The band did record a two-song demo – “Drop in the Bucket” and “He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands” – but it was before Dee Dee joined the lineup.

  1. He was the original lead singer of The Ramones.

It would’ve worked, too, if it wasn’t for the fact that he quickly found that he couldn’t sing lead for more than a couple of songs at a time before his voice started to shred. As such, Joey – who was originally sitting behind the drum kit – got bumped up to frontman.

  1. He wrote a handful of songs for the band in order to get out of jail.

That’s the word on the street, anyway, or at least the word in the liner notes to Mondo Bizarro: although he was no longer a member of the band by that point in their existence, he found himself in a bind after being arrested for marijuana possession, and he ended up writing “Main Man,” “Strength to Endure,” and “Poison Heart” in exchange for bail money. If it’s an urban legend, it’s at least based on fact, since the marijuana arrest is definitely well documented.

  1. He tried to sweet talk Seymour Stein while sans clothing.

Hey, don’t look at us: this is straight from Stein’s memoir, Siren Song, where he discusses an incident when Dee Dee showed up at Stein’s apartment and stripped. “His eyes and body position said it all: Take me whatever way you want. I’m your bitch,” wrote Stein. “I was horrified. I don’t think he was trying to seduce me for any reason other than to get closer to me … I think he felt that this might be a great sacrifice on behalf of the band.” Not that anything happened. Well, except for Stein pretending that his wife had called and said that she was coming home, at which point Stein hurriedly got Dee Dee outside…presumably after Dee Dee put his clothes back on.

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