Room 205: Dylan Thomas drank himself to death.
Room 614: Arthur Miller got over his break-up with Marilyn Monroe.
Room 211: Bob Dylan stayed up for days “writin’ ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’”.
Room 100: Sid Vicious didn’t or did stab Nancy Spungen to death.
Room 415: Where Leonard Cohen visited Janis Joplin, writing about the affair in his song ‘Chelsea Hotel #2′.
And now it’s no more, not the same way anyway – the Chelsea Hotel has been sold to developers for $80 million. The 100 permanent residents will be allowed to stay on – well that’s what they’re being told – but however loose and free-form it may remain and it probably won’t… something is over.
Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road at the Chelsea, maybe. Arthur C Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Chelsea. BP Fallon used to stay at the Chelsea. Well, of course. Strangely strange but oddly normal.
To celebrate the magic and madness of the Chelsea, we present this piece by BP Fallon about one of his visitations to this strange and magnetic New York fun palace. It was written on the death of Dee Dee Ramone in June 2002. Count us in, Dee Dee: “One-two-three-fuh!”
“IF YOU SEE DEE DEE PLEASE GIVE HIM MY LOVE”
BP Fallon – who toured with the Ramones in 1977 and 1978 – dips into the archives of oblivion to remember Dee Dee Ramone
“Somebody called me on the phone/ They said ‘Hey, is Dee Dee home?/ Do you wanna take a walk/ You wanna go cop/ You wanna go get some Chinese rocks?’/ I’m living on a Chinese rock/ All my best things are in hock…/ It’s hard as a bitch/ I should’ve been rich/ But I’m just digging a Chinese ditch” – ‘Chinese Rocks’ by Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Thunders
Not many years ago, I was headed to New York where I was staying at the Chelsea Hotel. Sinéad O’Connor had just returned to Dublin from a stay at the Chelsea and whilst there she’d met up with Dee Dee Ramone, who was living at the Gothic pile. “If you see Dee Dee,” Sinéad said, “please give him my love.”
Ah yeah, I’m thinking, bump into Dee Dee? Pretty unlikely, really.
First afternoon in New York and there he is, Dee Dee standing alone on West 23rd Street outside the Chelsea, standing right in front of the hotel’s metal sign that celebrates the writers and artists who have lived there, people like Thomas Wolfe and Dylan Thomas – no mention of the other Dylan or Leonard Cohen or Janis Joplin or Jimi or Edie or Patti or Nico, let alone our mutual silly dead friend Sid.
We say hi, Dee Dee and I. I pass on Sinéad’s good wishes. Dee Dee says he’s writing a book. It’s good to see him again. He seems in good shape. “See you down the yellow brick road,” I say.
I’m in my room and there’s a knock on the door. It’s Dee Dee, who’s discovered my room number. “Here,” he says, “I thought you might like something to smoke” and he proffers a little $10 bag of grass. It’s kinda touching, this little baggie of street weed from this tattooed lunatic who’s one of the greatest rock’n'roll songwriters ever. An unsung talent, really, is Dee Dee.
We’re sitting there happily smoking up Dee Dee’s Jazz Woodbine and chinwagging about mutual friends, most of them departed to hang out with Old Shep and Elvis.
“I killed Johnny and Jerry and Stiv” Dee Dee suddenly announces. What? “I killed Johnny and Jerry and Stiv” Dee Dee repeats, referring to Johnny Thunders and Johnny’s soul brother Jerry Nolan – who, like Johnny, was in The Dolls and The Heartbreakers, and who, like Johnny, is brown bread too – and the Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators, another RIP.
What, Dee Dee? “I killed Johnny and Jerry and Stiv” Dee Dee repeats a second time. “Listen”, I say, “if I thought that was true I’d throw you out the fucking window”.
At that moment the phone rings. I take the call. I’m rabbiting into the blower and Dee Dee’s sitting there sucking on the roach, gazing out of the open window. As I’m talking, I grab a pen and write “Be with you in a mo” and show it to Dee Dee. Seconds later, while I’m still talking on the phone, Dee Dee strides to the door and closes it gently behind him. Oh.
Half an hour later, the phone rings again. It’s Dee Dee. “Listen”, he says, “I don’t think we should be hanging out together. It might be dangerous. Nobody talks to me like that and lives.” Oh.
If you see Dee Dee please give him my love.
- BP Fallon NYC June 2002
God bless Dee Dee Ramone
Sept 18th 1951 – June 5th 2002
Rest in peace, brother