"When you're hooked on heroin, don't you know you'll never win?  Drugs don't ever pay. 
You really did it your way."

-Dee Dee Ramone


Written by:  Alex Sandell

"1 - 2 - 3 - 4!"  The battle cry of the punk rock rebellion began with Dee Dee screaming out those infamous numerals before each song the Ramones performed in concert.  From one buzz saw punk rock grind to the next, Dee Dee would shout these four digits with such conviction you'd actually believe Mohawks and bowl cuts would take the place of $200.00 prep cuts and Jennifer Aniston hairdos, that keyboards and 18 minute songs about stairways and Heaven would instantly morph into electric guitars and 2 minute tirades about sniffing glue and drinking DDT, and Britney would be a punk rocker, rather than a shill for Pepsi-Cola.  If you ever attended a Ramones' concert, listened to a Ramones' song on an album, cassette or CD, or even heard the rallying cry of "Blitzkrieg Bop" at a ballgame, you know the power that was, and always will be, the Ramones.    

"I used to be on an endless run. Believe in miracles 'cause I'm one. I have been blessed with the power to survive. After all these years I'm still alive."
-Dee Dee Ramone

Dee Dee was pronounced dead at 8:40 PM, Wednesday night.  Syringes and other drug paraphernalia were found around him (no Carbona was mentioned).  His death is being handled as a "possible accidental" overdose.  I only found out about this a few minutes ago.   Two emails came in letting me know the bad news.  As I wrote in my recent review of Joey's posthumous final CD, the death of a Ramone isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be to get over.  And now, when I'm still trying to come to grips with the fact that Joey's gone, another Ramone, the only other original member that still mattered (fuck you, Johnny!), is dead, and here I am, writing yet another tribute to a fallen hero.  The last connection I have to my years in the Rock and Roll High School I attended, where the Ramones quickly became my favorite band.  

"I am not afraid of pain, but it hurts so bad, I feel so mad.  No one sees the truth.  There's nothing to gain, a life goes down the drain.   Don't want to die at an early age."
-Dee Dee Ramone

If Joey was the heart of the Ramones, Dee Dee was the band's balls.  While Joey definitely did his fair share of writing, it was Dee Dee who wrote the majority of the Ramones' music, especially the classics we've all come to know and love.  While Joey usually stuck with cute, fun and witty love ditties (there were notable exceptions), Dee Dee would delve into politics, personal issues, violence and, sadly enough, his struggles with drug abuse.  While Joey wasted no time putting the pop into punk, Dee Dee's hardcore usually stomped it out just as quickly.  You made love to your high school sweetheart during Joey's songs; you kicked the whore out of your bed after finding out she was only using you to get to your best friend during Dee Dee's crazed rants ("Back off bitch, cuz you're no where!").     

"Too Tough To Die" was an anthem for me.  When the doctor gave me ten years to live (that was the update that was going to go up today), it was the first song I put on, upon getting home from the clinic.  Sure, Joey was singing it, and was already dead, but Dee Dee wrote the words, and he was still going strong.  This was just one week ago.  Now the vocalist and the lyricist are both gone.  Joey made it to 49, Dee Dee to 50.  More likely than not I'll never reach either of their ages, but I'm not a Ramone, and the world can do without me.  I can't do without the Ramones.  But I'll carry the torch, and try to beat the odds.  Being that Dee Dee will live on in the hearts of Ramones' fans forever, nothing is more fitting than to end this tribute with a line from, "Too Tough To Die."  

"I am a very nice guy very sincere, in real good shape I have no fear.  At the concert when the band comes on I am in the ring where I belong. On my last leg just gettin' by Halo round my head too tough to die."
-Dee Dee Ramone


"I'd like to congratulate myself, 
and thank myself, and give myself
a big pat on the back. 
Thank you, Dee Dee, you're very wonderful."
-Dee Dee Ramone, 
when being inducted into 
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 
March, 18th, 2002

All text, with exception to Dee Dee's lyrics, is ęcopyright 2002 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].

Click here to read my tribute to Joey Ramone (a lot of stuff I wanted to include in Dee Dee's tribute was left out cuz I already had it written in Joey's.  You don't expect two members of your favorite band to die within a year of each other.)

Email Alex (especially if you're a fellow Ramones' fan)

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