Poisoned Heart: A Punk Love Story

January 01, 1970

(Phoenix
Books)

 

www.phoenixbooksandaudio.com

 

BY CHRIS PARKER

 

Oh to be a fly on the wall in the life of legendary punk
rocker Dee Dee Ramone. Or maybe not. Despite extraordinary circumstances of his
life – from the alleged experience hooking for a fix on “53rd and 3rd
to the mantle of primary Ramones songwriter to a post-Ramones career including
brief stints as a rapper and as one of G.G. Allin’s Murder Junkies – much of
his life was as banal your own. Indeed, as anyone who’s seen it will attest, a raging
drug addiction is the epitome of mundane.

 

Like a train on its way to oblivion, occasionally some
spectacle is spied from the window. But most of this trip is concerned with Dee
Dee’s petulant drug-addled narcissism, and its impact on his one-time wife
King. Little is gleaned about his bandmates, other than Johnny’s dictatorial
tendencies, and no insight’s offered into Dee Dee’s atavistic songs. It
primarily follows King’s increasing frustration with Dee Dee’s child-like
attitude (captured perfectly in the song “I Want What I Want When I Want It”),
and her enabling behavior. It’s akin to witnessing an incipient smash-up from
the inside, sitting beside a stereotypical Jewish mother bemoaning the
heartbreak she’s endured.

 

Absent a supporting structure or guiding theme beyond “look
at this sweet, yet completely fucked-up individual,” the book drags. King,
clearly a neophyte author, fails at “Show, Don’t Tell,” frequently offering opinions
of people and situations without backing description. While there are redeeming
moments like a ‘70s Hollywood Hills party spent snorting coke with Jackson
Browne and enduring Mick Jagger’s passes, or recounting Phil Spector’s
controlling tendencies while producing End
of the Century
, most of this tiresome window into domestic abuse begs you
to change the channel.

 

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