Dee Dee King Interview

As a founding member of, and bassist for The Ramones, Dee Dee Ramone has taken a surprise career twist. He's changed his name to Dee Dee King, and recorded a rap album called "Standing in the Spotlight" (Sire Records). What on earth has gotten into Dee Dee Ramone? That's what we wanted to find out.

Q - Why did you decide to do a cover version of the "Mashed Potato"? Why not the "Freddie" or "Limbo Rock"?
A - Well, I originally wrote the twist lyrics for Chubby Checker and then I got screwed out of it. He courted me and wanted to do the record with me, and then I didn't hear from him, for a couple of weeks, and it came out with the Fat Boys, with my idea. So, I just decided to do The Mashed Potato. I really liked it. It was a good dance song. I wanted to do something with a girl vocalist, with Debbie Harry. I like that old 60's type sound.

Q - How did you get Debbie Harry to join you on this album?
A - She's been a friend of mine for 15 years. We used to play CBGB's. The Ramones and Blondie together.

Q - How did you get interested in rap?
A -I started hearing it on the streets in my neighborhood, like kids were rapping in the park with boom boxes walking around, playing rap. Right now kids are walking around playing Tone-Loc on the boom boxes. It's kind of like the music of the boroughs of Queens, New York. Everybody is interested in it here. It's really happening in Queens. I just wanted to bring a little bit out of it to the rest of the world and try and cross over to a wide audience.

Q - Do you think rap is one of the more exciting forms of music around today?
A - Definitely. I think it's like punk rock, that anyone can do it. You don't have to be a guitar wizard or go to Julliard and study music. Like anybody with an imagination can do it?

Q - Are you still in The Ramones?
A - Yeah. Sure.

Q - Where did you come up with this name King?
A - From Stephen King. I really admire him as a writer. I thought this name King would sound good. You needed a rap name. I didn't want to use the name Dee Dee Ramone, because when people bought the record, I didn't want them to think it would be too much like The Ramones. I wanted to do something different.

Q - So, what’s your daily life like these days?
A – Well, it's pretty hectic. I do interviews all day and rehearse with the band (The Ramones). We have a song coming out for the new Pet Semetary movie. Things are really busy. Starting in May were just gonna be on the road constantly.

Q - How important of a role did New Wave or as some people would call punk, play in the history of rock music?
A - Well, I think it opened up the doors to a lot of groups! A lot of groups made it, had hit records, like The Knack or The Smithereens, or Joe Jackson or Billy Idol. Those people wouldn't have been around if it weren't for punk.

Q - Why didn't New Wave enjoy the same kind of success as the British Invasion did?
A - People were against it. Radio wouldn't play it. Only the college radio. Actually, it kind of blossomed in America too. A lot of great groups came from America. Right now, a lot of American groups, like the Speed Metal groups, that are a crossover from punk and metal are doing very well In Europe. Like Dr.I. Token Entry, and groups like that. And The Dickies do real well in Europe. Europe still has it's punk rock. There's always a new Sex Pistols in England every couple months.

Q - When you're not performing or rehearsing, what do you like to do?
A -I like to ride my bicycle. I like to read. I like to read books about the Orient. I'm fascinated with the Orient.

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