Dee Dee Ramone


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photograph of Dee Dee Ramone

Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Glenn Colvin (September 18, 1951 - June 5, 2002) was a founding member of The Ramones, a heavily influential punk band in which he wrote or co-wrote most of the songs, including "53rd & 3rd", "Commando", "Pet Semetary" and "Poison Heart". Dee Dee struggled with drugs for much of his life, especially heroin, beginning his drug use as a teenager, and continuing to use for the majority of his adult life. He was the bassist for the group until 1989, when he left to pursue a short-lived career in rap under the name Dee Dee King. Afterwards he continued to write songs for the Ramones until 1996, when the band retired.

Douglas Glenn Colvin was born in Fort Lee, Virginia, and raised in Berlin, Germany (later to move back to the Forest Hills, Queens, NYC, NY, USA), the son of an American soldier stationed there and a German woman. His parents separated shortly after his birth, and he lived in Berlin until the age of 16, when he and his mother moved to the Forest Hills section of New York City's borough of Queens. There he met Johnny Ramone (John Cummings) and Tommy Ramone (Tommy Erdelyi), then playing in a band called The Tangerine Puppets, named after a Donovan song of the same name. They quickly became friends, being outcasts in that heavily middle class neighborhood. In 1974, Johnny and Dee Dee formed the Ramones with then-drummer Jeffrey Hyman, soon to be Joey Ramone, who took over vocal duties after Dee Dee decided that he could not sing lead and play bass well at the same time. Tommy then became the drummer.

Colvin wrote a considerable amount of the Ramones' material, such as "53rd and 3rd" (a song about rent boys; Dee Dee had been a prostitute on 53rd and 3rd, even though he refuses to speak about it, saying in the Ramones documentary "End of the Century," when asked about that situation, that he would like to "bypass that" and that "everyone blows up the negative"), "Glad To See You Go" (written about his then-girlfriend, Connie, a stripper and fellow drug user with a volatile personality), "It's A Long Way Back to Germany", "Chinese Rocks" (originally recorded by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers as Johnny Ramone, a former addict himself, was not enthusiastic about the Ramones doing songs about drugs) and "Warthog".

In 1989, after quitting the Ramones, Colvin started a brief -- and to some fans, rather embarrassing -- career as rapper Dee Dee King with the album "Standing in the Spotlight". After the album failed, he returned to punk rock with various bands like Sprokkett and The Spikey Tops.

In 1991 Ramone was briefly involved with transgressive punk rock performance artist GG Allin, playing second guitar with Allin's backup band The Murder Junkies. DeeDee's involvement lasted a week, enough for him to be briefly interviewed during the filming of the Allin documentary Hated: GG Allin And The Murder Junkies; rehearsal recordings of Ramone with Allin appear on the Hated soundtrack, and on the posthumous live Allin compilation Res-Erected; while video footage of rehearsals is available on DVD through Allin's estate's website.

In 1992 he formed new band called The Chinese Dragons, which was followed by ICLC from 1994 to 1996. With ICLC Ramone also did an EP and a full-length album "I Hate Freaks Like You."

He reunited with The Ramones one last time in 1996. After Ramones retired, Colvin formed a Ramones tribute band called The Ramains with his girfriend Barbara and former Ramones drummer Marky Ramone. He also recorded several solo albums under his old name Dee Dee Ramone: "Zonked/Ain't It Fun" (1996), "Hop Around" (1999) and "Greatest & Latest" (2000). In new millenium he teamed with Paul Inderk Kostabi, leader of the hardcore punk band Youth Gone Mad and former guitarist of the White Zombie. Kostabi helped Colvin to start a new career as painter, but they also recorded several songs together.

Colvin was found dead on the evening of June 5, 2002, by his wife Barbara Zampini ("Barbara Ramone") at his Hollywood, California apartment. A heroin overdose was the official cause of death. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, as is his former bandmate, Johnny Ramone, who died a little more than two years later. Read more about Dee Dee Ramone on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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