Sunday, January 18, 2015

Random Scenes of Hollywood: The Ramonuments Men

A couple of days after Riley died I had to go to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to do some research (because insofar as I can be said to have a job, that's the kind of a job I have). Mary went along to keep me company, but mostly in the hope of seeing a ghost.

There were a multitude of familiar names from the Golden Age of Hollywood, several of whose remains sported exactly the sort of whited sepulchers you'd expect...

...and a few giants of the Silent Era whose monuments had acquired that decayed, Sunset Boulevard feel...
Douglas Fairbanks' reflecting pool suffers from the heartbreak of pond scum.

But I was a bit puzzled by the Ramones.  They're buried on opposite ends of the lake, with Johnny's body topped by a life-size statue on a marble plinth...
..while Dee Dee is tucked away under a pine tree, his grave marked with a comparatively modest, Boogie Board-sized slab...
But while Johnny's Ozymandius-grade monument boasts but a few faded lip prints, Dee's tombstone looks like it's been freshly French-kissed by half of France.  Curious.  Anyway, he's got a cool epitaph.

Generally, it was a bright, breezy, unspooky day, although I did learn one gruesome fact:
That back when I was living in Hollywood but teaching Karate in Ventura, I drove over Toto's corpse about six times a week.

19 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

When it was merely Pierce Bros. Hollywood in the '70s & '80s my friends & I used to climb in at night & drink & smoke the reefer. The bench on Tyrone Power's grave next to the lake was a favorite spot.

Alas, security is better now.

Scott said...

Nice! Regretfully I missed that bench. But then, I didn't have any of the reefer. Only the madness I always bring with me.

Anonymous said...

ANNTI sez...

Even though a former e-mail friend sent me a picture of herself with Johnny's freshly-planted headstone (years before the obnoxious statue), I wasn't so thrilled. Her picture of Dee Dee's grave was much more affectionate & sincere. And, reportedly, since Johnny was the one flaming Republicunt in the band (rumors that there was one other, but not sure which drummer it was...) Dee Dee & Joey fucking LOATHED him in his later years of republicunt obnoxiousness. Kinda surprised that Dee Dee wasn't cremated & sprinkled over what used to be Times Square (now a subsidiary of Disney & NIKE!), where Dee Dee made his before-The-Ramones "independent contractor" income... I don't have to enunciate it, I'm sure. Just remember the REAL Times Square, it'll come to you, as did Dee Dee... so to speak... heh heh heh...

I only ever got to see them play once, @ Lollapalooza '95, and Joey's cancer was RAGING then, he looked 10X more cadaverous & bony than normal, but he STILL played & sang is bony ASS OFF!!! Same for Dee Dee, don't remember about Johnny, though Marky could still bang a drum. Rage Against The Machine & The Ramones, and my broke ass was ready to go home! (FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS FOR A BOTTLE OF WATER?!?!!? FUCK PERRY FARRELL!!!) Thank fuck for comped tickets... had all of four bucks in my wallet that day, but got some rock & roll memories that I hope to hang-onto as long as possible!

Doc Logan said...

Annti has it right. The reason there's more affection for Dee Dee is because Johnny was a flaming prick. He used to call Joey and Marky anti-Semitic names, he was a racist, and he stole Joey's girlfriend. There's a reason Joey wrote "The KKK Took My Baby Away".

Johnny was quoted saying the signature Ramones sound came from him trying to invent "pure white" rock music.

Dee Dee's revenge came when he wrote "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg". It became a popular song among Ramones fans, and it ate at Johnny to have to play a song critical of his beloved Ronald Reagan.

Joey and Dee Dee were the heart and brains of the band. Johnny did create the punk guitar style, he deserves credit for that. But it's awfully hard to like him.

Anonymous said...

ANNTI sez...

Thanks again, Doc! None of the above surprises me, except that the "white rock" bullshit by that fecal corn Johnny is exactly that --- their signature sound came from knowing THREE CHORDS, and memorizing every '50s & early-'60s rock & roll song, ESPECIALLY "race records," (w/pre-"Pet Sounds" Beach Boys but DEFINITELY pre-Beatles & ignoring psychedelia almost entirely, except maybe for parts of "Bonzo" and their last album "Too Tough To Die," a title which gave an electronica-DJ-joker friend of mine endless chortles, the peckerwood...) from the "greaser" eras. Kinda like Sha-Na-Na with WAY bigger 'nards & NYC-sized rage. They took those beats, those rhythms, and sped 'em up to 1970s NYC angst/poverty/crime/etc., with a little inspiration from the MC5.

Johnny never inspired anything but loathing. And some righteous fucking payback from his barely-bandmates. Joey & Dee Dee fucking RULE!!!

Meanie-meanie, tickle a person said...

Sorta--OK definitely--the odd man out here, since without reading this thread I couldn't have actually named a Ramones song, but I love DeeDee's headstone, especially the epitaph. It has caused me to decide to have one on my urn. I'm torn between "Hey! Who turned out the lights?" and "Okeydokey..."

Also too:
I drove over Toto's corpse about six times a week.

Dang, how deep did they bury that pooch?

Scott said...

Meanie, I'm no expert either -- I only know the (relatively few) Ramones songs that got a decent amount of radio play on KROQ -- but I do hear "I Wanna Be Sedated" on a loop inside my head every time I'm about to board a plane.

acrannymint said...

I was them in the early 80's in a college gym. Lot's of energy and the songs did run together after a while.

Anonymous said...

ANNTI blathers on...

Actually, Cranny dear, didja mean "I *saw* them"? Fuckin' auto-correct... and the reason that they only took about two breaths between songs was because the songs were SO FUCKING SHORT, except for "Bonzo," "KKK," and "Rock & Roll Radio," that if they DIDN'T keep playing, their punk crowds like @ CBGB's would start throwing beer bottles, chairs, etc. Life's not always as orderly as a junior-high gym. Poor Jimi Hendrix hadda make his American debut opening for THE MONKEES, and the little girls @ cuntry clubs kept chanting, "WE WANT DAVY!" so fucking often, Jimi bailed on the tour. Thank fuck for Montery Pop '67...

They were loved, admired, imitated & ripped-off, but they were still one of the hardest-working bands in show bidness. Not very LONG sets, but powerful & breathless nonetheless.

And Fuck Johnny! Sideways with a rusty chainsaw. If there's any justice in the universe, he's in some hellish dimension, trapped with every dead-by-now member of "THE ARCHIES"!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ANNTI grumbles...

Oy with the fucking typos. COLLEGE gym. And THE RAMONES were loved, etc., though the Monkees definitely had & still have their die-hard fans/groupies... and no, you do NOT want me to describe the ones I've met... {{{shudder!!!}}}

maryclev said...

M Bouffant_ I saw the bench that day, but didn't sit on it;didn't want to seem disrespectful of the dead. I also saw Fay Wray's resting place under a willow tree. Very peaceful. Good choice, Fay!

Also, I put the rose on Toto's monument. I've decided to become his Lady in Black, except in Blue Jeans.

Finally, that man in the background with the cane? Was Andy Prieboy there that day? Or...was it...a statue of someone who dresses as dandy as he does (did?)

Professor Fate said...

Not to nitpick but I think Johnny's monument has the wrong guitar.

Anonymous said...

ANNTI's not awake yet...

What, he didn't play a Strat? It's not a Gretsch or a Humbucker... And I'm pretty damned sure that it's not a bass...

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah...

Although the "sculptor" has his right hand in a claw grip that looks like he's trying to MURDER a bass guitar...

Keith said...

Scott, is Riley interred in the pet cemetery adjacent to "Whispering Glades?"

Scott said...

Sadly, we couldn't afford the "Loved One" national brand of pet mortuary, and had to go with a generic version. Turned out okay, I guess, although I had my doubts when we first pulled up, since the sign looked hand-painted, and they spelled "Cemetery" with an "S".

Meanie-meanie, tickle a person said...

Not to nitpick but I think Johnny's monument has the wrong guitar.

Looks like a Mosrite, alrite...

Ugly thing*, but not as ugly as Adrian Belew's Parkers**. I think I could actually own that blue one he's signing without having to avert my eyes every time I passed it. That red thing, though, gak.

*My brother doesn't share my taste in guitars. He loves Telecasters, the 'toilet seat"of guitardom. Me, I'm a Stratman.

**Buuuut, at $11,000 a pop, if someone gave me one I wouldn't send it back...

Anonymous said...

ANNTI sez...

Hey, hey, don't pick on Adrian... he's an odd little duck, but he sure can pick a git-tar!

And Teles aren't THAT BAD, I've known quite a few talented but unknown guitarists who played them, even after they got shipped offshore for manufacturing. The Telecasters, not the guitarists... Though I learned a lot more about Strats when having to chauffeur a certain Fat City Allstar around on my rare Saturdays off, when laboring for obscenely-low pay @ my first radio station. I hadda chauffeur his ass to all of his fucking remotes, because he refused to get an official driver's license (paranoid about "being in the system," though his rap sheet had already done that for him!) and the station's insurance wouldn't let him drive the van. What I *wouldn't* **GIVE** to have back all of those Saturday nights, sitting in the van, doors locked, to keep out all of the drunkards of SENOR PHROGG'S!!!!!! *sigh* NO radio job pays enough for THAT.

Anyway, we used to hit every seedy pawn shop in the greater NOLA area, where he'd pick-up beat-to-fuck-and-back antique Strats, 1963 JCPenney guitars that are somehow "collectible," and so forth, take 'em home, rehab 'em down to the bare wood (unless they had the original sunburst paint job intact) and re-sell 'em for a FORTUNE, and fuck no, not ONCE did I get a fucking COMMISSION.

Fucking guitar players... *sigh*

And yeah, when I was lucky enough to stand about 35 feet away from Clapton @ HOB for his "From The Cradle" tour, even though the guys from the station got me bowl-hugging shit-faced drunk (hadn't eaten all day & couldn't afford HOB food), I hadda recount (QUIETLY) to the Program Director & Production Guru EVERY. SINGLE. COLOR. AND. TYPE. OF. GUITAR. THAT. CLAPTON. FUCKING. PLAYED.

*sigh*... I miss having a functioning brain... Though I don't miss the evil shit that those pricks did to me on the TWO occasions that I ever got hangovers...

EffectsPedalsHQ said...

Very nice :)