4 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, September 29, 1994
By MATT CARLSON
The Ramones. An American clas-
sic band. Four guys from Brooklyn
furiously pounding their guitars and
drum set seemingly without reason
and creating some of the best rock 'n'
roll ever pressed to vinyl.
Dee Dee Ramone, the band's bass
player and main songwriter, always
had a rough time in the spotlight,
however. He usually blended in with
the seedy underbelly of New York
City - the grimy clubs, the hazy
alleyways, the darkened streets.
And, Dee Dee, like so many other
rock icons from the '70s, battled a
heroin addiction that seemed to in-
spire his song writing with a dark
passion, bringing his words to new
heights. He co-wrote "Chinese
Rocks," detailing the perils of dope.
Some people must have certainly
thought he returned to shooting smack
in 1989, when he released "Standing
in the Spotlight," his first solo album.
Good ol' Dee Dee, always thejokester,
released an album of rap songs, with
enough camp to rival Adam West.
But therein lies the joke - Dee
Dee was not joking. Quite suddenly
after leaving the Ramones, he began
to think of himself as a streetwise
"Dee Dee isn't a rap artist," said
Ramones' drummer Marky, "he's a
seff up into a new package
You are already accepted at
1236 Washtenaw Court
(one block south of Geddes & Washtenaw)
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.
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rock artist. I thought it was sort of
unusual. One day he started wearing
Mercedes Benz chains around his neck
and gold rings. It was crazy. You
know, I really think he lost his mind."
Oh yes, he definitely did lose his
mind, at least temporarily. "Standing
in the Spotlight" will go down in the
annals of American popular music as
one of the worst recordings of all
time. Which, naturally makes it one
hell of a great collector's item.
Dee Dee's style of rap is some-
thing out of Snoop Dogg's and Chuck
D's worst nightmares. Imagine, ifyou
will, a pimply-faced teenager whose
voice keeps cracking. Now, throw in
an adult's voice from Charles
Schultz's "Peanuts" cartoons. You
know, the indecipherable "wah-wa-
wah-wah." Finally, imagine a rapper
who has no rhythm. Presto! You have
Dee Dee King.
Listen to his wise words. Actu-
ally, you don't have to listen closely,
for Dee Dee has included the lyrics, a
good thing, because you may not be
able to hear them over the roar of your
laughter. Now, the Ramones' lyrics
aren't exactly on the same literary
levels as Shakespeare or Milton, or
even Mad Magazine, but Dee Dee
plummeted to the depths of stupidity
for these "gems."
"Standing in the Spotlight" opens
with a cover of the oldie but goodie
"Mashed Potato Time," with a little
of Dee Dee'sown embellishment with
the words: "The mashed potato is in
the groove / It's gonna make your
body move / Make you snap, crackle
and pop!/ I'm the master of hip hop."
Or: "I'm as cool as they come / you
other rappers better runI I'm as strong
as Sly Stallone /I take the beat home."
At least Dee Dee copped the right
attitude for this one. Everyone knows
that all rappers love to brag about
their dope rhymes and beats. But,
unfortunately, Dee Dee ends up brag-
ging about a rap that's done in some
sort of off-rhythm samba beat.
Dee Dee saved the best for later
though, as you'll never be able to
recover from the brilliant stupidity of
"German Kid." It appears as if Dee
Dee is proud of his ancestry for in this
little ditty he raps "You wouldn't be-
lieve / The places I've been / It's
pretty cool / To be half German /Slap
me five / Give me some skin /1I used
to live / In Berlin." He then actually
spews forth some rhymes in German!
And you don't have to be multi-lin-
gual to figure out that the words aren't
much better in a different language.
Oddly, the album was produced
by Daniel Rey and released on Sire
Records. Also, as another added bo-
nus, Debbie Harry sings backup on
"Mashed Potato Time" and "German
Kid." So, many people were involved.
"Standing in the Spotlight" was a
very embarrassing joke for Dee Dee
Ramone. He managed to eventually
live it down (except when Tower
Records' employees placed the record
at the front of the bargain bin when
Dee Dee frequented the store) and has
gotten back into the rock scene with
!his new band The Chinese Dragons;
Dee Dee is and will always be 4
,Ramone, but for one not-so-shini4
moment, he was Dee Dee King --
tough, suave and very idiotic. "Stand-
ng in the Spotlight" is definitely a
priceless gem worth picking up.
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