Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: Poisoned Heart: I Married Dee Dee Ramone (The Ramones Years) a Punk Rock Love Story

I fell in love with the Ramones the first time I saw Rock‘n’ Roll High School, when I was 10 years old. To this day they are one of my favorite bands, possibly my very favorite. So, when I heard about this book on Marky’s Punk Rock Blitzkrieg, I had to check it out. I am so glad I did.

Poisoned Heart, by Vera Ramone King, is the story of Dee Dee Ramone and the life that Vera and Dee Dee spent together, told in a way that no one but Vera could tell it. The book keeps you reading. It has a quick pace and gives insights into the behind-the-scenes life of the Ramones and the tension within the band that may come as a shock to many fans.

Although preceded by a few legendary bands such as Iggy Pop and the Stooges and The New York Dolls, the Ramones are considered by many to be the first punk rock band in history. The Ramones came before the Sex Pistols, and were together for over 20 years. They had a unique sound and style which immediately won over their audience, but the radio stations would not play their songs and it took years of hard work and constant touring for them even begin to get the recognition they deserved.

Dee Dee was a prolific songwriter and wrote most of their songs. Even after he left the band, he continued to write for them. By the time Vera and Dee Dee met, in 1977, the Ramones were well established on the live music scene and had released three albums, but it was not easy going. They struggled to make ends meet and save up for their own place.

Dee Dee and Vera married in September, 1978. They were very much in love, and the love that they held for each other endured through all the hard times and even after they parted ways after 12 years as a couple. In the beginning, Vera could never have guessed what was to come. Dee Dee became the center of her universe. He struggled constantly with his addictions and was eventually diagnosed as bipolar. Holding Dee Dee together, and sometimes just keeping him alive, was more than a full-time job for Vera. It was 24/7.

Just reading Poisoned Heart is an emotional rollercoaster. The ups and downs of Vera’s life with Dee Dee were so extreme, but yet she manages to tell the story with balance. She tells us about Dee Dee’s great side, how loving and thoughtful he could be to her, how generous he was to others, and what a talented man he was. She does not hold back in describing his bad side, either. Dee Dee put her through Hell, and more than once came close to killing her. But she never dwells or wallows in self-pity over those episodes. She tells it all in a very straight-forward manner. Vera tells us about Dee Dee’s demons, giving us an insight into why he behaved the way he did, without making excuses for it.

Vera wrote this book to tell Dee Dee’s story. She wants us to remember him for his good points and the way he touched people’s lives, not just the turmoil and self-destruction that is so often a part of the image. But make no mistake, this book is Vera’s story, too, and her story in itself is both amazing and inspiring.

The Ramones were one of the most influential bands of all time. Dee Dee and Vera Ramone were often called the Royal Couple of Punk Rock. Poisoned Heart is Vera's story of their time together.


I originally published this review on Associated Content in 2010. Shortly thereafter, Associated Content became Yahoo! Voices. Then in 2014, Yahoo! Voices shut down. Now I am discovering that some of my articles, including this review, have been stolen and republished without credit. For those who want to know more about that story, here is an article about that subject by another former Associated Content/Yahoo Contributor Network author.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Only 2 Days Until National Feral Cat Day!

Only two days left until National Feral Cat Day!
If you're going to be in LA on Friday, October 16, check out my photos on display at the National Feral Cat Day art reception put on by Kitty Bungalow - Stray Art: Faces of FeralIt's happening at the Art District Downtown Photo Collective, 2432 E 8th St., from 6:00pm to 10:00pm.
While many dream of Christmas Day and Fourth of July, our students' favorite holiday is the upcoming National Feral Cat Day on October 16th.  As a 100% feral cat rescue, this day means a lot to our students, and you joining in the celebration will mean even more!
Our Annual Feral Cat Photography Gallery Event will be held this year at the Arts District Downtown Photo Collective! This event promises to be bigger and better then before, with more contributing artists, games, prizes, kittens, and crafted kitty cocktails!
Please join us for this special event on October 16th!  Mix and mingle, meet our current class of kittens, and share a drink with a friend. This is a free event. RSVP here!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Frank Dillane in ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ more like Michael Hutchence in ‘Dogs In Space’

People keep comparing Frank Dillane to Johnny Depp, and I get that, but when I saw the opening scene of Fear the Walking Dead all I could think about was Michael Hutchence in Dogs in Space!

There are 12 videos up there, and none of them has quite enough of the scenes I wanted, but you should really just watch the movie anyway. Everyone should see it! 
The movie is set in Melbourne, in 1978. It is about a band called Dogs in Space, and a houseful of interesting characters. Hutchence plays Sam, the lead singer. His character was inspired by Sam Sejavka of The Ears.
The movie has some amazing music including The Ears, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Marie Hoy (singing Shivers), to name a few.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Punk Rock Pre-School Is A Thing And I Want To Go - MTV

You have to go read the article, or at least see the really cool picture from the article that I wasn't able to post here.
So what exactly is Punk Rock Pre-School? Well, it’s basically a (lite) crash-course in the music business — mixed with all the usual fare kids learn before they head to kindergarten. Geller has written eight songs in total to teach the kids about everything from geography to currency.