Second installment of Scott’s Dee Dee saga below the fold:
First gig in New York. On the way we played in Buffalo. Lame gig, don’t even remember it, other than it was forgettable. Went to some college hangout after, and the guys from the Goo Goo Dolls thought we were so cool ’cause we played with Dee Dee. Yeah, that and fifty cents still doesn’t get me laid.
The Chinese Dragons had the lamest, most clueless booking agent EVER. He had no idea who the Ramones were, and how to sell Dee Dee. I guess he’d burned a lot of bridges upon leaving the Ramones, so took what he could get. We really had no dealings on the business end. There was some old guy, Doug the Slug, that was supposedly Dee Dee’s “manager.” What a joke. This gut booked us to play at Robert Morris college somewhere outside Pittsburgh. Now, the cachet of the Dee Dee named carried a nice price tag. We got between 750 and 2000 bucks a gig, half in advance to even show up. For dirty rock bands, I think that was about the tops if you had no record out – just cashing in on the name. Plus, the venue had to provide a reasonable PA and stage show, which I think meant they couldn’t just have a couple of flood bulbs trained on the corner of the bar with a powered wedge. Well, the poor kid that booked this gig at the college had to farm the whole thing out. I think they had a stage in the student union where the show was to be held, but the PA and big frickin’ light show was brought in. We estimated the total expenditure at about 3500 bucks, probably the entire student union entertainment budget for the year.
Not one solitary ticket was sold. AND…We had to play a full set. Full PA, full light show with the truss and everything, opening bands, Dee Dee Ramone and the Chinese Dragons – playing for the guy from the college, probably a groundskeeper/janitor, sitting at the door with the empty cash box and unused roll of tickets. It would have been depressing were it not for the $1750 we got paid to basically rehearse with a nice PA.
Along with the price tag, we had a substantial contract rider. Full catered meal for band, guitar dope, tour manager. Cases and cases of beer, Absolut, Jager, Jack, and NyQuil. Now we all liked to tip a bit, some of us more than others, but there was no way on earth we could ever consume, even with plenty of help, all the booze we were provided. Usually, we would end a two or three week leg with a good $25 or more in bottles. You just had to be carefull they didn’t notice the bottles were all from states without deposits when you returned them.
Oh yeah, the NyQuil. The tour manager, Tom, didn’t really drink much. I think he was a drinker at some point, but was now in a position of responsibility, and needed to keep out of trouble. He’d have beers now and then, but his regular regular was a bottle of NyQuil, quickly consumed at the beginning of the day’s drive. This would induce a coma that typically lasted exactly the length of the day’s drive – 5 hours, 15, whatever. After a few weeks, he started lifting sheets from the motels and draping them accross the back bench in the van. On the occasion that we did peek back there to see what he was up to, it was always the same thing: he would take off all his clothes save for some white briefs, and pass out reading some book on military history or the Cuban Missle Crisis. One day he pissed me off and I called him a “faggot” in the middle of a crowded hotel lobby in Buenos Aires. There was no NyQuil in Argentina, so he locked himself in his hotel room and watched ESPN international, which had, of all things, the fucking Red Wings on!?! Yeah, Tom the tour manager, also known as old woman #1.
In Buenos Aires in 1992, the T-shirt shops always had the same four bands on display; Metallica, Guns and Roses, and the Ramones. (I forget the fourth; Slayer? Menudo? Sergio Mendes?) As I’m sure I’ve indicated earlier, in South America, the Ramones were the Beatles. We were mobbed at the BA airport by, no shit, at least a hundred kids with banners, yelling “Dee Dee!” and singing football songs to us: “Ole! Ole, Ole, Ole!” etc. They mobbed the hotel. We couldn’t go out the front for the first couple days. We would sneak out the side and into a van to go to the Radio or TV stations, and the kids would run through the streets and get there BEFORE we did. I was sitting in front one time and a kid had a super cool Attaque ’77 shirt and was pounding on the window. I said “Cool shirt,” so he took it off and gave it to me, for which I exchanged whatever thrift store wear I had on.
In BA the coffee is so good they don’t have breakfast at all. A couple of sugary treats and you’re set ’til lunch. The coffee was so good I didn’t eat at all the day of the first gig, and threw up all over my high-hat stand, right after Ace of Spades. Nice. Learned to order pizza in spanish: uno pico mozarella.
Got ink in BA, where they serve you quarts of beer while they ink you with homemade guns. No English. Art? No art: “we do eet flee hand, you non move, m’kay?” Good way to get a tattoo. I’d like to get another that way.
My pal Big Gom was my drum tech at the time, and went to BA with us. The two of us fantasized for years about driving all the way to Argentina somehow. We would sit on the sidewalk and scrape our jaws on the pavement starring at the gorgeous women strolling by. That trip was over too soon.
I only remember speaking to Dee Dee once on our trip to South America. Dee Dee had a serious weed habit, but none of us had the balls to try to sneak any down, so we were dry for almost the entire trip. Plenty of cocaine down there, no weed. One day, Dee Dee was signing autographs in front of the hotel. I asked him how he was doing. He glared at me like I just pissed on his shoes.
Installment Three tomorrow.