Vera Ramone King married the Ramones bass player Dee Dee and lived with him for many years. It was a rollercoaster of a ride. Dee Dee could be the sweetest, loving guy on the block, but he could also be the craziest, drugged up, bi polar car crash around. From being forced at gun or knifepoint to drive Dee Dee to score drugs, through to looking after every part of his life, Vera put up with it all. She has now written a brilliant new book on her life with the Ramones legend-‘Poisoned Heart-I married Dee Dee Ramone. Vivelepunk spoke with Vera from her home in Florida.
It sounds like you went through some pretty scary times with Dee De. Did you actually think he could kill you?
Well it CERTAINLY crossed my mind you know. When the need for drugs take over, the person will do ANYTHING to get them and there is ALWAYS a chance that his intimidation tactic could have gone horribly wrong! Yes, I WAS scared!! I KNEW what he WAS capable of and I was basically at his mercy. People need to recognize that addiction is a disease like cancer or anything else. It needs to be treated accordingly. It doesn't make you a bad person.
What was it like the first time you came to England with the Ramones when punk was just kicking off.? Who did you meet?
The first time I flew to England, I met him in London. We hadn't seen each other for two whole weeks after the wedding and we finally reunited and were ecstatic to be together again. They were busy touring at the time and were scheduled to do the "Top Of The Pops" and "The Old Grey Whistle Test". We met and hung out with Bryan Adams and were introduced to several other pop stars that were on the same shows. It was all very exciting and somewhat magical and surreal at the time. We had a blast!
Charlie Harper from the UK Subs was telling me recently the Ramones treated them really well on their first European tour with you guys.
The Uk Subs WERE GREAT! I still have a HUGE original poster from when they played together and we travelled all over Europe with them. They UK Subs were quite popular at the time and the shows were SOLD OUT every nite. The Ramones enjoyed working with them and they were always on time and very professional. Just AWESOME! Nice guys!
Do you really think the band were cursed (by the preacher you encountered after that early show) and do you think all the tragedy around the band and yourself is down to that?
You know, I've been asked THAT question quite a few times. Honestly speaking, I don't KNOW if there REALLY is such a thing as a curse? But after the three of them passing within a year of each other at approximately the same age , It definately struck a chord with me you know. Three months after Johnny's passing I was diagnosed with brain cancer, it was then I started to put it all together and WONDER?? WHAT If there WAS something to this? Not long after that Linda Stein there former manager was found murdered in her 5th Ave. penthouse apartment! Bludgeoned to death! I just DON't KNOW what to think? Coincidence? Possibly. But what IF there is actually more to it? I guess we'll never know.
What was the best tour/trip you went on with the Ramones?
God, they were ALL AMAZING!! The World Tour was long, hard and tedious at times but probably the MOST memorable. Every day was a new adventure, a different country, new people , new scenery, foods we never ate before, beautiful countries. Meeting Great fans and the best shows EVER! They gave their ALL every night and we enjoyed it immensley. It was fun, intense and hard at times as well because of the long hours in the tour bus, but when you're young you can bounce right back and do it all again the next day!!
And the worst?
The worst was probably when we were fighting amongst each other. There were different sections of the bus that we all stayed in so we didn't have ANY contact with each other. Then they wouldn't even go to pick up their hotel keys at the front desk together, for fear of bumping into one another. Also, stopping to eat on the road. We would be spaced out in different areas of the restaurant so we wouldn't have to look at each other. IT SUCKED! Being on the road for months at a time can cause friction and hostility and eventually we all needed a little space for ourselves between tours, so we seldom socialized together when we weren't on the road.
Besides Dee De, did you have a favourite Ramone?
The Ramones became my family and I do have to admit that Joey and Marky as well as Richie (when he was in the band) were more fun and I was closer to them. Marky, his wife Marian and I are STILL close friends. Richie and his wife Annette are also good friends of mine to this day. Tommy and I are still friends and always will be . We just don't speak or see each other that often. But I love them ALL.
I am going to buy Dee Dees rap album soon-I really love the song the Crusher that’s on there. What did you think of that album and Dee Des rap career?
I happen to think that his rap album is AMAZING for it's time! It's SO DEE DEE!!! it was never meant to be a serious rap album but he managed to fuse the rap with the Ramons sense of humor together and it's very enjoyable. It is hard to find and is a collectors item because it is SO rare. At the time it came out the record company didn't know what? audience to market it to. It wasn't hardcore rap and there was NO Hanna Montanna audience at the time, so it sort of fell through the cracks. He was once AGAIN way ahead of his time!
Did you have any contact in the 2 years before he died?
Unfortunately, After I left NY and moved to Florida to start "a new life", the communication between us became non-existant. We both remarried and he also moved out of NY and went to California. Even though we were no longer together, there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think of him and I miss him very much to this day. He will always be a part of me. No regrets whatsoever. I'd marry him all over again.
Are the Ramones the greatest American band ever??
There have been many GREAT performers in our lifetime. Elvis certainly is one. He broke the "mold" so to speak. The Beatles changed the world with their music, the Ramones created a sound that is STILL so powerful with the music we hear today and Michael Jackson is also one of kind. "AMAZING" is how I would describe them. They were ALL different from one another but they ARE the TRUE legends that have changed music as we know it for generations to come.
Thanks so much Vera-stay safe, all the best-and give my regards to New York!! Cheers Eugene
Thank You Eugene, It's been MY pleasure and please send all the Ramones fans in the UK all the Best from us here in the US!!
GABBA GABBA HEY!!!
KEEP THE MUSIC ALIVE!!
Vera Ramone King