Dee Dee Ramone - History on My Arms DVD Review (MVD Visual) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dee Dee Ramone - History on My Arms DVD Review (MVD Visual)

Dee Dee Ramone History on My Arms DVD Review"History on My Arms" is a reissue of Lech Kowalski's 2003 documentary "Hey Is Dee Dee Home" with two additional video vignettes and a bonus audio CD.

I would assume that most readers are familiar with "Hey Is Dee Dee Home" so I won't go into great detail on the main feature. "Hey Is Dee Dee Home" contains interview footage with Dee Dee that was shot in 1992 for the still-unreleased Johnny Thunders bio-pic "Born to Lose". As such, the main subject of the interview is Johnny Thunders, The Heartbreakers and the almost-super group Whores of Babylon (which included Johnny, Stiv Bators and Dee Dee). Dee Dee is candid and honest about his drug habit and his relationships with Joey (stole his TV), Richard Hell (used to cop together) and Johnny (who he seems to respect but not particularly like). The main feature is a bit sad as Dee Dee seems fairly proud of his healthy living and that he doesn't have track marks on his arms anymore. He even asks the film crew to get him vitamins when they go out for coffee.

"History on My Arms" is the first of the vignettes and, while it is somewhat interesting, its non-essential. The first ten minutes shows Dee Dee riffing around on a guitar while the film crew sets up. The film then goes into an uninterrupted narrative of Dee Dee explaining the history behind each of his tattoos. While its kind of cool to see Dee Dee tell the 'history on his arms' uninterrupted, most of this footage is used in different parts of the main feature (with some different camera angles). The only thing to note though is that the continuous rolling of the camera brings out more of Dee Dee's personality and gives him a lovable charm.

I found "Vom in Paris" to be fascinating as I've read "Please Kill Me" (which spends some time talking about the "Whores of Babylon" recording sessions) and keep waiting for the full "Whores of Babylon" sessions to be released. Vom Ritchie was the drummer for the band and he reaccounts a significantly different version of the Dee Dee/Johnny Thunders falling out and the incidents that transpired that got Dee Dee sent back to NYC. I won't be a spoiler so I'm going to stop here.

"Dee Dee Blues" is a 40 minute bonus CD which is the 'diamond in the rough' of this release. This is a raw, lo-fi document of Dee Dee riffing on his guitar (seemingly dancing around the melody for "Can't Put Your Arm Around A Memory" at times), playing covers and talking to his cat. As a long-time bootleg collector, I think this footage is priceless.

If you are a Dee Dee Ramone fan, you need this release. If your reference point for Dee Dee is "Blitzkrieg Bop", this release probably isn't a good place to start.