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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Review: Dee Dee Ramone - Legend of A Rock Star (book)

Ah, the many faces of Dee Dee Ramone - sensitive artist, paranoid, passive-aggressive, songwriting genius, junkie, good friend, impossible, desperate to be liked, anti-social - which is the real one... I guess it could be all these things, but ultimately what lingers is instability and that amazing bug-eyed hobo clown face, truly a skid-row character.

Legend Of A Rock Star: The Last Testament Of Dee Dee Ramone was a project cut short by Dee Dee's death from a drug overdose on June 6, 2002. Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones is the only Dee Dee book you need. This is a collection of some road diaries and a ton-o-filler.

Dee Dee is surprisingly literate. Each chapter begins with a short copy of his original writing, deliberately proving the book wasn't ghost-written. He's an "honest" writer but also delusional (oops, artistic) so it's impossible to know what's real. I guess it doesn't make much difference but this isn't a magical mystery tour but an often boring trek through the craphole clubs of Europe. For sure he didn't kill border police and bury their bodies in the snow. He recounts many conversations and it shines through constantly how people dealt with him like he was a huge flake and pain in the ass.

The real value of this book is experiencing reality (or lack thereof) through the mind of a nut. I was constantly reminded of the scene of Psycho when Norman Bates sits in the police station and he's thinking

"They know I can't move a finger and I want to just sit here and be quiet just in case they suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

Dee Dee doesn't whitewash his violent tendencies but he also complains of being an endlessly giving person being drained by psychic parasites. His mind was all over the place and he was capable of anything.

Legend Of A Rock Star is sadly a dumping ground for everything the publisher could put together. It's a fun read but not essential. Here's a link to some Dee Dee artwork. These look a lot better than the work found in the book.


Blogger NYMary said...

Emerson, two great Deedee moments: his novel/memoir, Chelsea Horror Hotel, and the odd DeeDee King interlude.

6:29 AM

Blogger Emerson said...

Dee Dee King was the funniest bad thing that ever happened. I saw the video for "Funky Man" in the Ramones doc "End Of The Century" and it was obvious the "brothers" he recruited were laughing at how bad it was.

8:00 AM

Blogger Richard said...

So "Lobotomy..." is the one to buy? What about the best overall book on the Ramones?

2:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys. I heard there's another Ramones tribute disc in the works. 70s UK band The Records
http://www.therecords.org are contributing 2 songs to the disc and I've heard that The Rubinoos are recording a song for the comp as well. I'm hoping it'll be better than the tribute they did with the mainstream bands. Kind of stupid having Red hot chili-peppers and Eddie Vedder performing Ramones songs. Pearl Jam is a corporation in itself!

Take care, Xavier

8:14 PM

Blogger Emerson said...


That Ramones tribute was horrible. I couldn't trade it in fast enough.

What you're saying is interestiing, having pure power pop bands cover Ramones songs. It does make sense.

8:17 AM


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