Step Inside the Famed Chelsea Hotel with Dee Dee Ramone, Bass Player for the Ramones
Not many know that most of the songs by the Ramones were written by its bass player, Dee Dee Ramone. Even the classic song by the Heartbreakers, “Chinese Rocks,” was a creation of the once male prostitute turned rock star. His creative mind becomes unleashed within the pages of Chelsea Horror Hotel: A Novel released 13 months before his heroin overdose. Behind the crazy antics one encounters while reading, there appears to be some honesty, between the lines, which give you a better picture of the person, Dee Dee Ramone.
Within the book, you enter the day-to-day life of Dee Dee Ramone at the Chelsea Hotel, years after his run with the Ramones. His wife Barbara, dog Banfield, and he occupy a room, the same room Dee Dee believes used to house friend Sid Vicious, of the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. They are not the only ghost of punk rock past you encounter in this short read. Towards the end, Johnny Thunders (of the New York Dolls), Jerry Nolan (of the New York Dolls), Stiv Bators (the Dead Boys), Sid, and Dee Dee get together for a gig from hell. It’s about as twisted and killer as you might think.
Also while reading, you get an exaggerated look into the famed hotel that housed countless drug abusers and rock stars. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s make-believe only when speaking of the overall feel of Dee Dee’s mental state and his dread of being inside the hotel. The demonic possession, ghosts, stabbings/overall violence, and satan’s appearance can probably be summed up as fiction. Maybe? ha.ha. There are moments, however, when it appears Dee Dee is venting and telling the truth about how he feels. No better than this section from the book below:
“I am a junkie!” I shouted. “What do you expect me to look like? The picture of happiness or something? When everybody wants something from me? Right! Even in my last few moments on earth! I guess I am expected to sacrifice everything for everybody else. But I never get anything back in return. I am fed up! Do you hear me? I am fed up!!”Chelsea Horror Hotel: A Novel by Dee Dee Ramone
Damn – right? That’s Dee Dee Ramone shouting in his own novel. There must be some truth to that on how he felt about himself, how he felt about his life. You see this idea he has for himself, as a person who needs to sacrifice everything for everybody else, in his memoir Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones, too.
Which is why I think it’s important to read this book beyond the entertainment value. You gain an understanding about the weight Dee Dee Ramone felt he had to carry, a weight we all struggle with some times. So, I say – have a laugh, become disturbed, and get to know the twisted, beaut that is Dee Dee by reading Chelsea Horror Hotel: A Novel.