There are some stories that you know aren’t going to turn out to be the most savoury before you even start reading. The reissue of the late Douglas Colvin’s (aka Dee Dee Ramone) autobiography is one of them. It’s not exactly a biography of The Ramones, (though they dominate proceedings) but more often documents the desperate, sleazy, junky mess that Dee Dee’s life prior, during and after the band.
Nakedly honest, the tale pans out in a matter-of-fact manner, from Dee Dee’s difficult, army brat childhood, through discovering heroin and, somewhere along the line, finding that he was a musician of sorts, having a kind of success in a world he pretty much despises. He quickly came to feel a misfit (amid a band full of them). As tragic as it gets; solidarity and the bruvva-hood are both explored then exploded by Dee Dee; hollow myths and empty promises vie for space alongside his staggers in the shadows.
Neither lurid nor exploitative, the drudge and disasters pile up throughout a book that’s resolutely upsetting. That someone who engendered such passion and love from his fans could never channel that warmth into a more positive energy is arguably the biggest tragedy of them all.