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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

A New Appreciation for The Ramones Part 5

Dee Dee had been busy with his side project under the banner of Dee Dee King and in March 1989 he released his first Rap album 'Standing in the Spotlight'. In May of the same year the 11th and final album on Sire Records by The Ramones was released entitled 'Brain Drain'.

Joey had seemingly got his writers block out of the way and had written or collaborated on seven of the twelve tracks. Dee Dee as usual managed to find the time alongside his new rap career to collaborate on six.

Where 'Halfway to Sanity' had failed 'Brain Drain' actually had more than a few great songs on it. None more so than 'Pet Cemetery' which was written for the Stephen King movie by Dee Dee and Daniel Reys. Also the album opener 'I Believe In Miracles' is a certain Ramones classic as are Joey's contributions 'Can't Get You Outta My Mind' and 'Come Back Baby' and their excellent cover of Freddy Cannon's 1962 hit 'Palasides Park'.

Dee Dee seemed happier than he had been for years and was keen play down rumours that he was going to embark on a full-time solo career. "I am not leaving The Ramones", he was heard to have said, but come July 1989 Johnny received a call from the band's management office saying that Dee Dee was leaving the band!

Then auditions for a new bassist began with everyone assuming that Dee Dee would come back, he didn't. After a long search CJ Ward was the new bassist for The Ramones.

Despite Dee Dee's departure from the band he continued to contribute songs to them ('Poison Heart', 'Strength to Endure' and 'Main Man'). Joey also stepped up and would contribute seven to the new album 'Mondo Bizzaro' (though 'Touring' existed beforehand from the 'Pleasant Dreams' sessions). CJ's presence seemed to give some new life to the band and the album is surprisingly good. Even a cover of The Doors' 'Take It As It Comes' was pretty amazing.

The stand out tracks though are "Censorshit", written by Joey about how rock and rap albums were being censored by the Parents Music Resources Center (PRMC), a group of Washington wives out to put warning labels on records, a practice which has become standard. It has a reference to Ozzy Osbourne and Frank Zappa. Quote: "Ask Ozzy, Zappa, or Me. We'll show you what it's like to be free." The song is addressed to Tipper Gore former Tennessee senator, and Vice President Al Gore's wife.

and 'Poison Heart'

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