Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dee Dee Ramone I.C.L.C. & Show # 523

In the summer of 1992, Dee Ramone had a chance meeting with John Carco (formerly of the hardcore band Misguided from Queens, New York) at the infamous Green Door party at St. Mark’s Place. The two decided to form a band, naming themselves Dee Dee Ramone I.C.L.C. (Inter-Celestial Light Commune). With Dee Dee on guitar/vocals and John Carco on the bass, the band played some live shows in New York and played as a three-piece band. There were numerous different drummers in the I.C.L.C.’s early line up. Around this time Dee Dee came up with a collection of new material and began demoing them with Daniel Rey for the use on an upcoming Ramones album, but instead Dee Dee decided to keep the songs for the I.C.L.C. With bassist John Carco, the two moved to Amsterdam to record material for Rough Trade Records. Adding drummer Danny Arnold Lommen, the new line up released an EP in 1994, entitled the Chinese Bitch EP. The EP’s title track “Chinese Bitch” seems on draw subject matter from the song “Chinese Rocks”, a song written by Dee Dee and Richard Hell. Both the Ramones and Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers recorded their own versions separately, Ramones on 1980’s End of The Century and The Heartbreakers on L.A.M.F. in 1977. The song features Ramones style barre chords and guitar licks not unlike songs found on The Heartbreakers 1977 album L.A.M.F. “I Don’t Wanna Get Involved With You” seems similar to “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You” by Ramones, but is apparently one of the very first Ramones songs written. “That’s What Everybody Else Does” is a classic Dee Dee penned track, reflecting on his early days being in a band and opposing the norm of being in a band lyrically. The EP ends with “We’re A Creepy Family” a fast song that sounds like it could have been an outtake from the 1984 Too Tough To Die album by the Ramones. Shortly after the release of the EP, Dee Dee Ramone I.C.L.C. released a fourteen track full-length album in April of 1994.

Recorded at the same place as the Chinese Bitch EP at Klank Studios in Tegelen, Netherlands and produced by Gert-Jan "Joe" Van Avesaath, I Hate Freaks Like You further explored the aggressive sounds that were displayed on the EP released by the I.C.L.C. earlier in 1994. The album I Hate Freaks Like You opens with the track “I’m Making Monsters For My Friends”, it also ends with the same track, but more on that later. This track is perhaps best known because it was recorded by the Ramones and used on their last full-length album !Adios Amigos! in 1995. After quitting Ramones in 1989, Dee Dee would still contribute songs to the band regularly. The I.C.L.C. version opens the album in a fuzzy guitar fashion, featuring Dee Dee singing with attitude and confidence, displaying images of B-horror movies and television throughout it’s lyrical context. “Don’t Look In My Window” attacks with Ramones-like dynamics, but also with a bit of Motorhead-styled attitude, this comes off as evident when the chorus comes in. The song comes off with a bit of a creepy vibe, but also seems to dig deeper about others opinions on Dee Dee at the time. This is a subject that pops up in subtle form throughout the album amongst the other imagery that is portrayed lyrically. “Runaway” brings in some of Dee Dee’s pop sensibilities with haunting lyrics such as “Runaway/Runaway/As far as I can go/Runaway/Runaway/Away from everything” that find their way amongst slow distorted guitars and overpowering drums.

“All Quiet On The Eastern Front” comes in next picking up the pace. This song first appeared on the 1981 album Pleasant Dreams by Ramones, but on I Hate Freaks Like You it is executed in a more aggressive form. “I Hate It” and “I Hate Creeps Like You” are faster tracks, clocking in at less than two minutes each and they both seem to be a rant against the stereotypical view that others had of Dee Dee Ramone lyrically. “Trust Me” is a slower song, but one further showcasing Dee Dee Ramone’s pop credentials. With a chorus of lyrics stating “All I want is you/You can trust me”, the song sounds like it wouldn’t have been out of place on End Of The Century or Road To Ruin. “I’m Seeing Strawberries Again”, seems to draw on odd metallic sounding riffs, a sound that sometimes is hidden amongst the tracks on this album. The last two tracks on I Hate Freaks Like You both feature guest vocalist Nina Hagen, a German singer and actress. She first appears on the thirteenth track “Lass Mich In Ruhe”, the song builds on the fuzzy sound that Dee Dee Ramone has showcased throughout his career, but it also seems to pull in a bit of a Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers influence at times. The “Lass Mich In Ruhe” which is featured not only in the songs title, but chorus, roughly translates into leave me in peace or to stop bothering me. The album ends with another version of “I’m Making Monsters For My Friends”, this version differing with backing vocals by Nina Hagen.

Despite touring for ten months across 22 Countries, Dee Dee Ramone & I.C.L.C. were dropped by their label while they began work on their second full-length album. Some of those tracks would wind up on Ramones !Adios Amigos! album. Overall, I Hate Freaks Like You displays elements of Dee Dee’s Ramones past and other rock related elements such as guitar rock leads in the style of Johnny Thunders and some subtle 80s hard rock sounds that some have compared to Motorhead. Lyrically the album portrays images of alienation, isolation and B-horror movie related subjects. The lyrics in the chorus of the song “It’s Not For Me To Know” which state “I don’t have any illusions anymore/I’ve done all that I can Do/It’s not for me to know” could prove to be somewhat symbolic when looking at this album and Dee Dee’s post-Ramones work. He would continue to make music, contributing songs to both the Ramones until they ended in 1996 and until Dee Dee’s own passing in 2002. The music was often simple and straight to the point and when not in the context of the Ramones was criticized harshly by others in most circumstances. But Dee Dee always continued to do his own thing. Some of his material released was better than others, but on I Hate Freaks Like You some might say that this is the strongest collection of post-Ramones material ever released by Dee Dee Ramone.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. David Kilgour & The Heavy 8’s - Christopher Columbus
2. Strange Fires - Lambency
3. Supergrass -Moving
4. Jack White - I'm Down
5. Beck - Heaven’s Ladder
6. Naomi Punk - Television Man
7. Razorhouse - Neu Sensation
8. Invasions - No Darkness
9. The Nelsons - State Police
10. The Dadistics - Modern Girl
11. Paul Collins - Walking Out On Love
12. The Wombats - Utter Frustration
13. The Mutants - So American
14. The Sadies - The Pyramid
15. James O-L & The Villains - Kill The Devil
16. James O-L & The villains - Arts Degree
17. J Mascis - Every Morning
18. Dead Drugs - She Do
19. Actual Water - Gorgeous George & The Pilaprats
20. Characters - Tell Me
21. Threads Of Fybre - Believe Me
22. The Shadows Of Knight - Oh Yeah
23. The Premiers - Farmer John
24. The Sonics - Walkin’ The Dog
25. Dee Dee Ramone I.C.L.C. - I’m Making Monsters For My Friends
26. Dee Dee Ramone I.C.L.C. - I Hate Creeps Like You
27. Dee Dee Ramone I.C.L.C. - Trust Me
28. The Victims - Disco Junkies
29. Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra - Mistaken
30. White Fence - The Light
31. White Fence - Wolf Gets Red Faced

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for August 23. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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