A bevy of punk-loving ducks pay their respects to the late Dee Dee Ramone on a daily basis. The moshing mallards consistently visit the legendary Ramones bassist’s gravesite at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary, thanks to a clever Los Angeles couple.
Coyote Shivers (who played Berko in the film Empire Records) and his partner Pleasant Gehman “inherited” five ducks from a friend who had raised them but was no longer able to keep them on his property. The pair decided to feed the ducks at Dee Dee’s tombstone using a “dinner bell” dubbed “Duckskrieg Bop” (essentially a recording of “Blitzkrieg Bop” with quacks) to lure the feathered friends to the site. The strategy has worked like a charm, and the ducks have become daily visitors.
The idea came in the midst of the pandemic, as Shivers explained to Rolling Stone, “Everything was closed, even the beaches and parks, the streets were full of riots and boarded up windows, and so we would go to the cemetery to get away from the negativity, and feel some air and beauty and care for some of the urban wildlife that live there: ducks, geese, feral cats, squirrels, doves, swans, etc.”
He continued, “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.”
Apparently, word of
mouth beak started spreading, with Shivers revealing, “By last spring, we started noticing the new mother ducks were bringing their days-old ducklings and teaching them, ‘When you hear this song, march up the hill to here,’ and we realized it was becoming generational to them. It just keeps growing.”
As for the original five ducks, four of them are named Dee Dee, Joey, Johnny, and Tommy after the original four Ramones, while the fifth duck is named Sheena after the band’s classic song “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.”
Of course, it’s only fitting that Dee Dee wrote the Ramones classic “Pet Sematary,” which he penned after reading the Stephen King novel of the same name.
Shivers and Gehman have even set up an Instagram account (@ramonesducks) to document the daily visits. Moreover, Dee Dee’s widow, Barbara Zampini, is fully on board with the ducks, even designing a T-shirt with proceeds going toward feeding the ducks (and other animals that also stop by Dee Dee’s tombstone).
As for the mess that gets left behind, the couple and their friends make sure to clean it regularly, even laying down an astroturf mat for protection.
See the Ramones ducks and other critters in action in the Instagram posts below.