News has emerged that Colin, the little known 5th Ramone has died at his Chiswick home, aged 63. Colin, who was at the time a moderately successful draughtsman for a small architects’ firm in Brentwood, joined the band in 1975 after meeting them at the infamous punk venue The Flob and Strangle.
Initially, Joey and Tommy were reluctant to include the reedy timbre of the piano accordion to their fast paced shredded guitar sound, but after Colin bought several bottles of Jack Daniels, two ounces of prime Afghani resin, and several dozen pints of Worthington E for the band and their entourage, they finally relented.
Delighted, Colin spent the last of his inheritance on a one way ticket to New York, and met the band at their Manhattan recording studio. Dee Dee Ramone took Colin’s portfolio of cutting edge punk rock songs arranged specifically for accordion and crumhorn, and agreed that the band would start to work on arrangements whilst Colin went to the liquor store to buy beer and whisky to keep them going for the three day recording session.
By the time he’d returned, the band had chosen a dozen of Colin’s best songs to record, including “The RAC took my baby away”, about the time Colin’s car broke down on the North Circular near Cricklewood, “Sheena is a Financial Administrator”, a song about a girl he had tried to ask out at a Christmas party some years earlier, “Do You Remember Big Band Radio”, about Colin’s love for old timey music and “I Wanna Be Reinstated”; a song he’d written after being sacked from a previous job due to false accusations of stationary misappropriation.
After numerous alcohol and fried chicken trips for Colin, the band announced that the recordings were complete and that he should return home while they went through the final mixing and added the occasional overdub. Without the expected funds from record sales, Colin pawned his accordion to buy a return ticket, glowing with pride at the great music they’d made. He was also confident of all the attention he’d be getting from Sheena in accounts now that thousands of pounds would be pouring into his Midland bank account.
The rest is of course history. The album was delayed for several years by a contractual argument between the band and their record company, and was eventually dropped in favour of later recordings as the punk era took firm hold of the music industry. Many of Colin’s songs did eventually emerge in the Ramones catalogue, albeit tweaked here and there to better fit into the sound of the New York punk scene. The rewrites did mean that royalties would have to be reduced somewhat, and the ongoing legal delays prevented the cheques from being issued as the band had wanted.
Colin Ramone died last Tuesday while listening to a worn out vinyl version of Rocket to Russia, following complications from a chest condition caused by too much accordion playing.
He leaves behind nothing.