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Two Punks Trained a Bunch of Ducks to Visit Dee Dee Ramone’s Grave at Hollywood Forever and Perform ‘Quackskrieg Bop’

11:22 AM PST on December 9, 2021

Judy is a punk. Sheena is a punk rocker. And now there’s a gang of ducks and other woodland creatures having a dead man’s party on Dee Dee Ramone’s grave.

Rolling Stone reports that a small parade of waterfowl, squirrels, chipmunks, feral cats, swans, doves, and other animals are making daily pilgrimages to Dee Dee’s final resting place at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, leading some sort of fowl revival meeting at the grave of the bassist and prolific punk lyricist, who died much too soon at the age of 50 in 2002 in Hollywood.

This newly formed animal collective is the product of Pavlovian training by two local punkers themselves: actor and singer Coyote Shivers, and one of our own biggest heroes in the annals of alternative L.A. voices, punk musician, performer, and writer Pleasant Gehman.

Bored out of their brains during the pandemic, the partners just wanted something to do. With L.A.’s beaches and parks closed, they began hanging out among the lush lawns of the cemetery and feeding the ducks at Dee Dee’s headstone, including some domesticated birds that once belonged to a friend.

“We started calling them the Ramones ducks because they’re all black and they stick together and stood out like a gang and they’d run up to Dee Dee every day,” Shivers says, telling the magazine the ducks have been named Joey, Johnny, Tommy, Dee Dee, and Sheena.

Then this duo began training the birds using a song they call “Quackskrieg Bop” which bleats quacks to the beat of the Ramones’ most famous hit from Dee Dee’s resting place.

Now the birds reflexively head towards Dee Dee’s grave when the tune tolls, creating a collective cretin hop as other animals have also jumped on their conga line. Like, “party’s over here!” The daily event has brought sightseers and children, increasing their general Ramones awareness.

The ducks even have their own Instagram account called Ramones Ducks where Venmo donations are being taken to feed them and other animals. The fowl account currently has 2,249 followers, not one of them bought.

Gehman also runs a related website called Quackwhores collecting contributions for urban water birds. She calls the phenomenon “part urban wildlife charity, part performance art, and part living tribute to the King Dee Dee Ramone.”

For those who knew Dee Dee, seeing animals flock to the musician’s grave is oddly consistent with the man’s character.

“It makes sense,” Josh Kurfirst, the global head of festivals at WME, tells L.A. TACO. “Dee Dee was the pied piper for anything sensitive that needed protection. And the animals are probably scared of Johnny.”

Josh was born in 1978, the same year his father, Gary Kurfirst, took over as the Ramones’ manager through to their last show in 1996. He refers to the members of the band as his “crazy uncles” and has all kinds of stories about growing up around the group, like the time Johnny, a big baseball card collector, took him to a convention in Manhattan to hunt for new finds.

Kurfirst says Dee Dee and Johnny were his two favorite Ramones uncles. He fondly remembers Dee Dee handing his father his very own Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame trophy after the ceremony, insisting he take it in thanks for the manager’s years of service to the band.

“Dee Dee had a heart of gold,” Kurfirst says. “He was by far the kindest and most sensitive of all the Ramones. And in a way, the least intimidating. Because Joey was gigantic—a gentle giant—but you didn’t want to approach him, he was like, 6-foot-7, and looked like he could squash you. And Johnny was the militant, he looked like ex-KGB and always had this scowl on your face, even though he was really very nice.”

“Dee Dee was always sensitive and caring and didn’t put off those vibes,” he continues telling TACO. “He was the most approachable.”

Of all the critters hanging out at Ramone’s grave, Kurfirst says, “He would have embraced it and would want more animals. He would have wanted his grave to be a whole animal shelter.”

Like many fans, and now many other assorted creatures, it means a lot to Kurfirst to have two Ramones buried in his adopted hometown of L.A.

“It’s ironic in a way,” Josh says. “They’re so rooted obviously in New York and Forest Hills, Queens, where my family’s originally from. I made the move to L.A. ten years ago and the fact that I have my extended East Coast family buried nearby is eerily comforting.”

“I can’t visit my father, who’s buried in New York, like most of my family. But I have this extended family buried in Hollywood Forever and every time there’s a concert or Dia de Los Muertos there, I get to visit my Ramones family. It’s comforting.”

All of which is to say, there’s a party going on in the cemetery, rife with the randomness, absurdity, loss, solace, and free-winging fun so inherent to life, and many of punk rock’s, memorable moments.

And a fitting testament to a punk rocker with a kind soul and legions of international admirers. We’ll always have the boneyard.

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