Things that we never expected to hear: Okkervil River’s Will Sheff has an electronic side project… and it’s actually quite good. Sheff released a song under the name Lovestreams earlier this week, and we’ve been rather enjoying it here at Flavorpill central, despite initial reservations about what in god’s name it might sound like. The track makes Sheff the latest in a long-ish line of guitar-wielding types who’ve decided that they’re rather like to twiddle knobs on the side, with wildly varying degrees of success. With that in mind, we thought we’d amuse ourselves looking at some such artists, ranking them from the very best to the very, very worst. … Read More
Dee Dee Ramone
Things about which we are tired of hearing include: Wavves. As such, we greeted the news that Nathan Williams has a bitchin’ new side project with his bro with stony indifference — frankly, the last thing anyone needs to hear at this point is Wavves and his brother making a hip-hop record under the adolescent-tastic name Sweet Valley. (You’ll never guess, but he’s done an interview with VICE about it, in which he answers the hard-hitting question “Are you bored with rock ‘n’ roll?” with a deeply heartfelt “Yeah, I suppose so. At times.”) Still, it’s not the most gratuitously unnecessary side project in music history… Not compared to the ones after the jump. … Read More
Few people know that the first person to call himself a Ramone was Dee Dee, aka Douglas Glenn Colvin. Born in Fort Lee, Virginia in 1951, the future rock star spent an itinerant army-brat childhood in Germany, relocating to Queens at the age of 15. In 1974, he went on to become a founding member of the Ramones, allegedly inspired to change his last name because Paul McCartney once briefly went by “Paul Ramon.”
The Ramones became five men who all adopted the same last name: Dee Dee, Johnny, Joey, Tommy, and Marky. The “brothers” referenced the raw emotions and simple, catchy riffs of their midcentury rock ‘n’ roll antecedents, but their rebellious, long-haired aesthetic and heartrendingly earnest sound was all their own. In addition to founding the band, Dee Dee is also the one to have written most of its hits, including “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” the title of Roger Corman’s 1979 movie co-starring the Ramones and Andy Warhol icon Mary Woronov. … Read More
Rolling Stone recently posted a slideshow of art by famous musicians, including Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, Jim Morrison, Dee Dee Ramone, Grace Slick, Brian Eno, and Captain Beefheart. Given what they sound like, we were rather surprised by certain musicians’ visual output. Can you correctly identify which pieces belong to which artist? We’ll start with an easy one. … Read More
Vera Ramone King has spent a large part of her life loving the most notorious member of the Ramones — bass player Dee Dee Ramone. For those not old enough to recall, Dee Dee was the Ramones’ tabloid sweetheart. Despite the cliché rock-star debauchery, Dee Dee was also a major songwriting force in the band. He retained an infectious childlike charm and charisma that drew many to him, including the aforementioned Mrs. Ramone King.
Poisoned Heart, Ramone King’s memoir regarding her life with Dee Dee, is first and foremost a rock memoir with all the over-the-top excess you’d expect to hear from a band wife’s point of view. There’s a story arc that delves into Dee Dee’s mental issues, chemical dependencies, his stint as an aspiring rapper, and his tragic and untimely demise soon after the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We dropped Vera a line and asked — really — what was it like to be Dee Dee’s main squeeze?… Read More