Dee Dee Ramone Dead At 50
Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone (real name: Douglas Glenn Colvin) was found dead last night (June 5) in his Hollywood, Calif., home, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. He was 50. RamRamones bassist Dee Dee Ramone (real name: Douglas Glenn Colvin) was found dead last night (June 5) in his Hollywood, Calif., home, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. He was 50. Ramone was found unconscious by his wife Barbara at approximately 8:25 p.m. PT, and was pronounced dead at the scene by fire department paramedics approximately 15 minutes later.
The Coroner's Office is investigating a possible accidental drug overdose as the cause of death. An autopsy is being conducted today, but a spokesperson says a finding on the cause of death may be deferred until additional toxicology tests can be analyzed. It could take as few as three weeks or as many as eight to determine the results.
Ramone is the second member of the group to pass away in just more than a year. Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman), died on April 15, 2001, after a long battle with lymphoma.
Along with singer Joey, guitarist Johnny (John Cummings), and drummer Tommy (Tom Erdelyi), Dee Dee formed the Ramones in Queens, N.Y., in 1974. He remained in the band until 1989, at which point he pursued rap under the moniker Dee Dee King, and later formed the band Chinese Dragons. He was replaced in the band's lineup by C.J. Ramone (Christopher Joseph Ward).
Following his exit, he continued to contribute songs to Ramones albums into the '90s, made occasional appearances with the group up through its final tour in 1996, and is on the 1997 live album from that tour, "We're Outta Here."
Last year Ramone released the solo album "Greatest and Latest," a collection of mostly Ramones songs, via Conspiracy Music, and appeared in and contributed solo music to the independent film "Bikini Bandits," which also featured Tool's Maynard James Keenan and former Dead Kennedys leader Jello Biafra. He also appeared with his bandmates in New York in March when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ramone also wrote two books, his most recent being the novel "Chelsea Horror Hotel," published by Thunder's Mouth Press in May 2001. The book finds the author and his wife living in New York and interacting with the ghosts of punk rock casualties Sid Vicious, Stiv Bators, and Johnny Thunders. His first book, an autobiography titled "Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones," was published by Thunder's Mouth in 2000.
The artist also published the occasional issue of his self-scrawled zine "Takin Dope," five issues of which are posted on his official Web site. The most recent issue, dated fall 2001, found Ramone publicly dealing with his depression over the recent deaths of Joey and his father. "I took a lot of walks in the woods and let myself cry," he wrote. "I was upset because I would never get to see these guys ever again and that the only way I could resolve the problems I had with them was to pray for them to forgive me and for myself to forgive them. But I can't seem to get over it that it's over, it's painful."
"Some people I met at a book signing told me that when Joey died they felt that there [sic] youth died also," he wrote later in the zine. "I know how they feel. The Ramones kept us all young."
"I was still working out the final details on Joey's headstone when I got the shocking word that another brother in our extended 'family' was gone," Joey's brother Mickey Leigh said in a statement. "For me he was one of the greatest rock'n'roll songwriters alive. Sadly, today another life becomes legend. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife, family, and friends."
A Ramones tribute album, featuring performances by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Metallica, and U2, among others, is due later this year from DV8/Columbia.