MVD Visual’s DVD & CD set compiles three short films about the self destructive punk rock icon Dee Dee Ramone. Dee Dee was mainly known for playing bass in the Ramones but also had a wide and varied solo career that included a hip hop album and a brief stint alongside musical terrorist GG Allin and his band the Murder Junkies. He also penned two autobiographies and the novel Chelsea Horror Hotel. Dee Dee’s life came to an end on June 5th 2002 from a heroin overdose.
Filmed in 1991 Hey Is Dee Dee Home was Lech Kowalski’s interview with Dee Dee Ramone filmed while he was completing his documentary on the New York Dolls’ guitarist Johnny Thunders Born To Lose. Dee Dee reminisces about how the song Chinese Rocks came about, the stories behind his tattoos (a booklet is included with photos and excerpts of his stories) and the ill fated “punk supergroup” with Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunders. He also recalls his battles with heroin addiction which he eventually lost his life to. I found the interview interesting particularly for his take on the New York scene in the 70s which is one of my favourite periods of music. There’s some excellent footage of The Heartbreakers performing Chinese Rocks which was a plus. Hey Is Dee Dee Home is a very personal and candid interview that was both fascinating and entertaining that every Ramones fan should check out. Dee Dee was sober during this period and he seems in great spirits and full of enthusiasm and full of optimism which makes for a sombre watch knowing that he ended up succumbing to his own demons.
The Vom in Paris segment of the disc tells Vom Ritchie’s version of the events that unfolded during the recording sessions with Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunders. His account differs quite substantially from Dee Dee’s whom he describes as being paranoid and angry throughout the sessions. It was interesting to see a different perspective of the events, somewhere between the two stories is the truth. It’s a shame the project never panned out due to ego and drug problems because I’m betting that some killer tunes would’ve come out of these sessions.
History On My Arms is a segment of off-cuts and different angles with the music Dee Dee played during the interview. This segment was pretty unexciting to me and came across as an unnecessary rehash of what I’d just watched. This segment was just overkill and filler to me.
The CD Dee Dee Blues is included in the package and is essentially the audio to what Dee Dee jams out during the interview. I thought his version of The Kinks’ tune Tired of Waiting was pretty cool. There’s a few tracks of him kicking out some blues riffs and a few excerpts from Hey Is Dee Dee Home including the amusing scene of him pleading with his cat not to go out partying. The quality is pretty rough as most of it was recorded with just one microphone. Completists will definitely get more of a kick out of it than the casual fan as this is bootleg territory. Perhaps a compilation CD of the songs Dee Dee wrote for theRamones and songs from his solo career would have been more fitting but I guess those tunes would’ve been to expensive to obtain the license rights.
This set is a little repetitive with its use of its source material but its still an interesting watch that gives you a candid insight into the man’s life and the 1970s punk scene in New York. This is a nice companion piece to End Of The Century and Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s book Please Kill Me. A fitting tribute to one of punk’s fallen heroes that lets his voice and side of the story be heard. R.I.P Dee Dee you were one of a kind.
Extras include a bonus CD.
DIRECTOR(S): Lech Kowalski | COUNTRY: USA | YEAR 2008 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): MVD | RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes