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Iconic Ramones leather jacket, stage-worn by Dee Dee Ramone from circa 1983 until the band's retirement in 1996
Historic black leather Schott (418-453-474SM) motorcycle jacket personally-owned and stage-worn by both Dee Dee Ramone and CJ Ramone, bass players for the legendary punk band the Ramones, who have signed the left and right lapels in silver ink, “Dee Dee Ramone” and “CJ Ramone.” Dee Dee obtained this jacket not long after the band’s gear was stolen after a show at the Reseda Country Club on April 24, 1983. The jacket traveled the world with Dee Dee, who wore it exclusively during Ramones concerts until his final show in July 1989. It was then placed in the band’s wardrobe touring case and soon thereafter was issued to new bassist CJ Ramone, who wore this jacket at his first Ramones live performance and then during numerous tours until the band's retirement in 1996. The jacket, size 40, features snap-down lapels, shoulder epaulets with U.S. Army captain rank pins, zippered sleeve cuffs and side pockets, an attached belt with a rectangle buckle, and a small coin flap pocket. The right lapel features a U.S. Air Force cap insignia, which was placed on the jacket by CJ Ramone. In very good to fine condition, with a partially stiff quality to the leather, likely due to rain or water, holes and wear to the wrist, cuff, and collar areas, and light rusting to the metal accessories; small holes to the lapels and epaulets due to alternating pins and insignias. This jacket can be seen in numerous official Ramones music videos and press photographs from the era, as well as on the front and back covers of the band's Animal Boy LP, and on the front covers of Halfway to Sanity and Mondo Bizzaro.
Another notable ‘flaw’ is the cut inner liner of the left wrist section, which was widened by CJ prior to the band’s set at the Bizarre Festival in West Germany on June 23, 1990. CJ cut the liner in order to fit his fretting hand, which was set in a medical cast. According to CJ: ‘The only time I ever called in sick was when I got into a motorcycle wreck and busted my wrist and got a concussion. I was busted up. But I still went. We had a festival booked. I went to that festival and played with a busted wrist. I got a shot in my armpit to numb out the nerves in my arm, and I got out on that stage and played. I’m not saying, ‘Wow, what a hero I am,’ but that’s how seriously I took my job.’
Accompanied by the original FedEx shipping box, which includes the original mailing label sent by CJ Ramone (Christopher Ward) to the consignor, artist Andy [Armstrong] Gore, and by a detailed letter of provenance from Gore, who affirms that he obtained this jacket directly from CJ Ramone when the band retired. ‘When the Ramones were touring for the final time I just asked CJ outright if he would sell me this leather jacket and, to my surprise, he gave it to me after the band retired. I would have paid any price for the privilege to possess this item, but CJ just asked me to screen-print some t-shirts for his side band ‘Los Gusanos,’ which he formed in 1992. That was all he wanted.’
Torn jeans. Boating shoes. Shaggy hair. Leather jackets. The simple yet unmistakable style of punk rock heroes The Ramones remains just as iconic and distinctive as their instantly recognizable brand of carefree punk rock. While their fashion and music were minimalistic, the band members, in particular founder Dee Dee Ramone, were anything but. Dee Dee was a complex figure, the quintessential punk rock bassist, whose aggressive playing style and ability to create catchy, high-energy basslines were signature elements of the Ramones' sound. And as clothing is wont to do, this leather jacket took on the identity of its wearer. It absorbed Dee Dee’s zeal and rebelliousness during its six years on top, trotting the world to countless stages far and near to the tuneful shout of ‘1-2-3-4!’ Then Dee Dee left, and the jacket was passed, like keys to a Mustang, from one driver to the next. CJ adopted the jacket as his own, embracing the band’s history and continuing a tradition. And in doing so, the tale of the Ramones ‘bass jacket’ was created, the jacket that prevailed, the one that got away. The ultimate punk rock museum piece, worn all over the world, and the oldest surviving stage-worn Ramones leather jacket known to exist, too tough to die after almost 800 shows.