Monday, June 14, 2010

Record #1 & 2 - The Dee Dee Ramone Rap Collection

Today I bring to you Dee Dee Ramone's monumental rap album, "Standing in the Spotlight". Of course, as we all know (and if you don't know, I pity you), the Ramones are the greatest band of all time. ALL TIME. Deal with it, you hippies.

Anyways, after being with the Ramones for 14 years, (and a short stay in the hospital, no less) Dee Dee Ramone decided to record a 12" rap single entitled "Funky Man" under the name of Dee Dee King.

The song "Funky Man" follows the trail of Dee Dee Ramone/King who is a "Funky / A Funky Guy." You know, a "Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa funky" guy. Yeah. I don't know who this song was written for or why it was created, but apparently it was. The B-Side of the single contains the marvelous "Funky Man (Dub)" which essentially is the same song extended by 2 minutes. Hooray...?

Apparently this magical single got a pretty good response, so Sire Records decided to let Dee Dee record his own full length rap album, "Standing in the Spotlight".

With such gems as "Commotion in the Ocean" and "Baby Doll", the album was a sure-fire hit into the hearts of millions and would be remembered forever as the album that changed the face of history.

Except that didn't happen.

You see, Dee Dee, although a great punk songwriter and bassist, was not a very good rapper or singer. Or rap song writer, for that matter. He loved the music of LL Cool J and Run DMC, and tried to emulate their style, but for some reason he couldn't do it. It may have had something to do with him being really, really white.

The album faded into obscurity, never to be heard from again...

Until one day, someone remembered, "Oh hey, remember when Dee Dee Ramone came out with a rap album and it really sucked?" and they wrote about it, and all the nerds (a.k.a. me, myself, and I) heard about this and did everything they could to secure a copy of this album.

So, of course me being the world's biggest Ramones fan (especially Dee Dee Ramone), I just HAD to get my hands on a copy of this. To be fair, it's not horrible, it's just misguided. I'm sure that Dee Dee was just on some drugs and decided to make a rap album just because he really liked rap. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's EXACTLY what happened.

Now, let's go track by track of the original album and try to explain this madness --

1) Mashed Potato Time - "It's time to rock / It's time to rap / It's time for the mashed potato attack"... It's with those words that Dee Dee King chose to start the first line of the first song that starts this trainwreck. It's basically Debbie Harry singing "Mashed Potato" and "It's the latest / It's the greatest / Put some gravy on your mashed potato" in the background and Dee Dee very slowly "rapping"... Well, it's more like slow talking. Which is what I guess rapping is. I have to say, I really like it when Dee Dee goes "Yeah Yeah Yeah" in his sluggish drugged up drawl. The sax solo is pretty great too.

2) 2 Much 2 Drink - Of course, the second track would be called 2 Much 2 Drink! It's genius. Okay, all joking aside, I really actually like this song. It's ridiculous and fun all at once. The raps get a little awkward at times, but most of the time it seems to flow pretty good. I applaud you Dee Dee King.

3) Baby Doll - Okay, this song's lyrics may be nice and lovey-dovey for his wifey-wifey Vera Ramone, but it makes me cringe. Dee Dee just can't sing a love song. Sorry Dee Dee, I love you, but you can't sing a love song. Just... no. The chorus isn't too bad but that's because thats when the background singers come in.

4) Poor Little Rich Girl - This is actually a pretty good pop punk song. I don't know why it's on this rap album, but still, I like it a lot. The riff's good, the chorus is catchy. I like it. Did I say that already? Okay, well I like it. I really like it. I like it. A Lot. I like it a lot. A whole bunch of liking this song.

5) Commotion in the Ocean - You don't even get 2 lines in before Dee Dee re-uses a great Ramones lyric from "Rockaway Beach". This song consists of a story of Dee Dee King going to the beach. Yippee...? In the end it turns out that "A lesson I learn out of this / I am not a fish"... Wow. Strong words, Dee Dee. I'll put that into thought.

6) German Kid - Okay this is my theme song. This is like superly duperly amazing. If you thought 2 Much 2 Drink was awesome, just wait till you hear this. In this song, he raps in English AND German. So cool. Oh yeah, and the chorus goes "Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaalf American / Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaalf German". Sooooo good. Also, this song includes more background Debbie Harry singing. Cool.

7) Brooklyn Babe - So, it starts out sounding like a good 60's girl group-y type song. But then Dee Dee King comes in and says (not sings, SAYS) "Here's a little serenade / A-bout a Brooklyn Babe". Yeah. I wish it was a girl group-y song. And for the song that actually sounds like a girl group-y song, it doesn't have any Debbie Harry. What's up with that? Also I cringe at the point where Dee Dee tries really hard to sing to you in a faux-tender voice "Baby, baby / You're an angel / You're such a sexy angel / I want to make you my giiiirrrrrrlllll". Eeek.

8) Emergency - This is my favorite song on the album. It could've been a Ramones song. I really enjoy it. Nice and poppy. Also I just really love the lyrics. My favorite set of lyrics are "Next time go shopping if you want a thrill / Now it's time for you to chill". Yes! Really awesome. I love this song.

9) The Crusher - This is another solid song. Not very bad. And it ended up being recorded by the Ramones in 1995 for their last album "¡Adios Amigos!", like 7 years after Dee Dee left the band. Sadly, C. Jay sings on the Ramones version, but I still give them props for recording a Dee Dee King song. High five.

10) I Want What I Want When I Want It - Yet another rap song about being "the best". Sadly, Dee Dee just couldn't pass up doing what every other rapper in the universe has done, and did a song about being "def"... whatever that means. What do I know? I'm white. Anyways, it's an entertaining song and a good end to the album.

So, that's it. It's not so bad. I may sound a little sarcastic when I write all of this, but I do actually enjoy this album. It's fun, and in fact that's all it's meant to be. The music is happy, the lyrics are just fun, and that's why I love it. Dee Dee King is here to make you happy.

Now, if you thought that was the end of Dee Dee King, well you're wrong... DEAD WRONG!!! **insert evil laugh here**

In this magical internet age, many things show up out of what appears to be "nowhere". In my search for many years for everything Dee Dee King related, I've come upon the music video for "Funky Man", an interview with Dee Dee King on the Joe Franklin Show, and... DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN...


Holy crap, the Holy Grail has been found and, unlike what Steven Spielberg wants you to believe, it's not in some random castle that's embedded into a rock wall behind some invisible bridge, it's on my computer. Yes, I have 4 unreleased songs/demos and 6 demos from the "Standing In The Spotlight" sessions. Unsurprisingly, the quality's not so great, since nobody thought anyone would care about this stuff 22 years later. But I do. So THERE, Sire Records.

So, I've got demos for the songs "Poor Little Rich Girl", "Baby Doll", "The Crusher", "German Kid", "2 Much 2 Drink", and "Commotion in the Ocean". On top of this pile are the other 4 demos for the unreleased songs "The Great Adventurer", "The Goon", and 2 (one incomplete) demos for "Max The Cat".

"The Great Adventurer" tells the story of Dr. Dee Dee King, who may or may not be a "great adventurer" who's hobby is "exploring". Hmmm... no thanks.

"The Goon" tells a story of a "goon who's in Manhattan" who seems to be Dee Dee King's rapper arch-nemesis! I really enjoy this song. I think its fun. The riff is awesome. The lyrics are great. Especially the part that goes "I'm an expert at rappin' / With the 'Yo Yo' / I'm rockin' the mic / Like a psycho". YES!! Oh man, I was waiting for that rhyme to come along the entire album. I'm glad it came along eventually. The chorus is pretty catchy. "G-O-O-N / Time for rappin' / 1-2-3-4-5 / Gonna skin your ass alive / 5-6-7-8-9 / Gonna kick the Goon's behind / Jack and Jill went up the hill / Yo, Goon... CHIIIIILLLL". YES YES YES AND DOUBLE YES... NO, WAIT... TRIPLE YES!!! TIMES INFINITY!!! Okay that wasn't THAT awesome, but I love it. It would be a great song for kids if it weren't for the random F-bomb that gets thrown in there before the first chorus, but oh well. Great song, though.

Lastly, we have the song "Max The Cat" which is, of course, sung from the perspective of Dee Dee's cat, Max. Now, THIS is what a kid's rap song should be like. Not terrible, not great. Great to know that Max likes sauerkraut. Never thought I'd ever want to know that, but now that I do, it's pretty cool, I guess.

So that's it. That's the entire career of Dee Dee King, the rapper, with more commentary than necessary. Hey, it interests me, and that's all that matters.

Of course by now, you may be asking "JEREMY HOW CAN I GET THIS AMAZING ALBUM IN THE DELUXE WARNER BROTHER ARCHIVE SERIES BOX SET VERSION RIGHT NOW???" Well, to be frank, that will NEVER, EVER happen and if it does, then may God have mercy on us all.