June 7, 2002
BY JIM DEROGATIS POP
A second member of the pioneering punk band the Ramones has died. He was
Douglas Glenn Colvin, better known as bassist Dee Dee Ramone, was found
dead of an apparent heroin overdose in his Hollywood home, the Los Angeles
coroner's office said Thursday.
Mr. Ramone's former bandmate, vocalist Joey Ramone (a k a Jeff Hyman),
died of lymphoma April 15, 2001.
Together with bandmates Johnny on guitar and Tommy (and later Marky) on
drums, "da brudders" from Queens, N.Y., reshaped rock 'n' roll, defining the
ultra-adrenalized but infinitely tuneful punk sound of the mid-'70s, and
casting a long shadow that continues to influence platinum-selling bands
such as Green Day, Blink-182 and Sum 41 today.
Mr. Ramone was found dead on his couch by his wife, Barbara Zampini, when
she returned home Wednesday night, said Craig Harvey, operations chief for
the L.A. 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," Harvey said. An autopsy was planned.
The death comes 11 weeks after the band was celebrated with induction
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,'' Mr. Ramone joked at the induction ceremony. ''Thank you,
Dee Dee, you're very wonderful.''
The bassist's heroin problem was legendary, and he wrote about it at
length in his autobiography, Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones. He also wrote
a novel, Chelsea Horror Hotel.
An army brat, Mr. Ramone was born in Fort Lee, Va., but moved frequently
throughout his youth. He joined the Ramones in 1974 and wrote much of the
group's material, even after he quit the band in 1989.
One of his best-known tunes was ''Chinese Rock,'' a song about scoring
heroin, co-written with former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders, who
died of an overdose.
After leaving the Ramones as a result of the group's constant feuding,
Mr. Ramone tried to launch an ill-advised career as a rapper. But he
remained best known as the real street punk of the most acclaimed punk band,
the personification of the subjects in songs such as ''I Wanna Be Sedated''
and ''Teenage Lobotomy.''
Mr. Ramone seemed to resent the fact he was never given as much credit in
the Ramones as Joey and Johnny.
"I never tried to use the Ramones to my personal advantage; I didn't
steal from the Ramones or create illusions," he said in an interview with a
Ramones Webzine in 2000.
"I did five or six solo albums with everybody fighting with me because of
the possibility of having any minor success. They didn't want it to compete
with the Ramones," he said.