Scott’s Dee Dee saga continues below…
In L.A, Dee Dee had his own people to see and places to go so we stayed at a couple of friends’ house rather than throwing loot on a room. We were in their back yard shooting a pi?É¬±ata with a BB gun. At the time, they were hanging out with the guitar player from L.A. Guns. He was short, and kind of a snooty prick for being short and in such a lame-assed band. He didn’t thrill at the target practice like we did, but rather than simply go away, he had to remark “boy, this is exciting.” Hmmph. At this point, Al was taking a turn, and decided to aim directly at Traci Guns’ face, maintaining a deadpan stare, rock solid still. See, Al was about six foot six, long black hair, naturally pale with deep dark circles around the eyes from all the poison. Al was tall, the prick was short. This was pure hilarity and everyone in attendance guffawed until the silly boy skulked away.
Al delighted in frightening small children and their grandparents, even though he was generally a sweet fellow. In St. Louis, the owner of the bar we played at also happened to be a hot hot hottie and prone to allowing transient drunks to live in her house and paint naked portraits of her. Al recognized this immediately and decided to make her his girlfriend, at least for the week he and I would stay behind. It was the last show of a leg, and payday, so we took our loot and our bags, and told everyone, “See ya! We’re takin’ the bus back.” Yes, her house was filled with naked portraits of herself, in oils, acrylics and volumes of photographic albums. She fed us mushrooms, and kept us up all night in East St. Louis, where we performed the time-honored ritual of drinking Old Style in the strip-bar parking lot from 6:00 to 7:00 am, the one hour out of 24 where the bars have to close to empty the ashtrays and wave a washcloth in front of the vinyl lounge chairs. We still had a night in the hotel, so we went back for fully-clothed hot tub and continental breakfast. That went well, until a gang of children from the group home for Downs syndrome came down to use the pool, at which point we got seats near the buffet, and had Al go up for muffins and juice. A towering, dripping wet, gothic monstrosity in black engineer boots and spurs smoking a red at the pancake griddle – will clear a buffet in seconds.
It’s only about a 7 hour drive back to Detroit, but at least twice as long by bus. With little else to do on such a long drive, Al and I decided it would be best to be drunk. We brought a large bottle of some manner of white liquor, I believe it was a well-caliber vodka, and a case of Bud in cans. The idea was that the awful booze would maybe go slower. Awful booze is pretty good and goes fast on a Greyhound. We passed out and inadvertently dumped the empty beer cans on the floor of the bus, where they tinked and tanked and rolled all over the floor for the remainder of the trip. I faintly recall the angry face of the driver in the rear view. He was saying something, to us I think. Whatever. Good trip.
Got stuck in Florida on a freeway overpass during the ’92 presidential election. Saw the entire motorcade from twenty feet up. Could have hit any vehicle in the procession with a rock. Saw George H. W. Bush passed out in the back seat of the presidential limo with his shirt undone and his mouth wide open. I didn’t follow politics back then, but could tell he didn’t really want it and was going to lose.
On six different occasions while touring the U.S., even though we didn’t share the same booking agent, we preceded Dee Snyder, (from Twisted Sister) and his band Widomaker. Never saw ’em. I’m sure they were mediocre at best. Oh, who am I kidding, I guarantee they sucked. It was surreal. Every place we went, there were flyers with Dee Snyder’s face. He haunted us. Each time they were to play after us, our show would be empty, or sound like shit, or just basically suck. The sixth and final time, in Houston, the advance ticket sales were so poor the venue cancelled the show. Oh well, we got the deposit, and a night off.
Couldn’t keep this up though. Arrived in L.A. once with absolutely no money, wiring the booking agent for advance cash to eat. We had to get full money on every show from here to the end of the leg- up to Seattle, back to Boise, somewhere in Wyoming, Denver, Omaha, back home. If we missed one, we wouldn’t make it to the next one. Big show – Club 54, huge advance sales, big PA. We were lubed up from three weeks out and sound check was wailin’. There was even a line of people at the door. (!?!?) We waited outside in the van. Dee Dee wore Chuck Taylors, ripped jeans, a crusty tee shirt, and had cropped his hair short. He looked at me for approval; “See, Scott, I wore the Uniform today. I dunno, I think it looks pretty cool. What do you think?” Yeah, Dee Dee, it’s cool man, lets wail.
Tom couldn’t find the soundman, or the stage manager. No one who was around when we did sound check three hours earlier could be found. We sat. There were actually hot chicks waiting in line to get in. We couldn’t get out of the van. Fuck. This went on for almost an hour. Tom was frantic trying to find someone. He’d come back to the van, have a cigarette, go looking again. Dee Dee got nerky and jervous and decided to bail. Oh shit, here we go.
Before we knew it, he was out of the van and halfway across the parking lot. We jumped out and trotted to keep up. He was going to try to walk right in past the security at the front door.
Of course they stopped him. I think they may have even touched him. Eek. How would they know who he was? Unacceptable. “That’s it, we’re fucking leaving!” “I’m not playing here, Tom, I’m sorry.” “Sorry guys, but fuck that, that’s it.” “I don’t fucking care, let’s go”
“Okay, Dee Dee, let’s go.”
No more show, no more tour, no more nothing. No loot for food, no loot for weed, no rider beer or booze. No pretty girls. Crap! Only thing left to do was drive straight home to Detroit. Dee Dee jumped on a plane. If you were ever curious about how long it takes: it’s 40 hours give or take. I guess Mapquest’ll tell you that anymore, so its not such a mystery as it once was.
That wasn’t the end, though. We toured for almost 2 years, all over the U.S. Listened to a lot of truck stop cassettes of Patsy Cline, Waylon, Willie, and Merle, and Cash. Got to see the whole country. Mountains. Desert. So cool. Blasted holes in a lot of bibles. Pretended to be famous.
Dee Dee showed me a spot in a dressing room in Athens, Ga. that he and “his friend Joey used to hide beer from our manager” years ago. He swore it was the place, he was serious. I believed him, and when I looked at it I thought I heard echoes of the Ramones still clinging to the dirty paint.
One time, we were trying to come up with a different cover to play. Someone suggested 53rd and 3rd, a classic from the first Ramones album, but no one knew how to play it. Dee Dee thought he remembered. This was one of the very few Ramones tunes that Dee Dee had a singing part in. He played it for us in a dressing room in Washington, D.C. He mumbled Joey’s vocal part, but when he got to the part he sang, it was like someone put the needle on the record:
Then I took out my razor blade – Then I did what God forbade – Now the cops are after me – But I proved that I’m no sissy…
That’s it Mike, thanks for lettin’ me pop off.
(Scott, the pleasure was mine – thanks for sharing all that history with us. Still hard to believe he’s gone…)