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Dee Dee's address when this interview took place. Douglas Colvin - 21-07 157th Street Whitestone, Queens, New York.

Dee Dee Ramone

The urge for drugs was pretty strong
and the need for love was pretty strong.
I wanted a girl friend or someone to love,
a family, and some kind of normalcy in my life.

Dee Dee's Obituary

  • From the Book Addict Out of the Dark and into the Light copyright Keeley 1987-2007

  • "The urge for drugs was pretty strong and the need for love was pretty strong. I wanted a girl friend or someone to love, a family, and some kind of normalcy in my life."

    I feel like I am a miracle that I have stayed straight. Yesterday, when I was going into the city to pick up the band with Monty, I had a hundred dollars in my pocket, and the van parks on 10th Street and Third Avenue for about an hour to wait for the guys to show up to go to the gig. And you know I started to get some urges to get some drugs. That was an old pattern that I used to have when I used to be a cocaine and pot addict. I used to like go through my wife's purse or hide money or beg money from Monty, my manager, and I used to scrape up twenty or thirty dollars and to go buy a quarter gram of coke and a dime of pot or something like that.

    And you know I just thought it was a miracle that I could, that I just went to the deli instead and bought a dollar can of soda and gave myself a little pat on the back and I said, "Boy, you know you're really okay," because it was one of the first times I faced an urge where there was really a possibility of getting high. And I say my serenity prayer and I think about how good I have it, not being an addict, and how horrible it was.

    And it is a miracle that I can go through a little situation like that and then not run to the cop man and get some substance. But, ah, I'm really having a strong backbone in my recovery, with my friends. And that morning I had called a friend up and asked him to come to a meeting with me, which was really a great experience, because usually we just meet at the meetings. And there was a good speaker. I spoke there last week, last Sunday, one of the first times I have ever spoken, and I thought I had a good message of hope, you know, like when, ah, I went to the gig in Baltimore.

    That day I was rewarded by God. Usually I would look -- especially if I had money in my pocket -- I would like look around the club, asking the bouncers or maybe a fan or something, to get me some drugs and they would appear one, two, three, after a lot of scheming, and I would get high in the bathroom before I went on stage.

    And it used to be an awful experience, going on stage that way. I felt like I was straight jacketed into what I was doing, you know, I wasn't free, I wasn't feeling the music, I wasn't myself. I was just a drug addict up there on stage. And I guess I was always giving a good show, but it wasn't a spiritual show like it could be because I didn't go on with a good feeling. I went on stage with a feeling of desperation. And last night my old coke dealer -- he works for us -- came up to me and said, "Do you want to see this girl? She has something for you. She is in recovery. " And, you know, I said, "Okay." It would give me someone to talk to and I wanted to talk to the other members of the band and have a little recovery meeting with them, but they didn't want to go for it, and I felt in the mood to talk to someone in recovery. So she came up there and I was surprised. She was very pretty. I thought she would be kind of dooffy. I don't know why, because there are pretty women in recovery. But I am married and I had no thoughts of being with her or anything. It was just nice to talk to a nice lady. And she said, I asked her, "How could you tell I was in recovery?" And she said, "You know, I could tell from your music." Which two songs that impressed her was one I wrote called "The Garden of Serenity" and the other was called "I Wanna Live."

    And she could tell from that, and I was kind of flattered, and I got Mark in there -- our drummer, who has four years of recovery -- and we brought out a Recovery book and we read "staying away from the first drink" because we are all alcoholics as well as addicts. And we had a little meeting before we went on stage instead of getting high.

    Mark and I used to take Quaaludes and cocaine and beer and pot and this was all before we stopped doing heroin. We were heroin addicts from the time we were fifteen years old till the time we were in our thirties. We spent a good fifteen years of our lives addicted to heroin. Then we gave that up and started drinking.

    And now I am clean four months and three weeks and two days. And I think it is a miracle. After my show last night I went home to my room -- usually what I would do is, ah, after I checked into my room in the hotel I would go downstairs or to look for some fans to have them drive me to some place where I could cop or maybe I would tell them to bring me drugs or they might have a script for lithium or an ounce of pot or whatever they had I would take.

    And also backstage, after the show, there was this drug dealer named Les. He was a big dealer, and he was trying to invite us all to his house for a big party, and he kept on saying, "Everything is on me." And the guy is always very drunk, and he was with his girlfriend, who kept on ranting. She was drunk and she kept ranting that she had sixty days clean because she hadn't done any cocaine for two months. And I told her, "Well, you broke," I said, "Well, you broke your sobriety. You drank."

    And she kept on insisting that she didn't have an alcohol problem that only three beers got her smashed. And she was pretty smashed -- she had had six of them -- and I just got kind of angry with her and didn't want to talk to her. I don't like to talk to people who are high. You know: "Come back and talk to me when you are straight." I guess that's not a very loving attitude of me, because I've had to hang onto another addict's coattails when I was crashing off of speed or coke and tell them my life story, especially my wife, which my life is. I began using when I was about fifteen. I grew up in the service, as an Army brat in Germany, and I lived my first fifteen years in Berlin. Then my parents got divorced. And my mother took me and my sister to Forest Hills, Queens, in New York City. And I got a job in a supermarket as a stock boy. And the first thing they asked me when I was in the basement -- the other guys that worked there were shooting up smack and I didn't know what smack was but I -- they were all laughing and acting like it was great. And it was wonderful. And it seemed to be so special. So I skinpoped a dime of it and it was an immediate love affair that lasted fifteen years. And I became very strung out and I immediately devoted my life to taking drugs.

    And by the time I was sixteen I was in a lot of trouble and I had to leave town. So I hitched a ride to Route 80 in New Jersey and started hitchhiking out to California. There I ended up in jail for a while -- in South Bend, Indiana, and when I got out of jail I hit the road again and started going to L.A.

    And when -- just before I hit the city limits -- one of my last rides was from a guy who was in the National Reserves or something and he had a lot of mescaline on him and he turned me on to a couple of tabs of mescaline.

    And I came into the city of L.A. blooming on mescaline and tripping my brains out. And there I would sleep on the side of the road and off exits, in the grass, behind a tree or something. On the street, I would sleep on the street, and I would wander around the city. And finally after a few days I hitchhiked up to Route One on the coast highway, and hitchhiked up to Big Sur, to Pfeiffer Park, and I was turned on to a bunch of speed by some kids there in a car, and I was turned on to LSD while I was there, and I stayed there a while, just sleeping in the woods with no blanket or anything, no money or anything.

    Finally I came back to L.A., to Culver City, and I had a little money. I had about fifty dollars, and I rented a room in a welfare hotel for about two weeks. And the urge for drugs was pretty strong and the need for love was pretty strong. I wanted a girlfriend or someone to love, a family, and some kind of normalcy in my life.

    But instead I met a guy who would -- was trying to teach how to mug people, and eventually I ended up as a prostitute, as a male prostitute in Hollywood, and eventually I lived with this guy, Jim, for a couple of months in his apartment. And Jim was a record producer and he had a bad legal alcohol problem and pill problem. He was legally addicted to Tuinals and Seconals and Valium.

    And there I got into taking a lot of pills, and into the world of hustling, and it was an experience of total misery. I didn't know what I wanted. I just wanted a roof over my head and I wasn't really gay and I didn't like sleeping with men. But I had a drug habit to support and an alcohol habit to support and that's how it started.

    Finally, I moved back to New York, in total confusion, with a blossoming drug habit. And in New York I started working as a mail clerk, got hooked up with my old friends from Forest Hills who were using heroin. And that's what we all had in common. We were young and had no direction in life and we were abused children and victims of divorce families and none of us were interested in any education or joining the Service, because Viet Nam was going on and we didn't want to cut our hair, and we just became junkies.

    And I would work as a mail clerk in the daytime and that didn't give me much money because it was a low paying job, to support an apartment in Manhattan and a drug habit, a heroin habit. And at night I would go to the street corner called 53rd Street and Third in Manhattan and hustle and pick up men and go to their homes for twenty dollars and have sex with them so I could buy a couple of bags of dope. And this went on for a few years and I became a miserable full blossom drug addict. All the friends I circularized with were hustlers and addicts. And then I somehow -- I hooked up with some friends from Forest Hills, my old friends there, and they were like into drugs and into music the same type of music I was into -- the New York Dolls were on the scene and they sort of brought us together.

    We had a place to hang out and watch a band that we liked. It was the beginning of the glitter days, when, in the platform shoes and the Rod Stewart haircuts and the velvet pants and the satin jackets, you know, very glamorous type glitter type clothes and bands that we liked, a lot of English bands.

    And somehow out of that came the Ramones. We got together. We didn't know how to play, and we just sort of put a band together, the best we could, and we started playing in a club called Ceebee -- on the Bowery.

    And I loved being in a band, because the band became like famous locally in New York, almost overnight, as a cult phenomenon. And we were like the darlings of the New York underground scene, and we kind of took over from where the Dolls had left off, and we were gaining a big following, playing these clubs in Manhattan.

    And along with the clubs came a ticket to a drug addict's way of life. I could stop hustling, and I still wasn't making enough money to support my drug habit, because the band didn't have a hit record or anything, they were just a club band.

    And I hooked up with this girl Connie, who was a prostitute, and I lived with Connie for about five years during my playing with the Ramones. And Connie supported my drug habit by go-go dancing and turning tricks and I used to beat her and abuse her and sleep around with other women. And this went on until finally I wanted to get straight and I left Connie and I tried to leave a heroin habit behind. This was in 1978 and the band started in 1974.

    I lived with Connie for four years as a total full fledged junkie, waking up in the morning, going to a seedy neighborhood on the Lower East Side or up to Harlem, and copping in the black neighborhoods and going home and having my wake-up shot. And joining the methadone programs and our lives became out control.

    And finally I left her. I got away from Connie. That was very difficult, because she didn't want to let me go. But she had deteriorated so much, and I had deteriorated so much, we had to split apart. And I went on my quest for freedom from drugs.

    And in`78 1 met my wife-to-be, Vera, who is totally different than anyone I had ever been with. She was a really beautiful, wonderful person, and she just took an interest in me and tried to set me straight. In the first two years of our marriage I was still addicted to (or the first three) I think I was still addicted to heroin. A full-fledged junkie and Connie she tried and tried to get me off of it, till I went to this program called Odyssey House in New York. And Odyssey -- they were a residential program, and by that time I was a famous rock star, with a big drug habit, living in a basement apartment in Queens, and spending all the money that I made, anything I made, on drugs.

    And they got me off the heroin. But I didnÕt understand how I could get off of it. I just cold turkeyed it. And then a lady there told me to just say no, just say no to drugs. And I could analyze and analyze everything to death and try to scheme and scheme in my way until I was crazy. I had to get off drugs, but the only thing that made sense was to just say no.

    And I applied it to every aspect of the drug addict way of life. And I got off the heroin. But by that time my other problem started blossoming -- my alcohol problem -- and I started seeing I was clean off the heroin, but drinking and doing cocaine occasionally, and smoking a lot of pot and it was a big step for me.

    I was as clean as I could expect myself to be in those days, but it took me many years -- it took me seven years of two rehabs, two thirty day stays in mental institutions, and thousands and thousands of dollars, visiting psychiatrists, and going to the program every day, to give up urine, and group meetings and a lot of recovery meetings, until finally it clicked.

    And now today I am telling this story and I have four months and three weeks and two days of clean time, where I haven't touched any illegal drug or a drink, and I have had a lot of struggles with it. I just went through a severe depression, where it lasted about seven weeks, where I had to "white knuckle" it and fight like a tiger to not give in to want to take drugs. I had that monkey on my back and he was pinching and pinching and clawing me and wanting me to pick up. And I just wouldn't pick up.

    And things are getting a little better. I have snapped out of the depression on Friday -- today is Monday -- and I am slowly getting my life together. It's hard, it's very difficult, but it's worth it. I wouldnÕt want to go back, for any reason, to pick up a drug again, even substituting a less harmful drug for a stronger drug. Like saying to myself, well, I could just have one beer or I could just have one joint. There is no such thing as that for me.

    If I pick up any substance, a mood-altering substance, I am going to grow right back into the lifestyle of an addict and lose everything I have, and lose my wife and my money and my house and car, and maybe my life, and end up living on the Bowery as a derelict. And that's what's in store for me if I don't stay away from drugs, is death, and misery, and I don't want that in my life. So I am staying clean today a day at a time.

    June 6 2002, 12:58 PM PDT Dee Dee, a founding member of a pioneer punk band was found dead of a possible drug overdose in his Hollywood home, the coroner's office said today. He was 50. Dee Dee was found dead on the couch by his wife when she returned home at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 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.

    -----Original Message-----

    From: vera davie

    Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 1:41 PM To: bosewell

    Subject: Dee Dee Ramone interview featured in "Addicts Out of the Dark and into the Light" by Chris Keeley

    Dear Mr. Sewell,

    My name is Vera Ramone. It has come to my attention my ex-husband Dee Dee Ramone provided an an interview for Mr. Keeley that has been written in the above mentioned book .

    There is a part towards the end of the interview where Dee Dee states thet in 78' I met my wife-to-be, Vera...........I was still addicted to heroin.

    A full fledged junkie and Connie she tried and tried to get me off of it....

    Chris Keeley made an error in that statement , it was I (Vera) NOT Connie who tried and tried to get him off the heroin. Connie by then had been dead for more than 10 years by then.

    Dee Dee and I were married from1978 to 1995.

    I would very much appreciate it if you could correct that error in future printings of the book.

    Also, if you could e-mail to me a corrected version of this error I would be greatful.

    I also have a book coming out in June 2009.

    It is called "Poisoned Heart" I married Dee Dee Ramone -the RAMONES years by Vera Ramone King and it contradicts what my book says and will leave the reader misinformed and confused.

    I was told by my atty. to contact you and ask that you can send me the corrected version because my publisher would like to see it.

    If you choose to to you may e-mail it to me or you can fax it to me. Which ever is better for you. Sorry, if this causes you any inconvenience. I'll be waiting to hear from you. Thank-you for your co-operation. Regards,

    Vera Ramone

    Bo Sewell writes:

    Not currently planning any further printings of the book, Mr. Keeley may be doing so and might be more help.

    If it hasn't come up yet, let me remind you that the item you are talking about was taking from Mr. Ramone's verbal statements on an audio cassette, so the statements he made are truely his statements even if he had said the mood was square.

    I congratulate you on your new book and you'll get no trouble from either myself or Mr. Keeley. All we want to do is help get the word out that recovery is possible and actually happens!

    Like all early, ground-breaking efforts, individuals who are willing to commit themselves to action accept that mistakes will be made.

    If this response is not sufficient, let me know. If I ever undertake to print further editions, the changes you request will be made unless I am told differently by Mr. Keeley.

    I act on his behalf. While I am sure it makes considerable difference to you, quotes from Mr. Ramone are simply errors of memory and not intentionally hurtful either by him or by us.

    Thanks for contacting me and if we can help further, please let me know.


    Bo Sewell

    904.238.9592 cell

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