If anyone has lived in a big city long enough they have probably had run ins with famous rock stars. The fact that me and my identical twin sister roamed the streets of New York City and then L.A., scantily clad, with a mission to promote our rock band, probably didn’t make that any more difficult. Pamela Des Barres did a best selling rock n’ roll kiss and tell. While the ‘rock stars’ I have taken to bed read more like a who’s who of who? I still think I have some great PG-13 rock star stories to tell so here it goes…
Dee Dee Ramone
Dee Dee Ramone was such a complicated character. He had such a great wit and truly a genius sense of humor but I believe he was also a very damaged person. It is difficult to convey this through a series of events but I will try.
The first time we went to Dee Dee’s apartment, he was living in the Chelsea Hotel with his then 19 year old Argentinean bride Barbara (who was, by the way, an awesome girl-shout out to Barbara!). My sister and I had just taken particularly strong tabs of acid. Dee Dee was so funny. I can’t remember what he said but my sister and I could not stop laughing. I think Dee Dee really liked making us laugh. I have no idea if he knew the full circumstances or cared.
The pretense of the visit was that Dee Dee was going to write a song with us for our band. When my sister and I got there, we were a bit disappointed to find out the song was already written and he would just teach it to us so that we could perform and record it. Given our state though, there was no telling what would have come out of a songwriting session and it’s a small miracle that we remembered the song at all. I guess it was still kind of cool that he gave us his song although we felt that we could have just done a Ramones cover at that point.
Eventually our relationship with Dee Dee would cool as I think was the case with many relationships Dee Dee had. He was given to mood swings and it was not long before we would see his dark side, and, as much as we loved his company at times, we knew we had to keep away.
I’m still grateful for my friendship with him and he would later give my sister and I one of the biggest compliments of our lives when he wrote about us in his fanzine, describing us as ‘big haired girls from Brooklyn who probably have biker boyfriends’. RIP Dee Dee Ramone.
Joey was a much more private person than Dee Dee so my story about him is not nearly as insightful. Joey often deejayed at the club where me and my sister ran the coat check, Coney Island High. It was great when Joey would show up for work and greet me and my sister by saying “Hey Sister Grimm!” (That was the name of our band.) Then for the remainder of the night, I watched as the coats accumulated and so many people approached Joey saying “I don’t know if you remember me but…” I thought it was so cool that of the many fans that Joey spoke to, he actually knew who we were, even if he didn’t exactly know our names.
Another mainstay of the rock n’ roll scene, you could find Lemmy sidled up to the bar, at any of the hip local dives if he was in town. I have had the pleasure of running into Lemmy in New York, London, and Los Angeles. Some funny stories there…
While in New York, my sister and I were working the coat check at Coney Island High when Lemmy called in to the club to have a bottle of Jack Daniels delivered to the hotel he was staying in. My sister and I were elected to do the delivery. Lemmy came down to meet us and then asked us to come up to his hotel room. However, because we did not have ID we were refused access. Lemmy did his best but the answer was still no, and sadly, we had to return to our East Village apartment.
However, we would run into Lemmy several more times in the course of the next couple of years and it was always great to see him. If you’ve ever heard a Motorhead song and listened to the lyrics, you can tell what an awesome guy Lemmy is and that always came through, even if he did sound like he had a handful of marbles in his mouth.
Another special Lemmy moment was in L.A. on New Years Eve, (I can’t remember the year). He was jamming with Slim Jam Phantom of the Stray Cats at Slim Jim’s Cat Club up on the Sunset Strip. The big countdown had just occurred and I didn’t think much of it when all of a sudden, who was standing before me to give me my New Year’s kiss but Lemmy himself! No tongue, but full on the lips, naughty enough but still respectable. Now how many girls can say that?
There was a club in L.A. on Melrose called The Gig (not sure if it is still there), where a group called Glam Nation had a residency. They were a group of also-ran rock stars who performed vintage cover tunes. Often they would have some impressively famous rock stars who would come up and jam with them and the evening’s guest on this particular night was none other than Ace Frehley.
After the set was over, my sister and I were wandering around aimlessly hoping someone would tell us about a really cool after party. We were approached by a woman who was the spitting image of Bobbie Fleckman (if you don’t know who Bobbie Fleckman is, do your rock n’ roll homework and watch Spinal Tap) who asked us if we’d like to join Mr. Frehley at this hotel room… would we??!!
After some finagling, this woman finally extracted the whole gang out of the club and to the hotel room. Although the years have made the night somewhat fuzzy, highlights include Ace singing and playing guitar to ‘2,000 Man’ for me and my sister, Ace being escorted into the bathroom every hour or so, presumably to snort whatever drug was elaborately presented to him, and Ace repeatedly thinking up creative ways to tell my sister and I that Paul Stanley was gay and then giggling like a 3rd grade girl. The night ended when me and my sister fell asleep on either side of Ace in the early hours of the morning. We were treated to some room service breakfast and sent on our way the next day. I can’t remember if Ace regained consciousness the next morning. They probably told him he slept with both of us.
Okay, this one is sad… I actually met Bruce Dickinson at the Roxy, also up on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. He was hanging out with some people I knew and we were introduced. Bruce looked at my sister and I and said “You look like the two most interesting people in here.” And we couldn’t thing of ANYTHING to say in response other than nodding lamely and saying ‘thank you’ or something like that. To this day, I regret not having come up with a more clever response AND to this day, I still can not think of one.
As my memoirs draw to a close, I struggle to think of a poignant introspection that might succinctly conclude this chronicle of my rock n’ roll adventures. But instead of coming up with a brilliant one liner that might even, dare I say, bring a tear to your eye or inspire food for thought, my mind is clouded with one thought only….Oh God, I hope my mother doesn’t read this.
- Highest Trails Above-Remembering Dee Dee Ramone (uofmusic.com)
- Motorhead cancels summer gigs due to frontman’s ill health (thehimalayantimes.com)