June 06, 2002

Dee Dee Ramone Found Dead in L.A.
Thu Jun 6, 2:41 PM ET

By JEFF WILSON, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dee Dee Ramone, a founding member of the pioneer punk band the Ramones, was found dead of a possible drug overdose in his Hollywood home, the coroner's office said Thursday. He was 50.

Ramone, whose real name was Douglas Glenn Colvin, was found dead on the couch by his wife when she returned home at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, said Craig Harvey, 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," Harvey said. An autopsy was planned later Thursday.

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," Ramone joked at the time. "Thank you, Dee Dee, you're very wonderful."

He had often feuded with his fellow band members, eventually quiting the group in the late '80s to launch a career as a rapper under the name Dee Dee King.

Lead singer Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, died in April of last year of lymphoma, a form of cancer. He was 49. The other two members are Johnny and Tommy Ramone; the four adopted the common last name after forming the band in 1974 in New York City.

The Ramones' best-known songs reflected their twisted teen years in Queens: "Beat on the Brat," "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker."

Dee Dee Ramone was one of the band's major songwriters, and among his better known songs was "Chinese Rock" — a tale of going on the street to score heroin, co-written with punk runk icon and overdose victim Johnny Thunders.

Despite their influence and critical acclaim, though, the Ramones never cracked the Top 40.

While British bands such as the Sex Pistols and Clash received the media attention once punk rock exploded, both were schooled by the Ramones' tour of England that began on the U.S. Bicentennial — July 4, 1976.

"They're the daddy punk group of all time," Joe Strummer, lead singer of the Clash, once told Spin magazine.

Dee Dee Ramone was the band's bassist. The Ramones recorded their first album in February 1976.

The band then earned a loyal cult following with a seemingly endless string of tours where they would crank out 30 songs in 90 minutes.

The Ramones disbanded in 1996 after a tour that followed their final studio album, "Adios Amigos." A live farewell tour album, "We're Outta Here!", was released in 1997.

The coroner's office did not say what drug was suspected of causing Ramone's death. In his autobiography, "Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones," he had written of his struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.


Associated Press Writer Larry McShane in New York contributed to this report.