History On My Arms with Dee Dee Ramone DVD
If you aren’t familiar with The Ramones and know who Dee Dee Ramone is, promptly ground yourself to your room and don’t come out until you figure it out because The Ramones contribution to the world of punk rock, and music in general is legendary.
In 1991 Lech Kowalski spent a day filming an interview with Dee Dee Ramone about his life as well as his involvement with Johnny Thunders who was a sometime friend, one time band mate, and fellow junkie. Lech made this into a 60 minute film a dozen years later called Hey Is Dee Dee Home. That is included on this DVD along with two other features, History on My Arms, and Vom in Paris.
Hey Is Dee Dee Home is a candid and intimate look into the life of one of punk’s founders as told in his own words. It is a bit scattered and disjointed at times as it seems Dee Dee is just firing off random stories as he remembers him but inside all of that is some pretty interesting tales about him making music with Johny Thunders, writing “Chinese Rocks” (one of the best punk songs ever), and lots of stories about copping dope, the failed “super group” attempt with Stiv Bators, Johnny Thunders and himself, and what his tattoos mean to him. At times he even picks up a guitar and makes a little bit of music. It’s part train wreck and part history lesson.
History On My Arms is a 27 minute short film made from outtakes and portions of Hey Is Dee Dee Home. It focuses mainly on Dee Dee telling the story of where he got his various tattoos mixed with a few other tales A lot of it feels recycled from Hey Is Dee Dee Home (and it is) but there is a few parts that are exclusive to this film. At 20 minutes in length it goes by pretty quickly, but feels a bit unnecessary after watching the film that this was spawned from.
Vom in Paris is a 22 minute interview with Vom Ritchie of Die Toten Hosen who was the drummer for the failed “super group” and tells his side of the story about what happened when Dee Dee came to Paris and how it all fell apart. Since Dee Dee tells his side of the story in Hey Is Dee Dee Home, it was interesting to see someone else’s take on it but I found myself quickly losing interest not too long into the interview.
The video is full frame for all the features on the DVD and the audio is 2.0 stereo. The DVD is packaged with a small booklet with a couple photos and an excerpt from Dee Dee’s interview. It also contains a CD called Dee Dee Blues which is a single microphone recording of Dee Dee with his guitar goofing around It is split into three tracks that total about an hour in length.
If you are a hardcore Ramones fan you will likely find something of interest with this release and may want to pick it up if you are the type that has to have everything related to the band. Casual fans may want to check out a rental copy in the event that you are curious but wouldn’t likely watch this more than once.