DEE DEE RAMONE -LIVE AND INTERVIEW AT E.J.'S IN PORTLAND, OREGON, JANUARY 19, 2000

Copyrightę 2000 -> for everything in this page by Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone and Glenn Shires.

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INTERVIEW BY: GLENN SHIRES


Almost a year ago, I finally had the chance to see Dee Dee Ramone. I live in Eugene, Oregon, a bizarre hippie-dominated excuse for a town. Of course, Dee Dee was playing in Portland, the "big city" 100 miles to the north. I am not exaggerating when I say the air was thick with excitement when I arrived in Portland. All along the street in front of the club, I saw flyers posted everywhere that said "Dee Dee Ramone - Playing The Hits!" with a picture of Dee Dee onstage from the '70s. Ramones fans young and old packed themselves inside. I got there early enough to see the opening band, Portland's great Fireballs Of Freedom (I think they sound like a cross between MC5 and Green River). Finally, Dee Dee hit the stage and the crowd went nuts. He started off with "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Teenage Lobotomy." Half of the audience sang along with every song, hoisting their cups in the air and splashing beer all over the band and their fellow fans. Dee Dee mostly played songs from the first four Ramones albums. He also threw in a few Johnny Thunders covers. It was a blast! Meanwhile, I was climbing the walls and creeping around behind the stage to take pictures.

I knew the night wouldn't be complete until I interviewed Dee Dee. After the show, I walked around the club looking for him or anyone else in the band (GLENN AND HIS FRIEND ARE ON THIRD PICTURE WITH DEE DEE). I had almost given up when I discovered that the dressing room was upstairs. The narrow staircase leading to the room was jammed tight with all the other hardcore Ramones fans who wanted to meet their idol. When I finally made it inside, everybody was gathered around trying to talk to Dee Dee and Barbara. I managed to meet Dee Dee, shake his hand, and give him a tape of my old band, the Suburban Legends. We talked for a few minutes about the differences between New York and the west coast. I also had my picture taken with him. The next thing I knew, a middle-aged punk rocker was inviting Dee Dee and Barbara to hang out at her house. I noticed the room clearing out. I think Dee Dee's bandmates were trying wrap things up so they could all get some rest. Dee Dee's drummer, Chase Manhattan, was really friendly. He suggested I call Dee Dee's hotel room in the morning and do the interview by phone. He gave me the number, and I decided to go get a few hours of sleep. Early the next morning, as I blazed back down the freeway, I suddenly realized that I had no way of recording a phone interview. As soon as I got home to Eugene, I raced to an electronics store and bought a tape recorder that I could plug into the phone.

I began feeling extremely nervous as I dialed Dee Dee's number. Would he be there? Would he feel like doing an interview? I've interviewed several famous musicians for different zines, but this was the first time I felt truly apprehensive, probably because Dee Dee's music and lyrics have made the biggest impression on me. But I didn't need to worry, because Dee Dee was more than happy to field my questions...

GLENN SHIRES: Well, to start off, Dee Dee, I want to thank you for playing in Portland last night. It really meant a lot to me and some of my friends. We've been waiting for a long time, so we really appreciate you coming up here and playing. It was a great show.

DEE DEE RAMONE: You know, I live in L.A. now, so maybe I can play around here more.

GLENN SHIRES: That would be awesome.

DEE DEE RAMONE: 'Cause I had to drive up and then I could play a few shows, y'know? I wasn't playing before, really... yes I was! What am I thinking about? But I don't know, I thought it was supposed to be a hobby for me at this point. It's getting more and more involved. I am starting to play again professionally. I hope I can come back up here around October. I don't want to overdo it. I hope if I come once a year, or once every six months, people will still come and see me. I played in Spokane the other day. That was really nice too. And I've been playing a lot in southern California. Before that, I was playing with Mark sometimes in the Ramainz.

GLENN SHIRES: Did the Ramainz play some shows in California?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yeah, we did last year... or last summer, I think.

GLENN SHIRES: Were you living in California when you played those shows?
[Someone knocks at Dee Dee's door.]

DEE DEE RAMONE: Let me just get the door real quick.

GLENN SHIRES: OK.
[Dee Dee goes to the door and comes back.]

DEE DEE RAMONE: No, we just flew out here; me, Mark and Barbara. When we came out here, I really started liking California again. New York is really unlivable.

GLENN SHIRES: Why is that?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Oh, it's a million reasons. There's really nothing going on there anymore. And economically, it's not feasible for artists or alternative people to be there anymore. The only good thing they have is a good art situation... for big artists. They have displays in museums and galleries. But other than that, music has gotten taken over by another kind of crowd of people. I had more fun here last night than in New York. I mean, playing there is fun for me, 'cause I was in the Ramones and all that. People would always come to see me. But other than that, I think I had more fun with the people here than in New York.

GLENN SHIRES: That's a huge compliment to us over here.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Well, it's valid though, if you really think of it. You want to run with your own kind. It seems like there are more of my own kind up here. But then there's the other side; the backlash against that... A lot of people around here, I hope they don't feel they're being invaded. All of a sudden people are finding out, y'know, Washington is the best place to live. I know some people are getting tired of it, so I'll try to keep it quiet [laughing]! I might take off this summer for a month or two. Maybe I'll come up here to visit. I don't know if I'll call anybody. I might just goof around and look at the city and see what lofts are like here. Then I'll just go back to L.A. It's nice because it's like a city, y'know? L.A. isn't like a city to me, sort of, but it's nice there. I like it more now than I ever have.

GLENN SHIRES: I just got the live Ramainz album a few days ago. I ordered it from the label and it came in the mail two days before you played, so it was perfect timing. Are the Ramainz are still together? Will you do more shows or is it over?

DEE DEE RAMONE: No [sorrowfully].

GLENN SHIRES: So the Ramainz are finished?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yeah.

GLENN SHIRES: Oh, that's too bad.

DEE DEE RAMONE: I know, but it just didn't work out. Mark has his other band [The Intruders] and he's always touring, and he's very unpredictable. This is the first time where I ever had some kind of agreement ahead of time where we would play; where I kind of knew what was gonna happen, and it still didn't work out. So, maybe I'm better off like this. I like to be more spontaneous anyway. I'm not the Ramones. I'm just Dee Dee Ramone. I think I'm starting to... I love playing like the Ramones and sometimes I want to do things, but it's also my sense of humor, and I need to have something to keep moving me and motivating me, and my humor is that. All the Ramones are like that in some way. Like Johnny Ramone will make statements like "This is suffering at its best." That's how he describes being in the Ramones. That's kind of funny, y'know? It must make him feel safe to feel that way. But I want my own thing, y'know? Sometimes I really love the Ramones so much and I like some of their humor, like standing on those boxes. You know how Johnny and I used to stand on those boxes? I wish I had two of those boxes to stand on. Our old manager Danny Fields used to goof on us and say, "You guys are like a bunch of trained seals!" So I don't know. OK, I wouldn't do it to be show-bizzy now. I'd do it to be kitsch.

GLENN SHIRES: Right, I think Ramones fans would get it. They would probably think it's funny.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Like when I had the Ramainz together for the first rehearsals, Mark started saying to me, "Why don't you dye your hair again and get a Ramones haircut?" Well, I would do it, but I felt if I dyed my hair black--'cause most of it's either gray or blond--I'd say, well, I'm gonna look ugly that way. I'm gonna look even creepier. I'm not gonna look 25 years old. I am what I am! So after awhile, when they wouldn't give me a break, I said, "Let's all get wigs." I had us all wear Ramones wigs for the first few rehearsals. I was so happy. It was so funny. I was going in the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror with this wig on. I would think of ideas for theatrics, like Alice Cooper or anything like that. If I could find a person who looked exactly like Joey Ramone, I'd love for him to come up and do "Pinhead" with me so he could hold the sign. I don't even know who he would be. He wouldn't have to be somebody famous, just someone who could go through the motions. Now, if some people tried that, a lot of people would get mad at them. But with me, people give me more of a break because I'm more goofy and they know I'm just a clown; the comedian type. It's a very punk attitude, but I never do anything deceitful. I back myself up. I'm not gonna go and be Dee Dee Ramone and go to a show and play all weird material that they've never heard, and then they say, "Oh, he's just using the Ramones as a vehicle for his own personal success instead of respecting the Ramones." I get tired of artists doing that. It's different if a person is just starting and they're 20 years old. But after awhile, if you've given the world 25 years of music, they expect that from you. It's your duty. That's the German in me, I guess.

GLENN SHIRES: Last night, you mostly played older Ramones songs, but you had a few new ones like "Hop Around" and "Rock'n'Roll Vacation in L.A." Do you have more new songs that you plan on putting out, or playing live?

DEE DEE RAMONE: We have an album that we've finished. It's coming out in Europe this week. It's an all-new album. It's called "Hop Around" and it's like a retro-Ramones album. Chris Spedding produced it. We played with him sometimes. Then on the 29th, we're going to make a live album at The Troubador in Los Angeles. Then we're going to make another studio album because this guy from Other People's Music really screwed us up. Instead of getting our album out, I think he's trying to sell his whole label and make people take our album. If they want to put out our album, he makes them take all of his old catalog, and nobody wants to do that. It's hard enough to get a deal as it is. He's out of his mind, but he did get us EMI in Canada. Then he'll say things like, "Don't you want to be on EMI in Japan?" and I say, "Yeah I wanted to go to Japan! I did the album a year and a half ago! I'm going anyway. I'll just play my Ramones songs and everybody will be happy." But he did ruin my career--I mean, what little career I could have had. I needed the album out to keep the momentum going. But I'm not upset, it's just what happens. I'm just trying to defend myself because I've been really active creatively. I've been painting with my wife Barbara. I'd like to do an exhibition in a gallery. I finished a new book last year and now I've got a deal on it. It's called Chelsea Horror Hotel.

GLENN SHIRES: Do you know when it's coming out?

DEE DEE RAMONE: No... my first book, Poison Heart, is going to be reissued by the same publishing company, Avalon Press. They took both books. They're going to re-release that in May, and then hold up the other book. And people are bidding for a movie deal on that.

GLENN SHIRES: Is that the movie Marky Ramone told me about? He said it would be called Gabba Gabba Hey.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Oh, that movie probably won't happen now. I wish it would.

GLENN SHIRES: What was the story behind it? Marky said that some other bands would play in the movie, and he said you were going to play with the Ramones again.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yeah. I really wish it would happen but it doesn't look good. There's like a million problems with them. We'll see. I used to be a big instigator--more than any of them--for a Ramones reunion. But I suspect life is always like a black comedy. So now that I've finally given up on them... I just can't take their behavior anymore. I love the guys, but they are pretty useless in a way. Out of friendship and love and everything else, we could have given the world some good music again. But they have their own ideas which always conflict with being cooperative.

GLENN SHIRES: And most of them have their own solo projects now.

DEE DEE RAMONE: No, they don't. That's bullshit. I never tried to use the Ramones to my personal advantage. I didn't steal from the Ramones or create illusions. But actually, the business will only take what they can imagine would be the most successful. Joey was always the one in the most ideal position to get a recording contract or anything like that. He could have gotten a deal on Sony or anything real easily. I had to really struggle for everything I've got. Instead, he won't do anything with it, except talk to hold everybody else back. He's really competitive. So, OK, fine. I really care about him. I would've made a solo album with him or anything he wanted. But the thing is, he keeps being very aggressive with a lot of talk. He's been talking about a solo album since 1980. Where is it? Everybody's at his beck and call. And I did five or six solo albums with everybody fighting with me because of the possiblity of having any minor success. They didn't want it to compete with the Ramones.

GLENN SHIRES: A lot of your solo stuff is really hard to find these days. I've tried to search for it without much luck.

DEE DEE RAMONE: It's impossible! It's like a lost chapter in my life, but y'know, I was validly creative and at the same time I was still creating for the Ramones. But I'm not trying to make a big issue out of it either. I don't expect it to be, y'know, like the next big thing. It's just an example of a historical... I think it's an American folk art, rock'n'roll. And it has to be kept alive somehow, in some way to perform. It's part of our culture and right now it's antiquated. I like doing it, and I can't expect to be the next Britney Spears, but so what? I'm happy. I don't like a lot of illusions that members of the Ramones are trying to create about their own self worth. How did Mark's show [with The Intruders] go?

GLENN SHIRES: I really enjoyed it. I thought they were a great live band.

DEE DEE RAMONE: That's good! Well, y'know, the depressing thing is that people say it's a continuation of the Ramones.

GLENN SHIRES: But the Intruders don't sound exactly like the Ramones. They definitely have their own style.

DEE DEE RAMONE: They're not like the Ramones at all! Why do people think they're a continuation of the Ramones?

GLENN SHIRES: I guess it's because of the name. When people see the name "Marky Ramone & The Intruders," they might assume it's a continuation of the Ramones, when in fact it's a member of the Ramones making new music with a new band.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Right. There's nothing wrong with that. Maybe I shouldn't be so picky but other people are, y'know. And then they'll say I don't count. Bah! Well here I am! How do you like me? Let's play, you know what I mean?

GLENN SHIRES: It's appalling that anyone would try to discredit you because your show last night was amazing. Especially for people like me, who were too young to see you play with the Ramones. Last night was an awe-inspiring experience for some of us. Maybe I'm going overboard, but it was such a great time.

DEE DEE RAMONE: I think I have to calm down because I'm very introverted and I have really low self esteem. But I'm also very grateful that everything is barely OK in my life, and I don't want to fuck it up. It's special to me, even if a lot of people wouldn't think I have it so great, or I should have this or that. I don't know. I'm really happy because I'm not in trouble and I want to stay out of trouble, y'know [laughing]? But the thing is, a lot of younger people, when they come talk to me, they seem to like the Ramones because they're troubled, and somehow they identify with the Ramones.

GLENN SHIRES: That's for sure. Speaking as someone who's been a Ramones fan for a third of my life, the Ramones are huge part of who I am. I've grown up with their music, and all the songs really meant a lot to me growing up, especially the songs you wrote. And I know I'm not alone. I'm just one of many people like that.

DEE DEE RAMONE: So, like sometimes I get in a position, and I put myself in it, because I'm only human and I'm learning, y'know? It starts getting overwhelming because a lot of issues come up with people talking to me. I feel very parental to them. I don't want them to get hurt. But the main thing is that I'm a musician and not a psychiatrist. I need to help myself. I got through a lot of stuff. So basically the only vehicle that I have is my music, and punk rock music. If they think I can be in a fairly good mood at my age, being a punk for 30 years or whatever, then maybe that's enough of a good example for somebody like me to set for anybody. Of course, I could be more helpful than that. But like if someone said to me, "Why don't you come back to AA?" I'd say, "Well, I went to AA for ten years. I got off drugs. I'm happy." Everybody I know is a drug addict. They don't want to give me drugs or take drugs with me. They want to talk to me about the problems with taking drugs, which is pretty flattering, considering that ten years ago I couldn't go anywhere without anybody asking me if I wanted some drugs: "Would you like this? Would you like some coke? What do you want?" Just anything, y'know? Now people ask, "How did you do it?" After awhile, I realized I can't go to AA anymore. You know what? I'm not a teacher, and I'm not learning... I'm living now.

GLENN SHIRES: That's a good way to look at it.

DEE DEE RAMONE: I made it and I'm OK, and all I'm gonna do now is simplify all this insanity and get up there and play with my band. I wish everybody good luck. I want everybody to be good and not get hurt, and I don't know what else to do.

GLENN SHIRES: If you found a trustworthy record label, would you try to re-release any of your solo material that's gone out of print? I know a lot of Ramones fans would love to get their hands on it.

DEE DEE RAMONE: I've been trying and trying to get it worked out, and a lot of people just ruined it for life. I don't know why. I think the best thing for me to do is record those solo albums over. Maybe not all of them, but just pick out the best material and re-release it. I'm better at making records on my own now anyway... except in Holland, I did have a great producer for the ICLC for punk rock. I know I can't go back with Daniel Rey. He's the Ramones' producer. I don't sound that way. I finally found someone here that I really like working with. I like working with Chris Spedding. Now I have enough confidence that I can go to the studio and not make a jerk out of myself. I don't have to beg, plead, and fight to get a normal, mono-type sounding garage record. I'm ready, and I'm going to do another new album again. I think I should be re-recording them all, but it's a shame that "Hop Around," my new album, isn't in the stores right now.

GLENN SHIRES: When will it be released in the U.S.?

DEE DEE RAMONE: We've been calling the guy every day and he's lied about everything. He said we were on Revolver Records over here. I don't know where they are or what happened. Nobody ever called me. Nobody got paid for it. It's just a fiasco. I just have to go on and be happy that I'm playing. I have the book coming out, and I'm making a live album this month. Hopefully now that I have good people behind me, for once... I have this management, Artists Worldwide. They seem to be sorting all this stuff out; giving me a second chance, so I'm really very lucky. Usually people like me don't get this lucky anymore. No matter what the story, it's just over. Or you don't get a second chance. Nobody really cares. Even if they care, there's nothing they can do. So I'm just lucky on the strength and the interest in the Ramones that I can still play, and make people happy somewhat. That's big success.

GLENN SHIRES: Can you tell me about the members of your band on this tour? How did you find this band?

DEE DEE RAMONE: How was Brian, the guitar player? What did you think?

GLENN SHIRES: It sounded good to me. From where I was standing, I couldn't see him too well, but it sounded like a good mix between your guitar and his.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Good, because it was only his second show! It was terrifying. Johnny [Pisano], Marky's bass player, is good, but Barbara is who I play with. We've been playing for years now. We played in Spain and Argentina, and Germany and Holland... everywhere. Then we came to New York and started playing with Mark, and C.J. and Joey sometimes, in different combinations. The best one I liked was Barbara, Mark, me and C.J., and then we broke up.

GLENN SHIRES: Was that the first version of the Ramainz?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yeah, and C.J. was really not good on guitar. He's very good to have in a band. He works hard and he always comes to the rehearsals with all the songs learned, and he can sing, and he plays the right way. It was wonderful with that band, but it's another Ramones kind of tragedy. I would have loved to help Joey make an album, but he really didn't want me, which is surprising because he doesn't have any material. And I didn't want anything from him except to help him. I thought he needed to go out looking good. I didn't want him to get the humiliation of putting his own material out because he's still kind of scarred from being in the Ramones and he doesn't know reality. What if he's going to put out a calypso music album [laughing]? Everybody does that! You can't help it. When you're in a band you eventually have to go a little crazy. Then it takes awhile to pull yourself back together.

GLENN SHIRES: I heard that Joey Ramone has been sick, but I also heard he's getting better. I'm not sure what the real story is.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Well, can you believe this? Legally, we're not allowed to talk about it!

GLENN SHIRES: Wow, I didn't know that.

DEE DEE RAMONE: I appologize.

GLENN SHIRES: Oh, that's fine. So, how did you hook up with your current band? How did you meet these guys, and how did it all come together?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Well, it sneaks up on me. I didn't expect it to happen. I don't know how it happened. I was trying to promote this band SexyXrist [pronounced "Sexy Christ"], because their manager thought they were going to get a big record deal. I was going to write their album and I was taking them on the road for awhile. Then the agency and everybody threw them off the tour. I didn't have anything to do with that at all. So I said, "Can I stop too?" and they said, "No, you've gotta keep playing." I said, "What do you mean?" They said, "We're booked already!" So I said, "Alright, I'll finish the tour." Then, once they were gone, somehow I became happier. It's not as much their fault as mine. The less people the better for me. I don't make friends too easily. Everybody I have here--Brian, Barbara, Chase, and Ricky--everybody's really friendly and everything's OK. I kept agreeing to do more shows. So now I've turned into like a military leader. I chart a course; have a battle plan for the tour. But I'm enjoying myself and I don't put too big of expectations on anything. I'm just happy how I am right now.

GLENN SHIRES: Dee Dee, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the internet, but if you search the web you can find people who trade tapes of rare Ramones demos and live recordings. A couple years ago, I got ahold of some demos from the albums "Pleasant Dreams" and "Too Tough To Die." There were lots of great songs on those demos that never made it to the albums. Do you know if those songs will ever be released?

DEE DEE RAMONE: No, I don't even know which songs they are.

GLENN SHIRES: I'm not sure what all the titles are. They're not listed on the tape. I believe one was called "Looking For Love." There's another called "You're Not Fooling Me," and a few others.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Well... Boy... I don't know.... I know about 60 songs, maybe. I don't know, y'know? I just don't know what to do. I'm trying to do the best I can. What else does it say on that internet... about them?

GLENN SHIRES: Well, there's lots of stuff. Lots of Ramones fans have created their own web sites about the Ramones. Some people put together collections of live shows that they have on tape. They trade with each other and trade live tapes for other live tapes. It's a big network of fans out there, and not just for the Ramones but for other bands too.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Well, I guess it's really good, and I appreciate it all. I'm glad people are interested. Again, all I can say is I'm really fortunate. I'm a really lucky person.

GLENN SHIRES: I've got a question about the time the Ramones met at Tower Records when "We're Outta Here" was released. Six of the former Ramones got together at the store to sign copies of the album.....

DEE DEE RAMONE: OK, that was fun for me. I was real happy seeing them then.

GLENN SHIRES: .....I was wondering why Richie Ramone [the Ramones' drummer 1983-87] was absent from that.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Gee, you won't believe this! We can't find him!

GLENN SHIRES: Really? He just disappeared?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yeah, and we have his money. We have money for him, too! Nobody knows. It's weird. We didn't get a detective, but of course Richie's invited to any of those things. He can take my place next time [laughing]!

GLENN SHIRES: On a related note, "Halfway To Sanity" is the only Ramones album without any songwriting credits listed. It's also the last album that Richie played on. Was there a reason for not including songwriting credits? I always thought it was kind of strange.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yes... it is. I don't know. Hmmm.... You know what? I'm glad you just mentioned that because I haven't listened to that album in awhile.

GLENN SHIRES: I think it's got a lot of great songs.

DEE DEE RAMONE: I do too. "Garden Of Serenity" is on that.

GLENN SHIRES: I'd like to know more about the set list you've been playing with your current band. Do you play the same songs every night or do you change it around?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yeah, but now for the next week or so, I'm just going to try to play the same set. We're doing a live album on the 29th, so I want to do this as a rehearsal. But I know about five other Ramones songs and some Johnny Thunders songs.

GLENN SHIRES: Yeah, that was really cool when you played those Johnny Thunders songs at the end of the show.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Yeah, I do "Chatterbox" too, and one of the ballads, "It's Not Enough." I know a lot of Chuck Berry songs which I don't dare play anymore. I don't think anyone wants to hear that from me, but I love it. And sometimes we do "Mr. Postman" or "Fire" or "Born Under A Bad Sign." We didn't feel like it was appropriate last night, but at least I can change my set. But I think I've changed my mind. I'm not going to play those other songs. Oh, I did "Do You Love Me" last night, like an oldie. I would have done things like open the show with "Midnight Hour," but now I know I'm not supposed to do that.

GLENN SHIRES: You're probably aware of that Ramones cover album series, where other bands record their own versions of entire Ramones albums. Have you heard any of those records, and what do you think of them?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Well, The Cretins I like. There was one I heard--The Hymans--a couple years ago when I lived in Amsterdam. They were there from Sweden. They just saw Barbara and I walking down the street. They said, "Hey Dee Dee!" and gave me their tape. Joey's real name is Jeff Hyman, and they were called The Hymans after him, I guess. The album was great, man. It sounded like an '80s-type Ramones album. The songwriting... I was shocked, y'know. I saw this other band--they're not a Ramones cover band--they're called the Backyard Babies, and they were nice. They were cool. They were a trio and they were playing guitar solos and stuff but I really liked it. They were really passionate about it. I liked the band last night [Fireballs Of Freedom] that was going on before us. They sounded so good, like a normal band should... not shitty! They had an old fashioned sound. I liked that. But I really like other things. I like the guitar player from Rage Against The Machine. I guess everybody does. I don't know his name.

GLENN SHIRES: He has kind of a different technique.

DEE DEE RAMONE: Oh yeah, that beep beep beep stuff. He's great.

GLENN SHIRES: After playing bass for the Ramones, you've played guitar on most of your solo projects. Was it easy or difficult to learn to play the guitar?

DEE DEE RAMONE: Oh, it's easy for me, but I had to work to learn it. I just decided I wanted to play it and I bought myself one and then I went to Chicago, where Legends is--Buddy Guy's blues club. I started jamming and I liked it there, but the music was zydeco. It wasn't like I had imagined. I heard his album "Damn Right I Got The Blues" and it flipped me out. Jeff Beck was on that too. But there [at Legends] it was like Gatemouth Brown and all that, so after awhile I went to Michigan, where it wasn't so much of a pro thing. The thing is, in Michigan, there's all these great blues guitar players and they taught me all that stuff; the traditional blues. I play all that stuff.
[Another phone rings]

DEE DEE RAMONE: But I better get going now. I have to get to the music store. I lost my bag and my strings and stuff. I gotta fix my guitar because it got screwed up last night by the audience [probably from all the beer flying through the air and crazed fans trying to touch his guitar].

GLENN SHIRES: OK, Dee Dee, well I'd like to thank you very much for this interview. It's been a real honor to speak with you.

DEE DEE RAMONE: OK! Thanks so much. If you want to call me again, I'll be here all day.


Glenn Shires plays drums for the punk band Lysistrata and plays bass for the punk band Compact 56.

(Gabba thanks yet Glenn, that was fabulous)