Dee Dee Ramone Found Dead in L.A.
June 6, 2002 Dee Dee Ramone [photos], a founding member of the pioneer punk band the
Ramones, was found dead of a possible drug overdose in his Hollywood home, the coroner's office
said Thursday. He was 50.
Ramone, whose real name was Douglas Glenn Colvin, was found dead on the
couch by his wife, Barbara Zampini, when she returned home at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, said
Craig Harvey, operations chief for the coroner's office. Paramedics were
called and he was declared dead at 8:40 p.m.
"The investigator noted drug paraphernalia, including a single syringe on the
kitchen counter, and we are handing it as a possible accidental overdose,"
Harvey said. An autopsy was planned later Thursday.
Dee Dee Ramone was to release a new CD this fall on Heat Slick Records.
The album was to be a live recording from Dee Dee's scheduled June 14, 2002 show at
the Key Club in Hollywood, CA.
Since leaving the seminal punk rock band the Ramones in 1989,
Dee Dee had been working extensively with music, art, film, and literature.
He had written two books, the novel Chelsea Horror Hotel and the autobiography Lobotomy.
Dee Dee's last CD, Greatest and Latest (Conspiracy Music, 2000),
did well in American and foreign markets. And most notably, just 11 weeks ago,
Dee Dee Ramone and his bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"I'd like to congratulate myself, and thank myself, and give myself a big pat on the back," Ramone
joked at the time. "Thank you, Dee Dee, you're very wonderful."
Lead singer Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, died in April of last year of lymphoma, a form of
cancer. He was 49. The other two members are Johnny and Tommy Ramone; the four adopted the
common last name after forming the band in 1974 in New York City.
Some of the Ramones' best-known songs include "I
Wanna Be Sedated," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "Teenage Lobotomy," and "Sheena Is a Punk
Dee Dee Ramone was one of the band's major songwriters, and among his better known songs was
"Chinese Rock" -- a tale of going on the street to score heroin, co-written with punk runk icon and
overdose victim Johnny Thunders.
Dee Dee was the Ramones' bassist. The Ramones recorded their first album in February 1976.
The band then earned a loyal cult following with a seemingly endless string of tours where they would
crank out 30 songs in 90 minutes.
While British bands such as the Sex Pistols and Clash received the media attention once punk rock
exploded, both were schooled by the Ramones' tour of England that began on the U.S. Bicentennial,
July 4, 1976. "They're the daddy punk group of all time," Joe Strummer, lead singer of the Clash, once told Spin
The Ramones disbanded in 1996 after a tour that followed their final studio album, Adios Amigos. A
live farewell tour album, We're Outta Here!, was released in 1997.
The coroner's office did not say what drug was suspected of causing Ramone's death. In his
autobiography, Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones, he had written of his struggle with drug and
BOTH THE ROCK & ROLL AND LITERARY WORLDS MOURN A LEGEND
Thunder's Mouth and Avalon Publishing Group report that they are deeply saddened
by the passing of
their author Dee Dee Ramone.
On May 4, Ramone played his final show with his
surviving bandmates at Roseland in New York, for a private party hosted by
Avalon Publishing Group.
"Dee Dee was a true friend and an amazing person," said Neil Ortenberg,
Publisher of Thunder's Mouth Press. "You could be having the most mundane
conversation, and Dee Dee would suddenly say something off the top of his
head that would make you realize the kind of genius that he was. We'll miss
Avalon publicist Alicia Robles worked closely with Ramone during his final
days. "He was a dear friend. I will always treasure our times together and
listening to his stories about everything he'd been through. He had a really
good heart -- he was so sweet that you felt like you wanted to protect him,"
This Fall, Thunder's Mouth Press will be publishing Dee Dee Ramone's final
work, a novel entitled Legend of a Rock Star. The book tells the
unglamorous, gritty story of a rock band touring Europe, dealing with
unscrupulous promoters, hordes of fans, sex, drugs and the wear and tear of
playing night after night.
Recent Photos of Dee Dee Ramone
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