C. J. Ramone

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C. J. Ramone
C J Ramone at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival 2.jpg
C. J. Ramone at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Joseph Ward
Also known asC. J. Ramone, C. Jay
Born (1965-10-08) October 8, 1965 (age 54)
Queens, New York, United States
GenresPunk rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, bassist
InstrumentsBass guitar, guitar, vocals
Years active1989–present
LabelsSire, Radioactive, Chrysalis, Mayhem, ACME, The Raven and the Crow, Fat Wreck Chords
Associated actsRamones, Los Gusanos, The Ramainz, 22 Jacks, Bad Chopper, Daniel Rey, Brant Bjork, Steve Soto, David Hidalgo Jr., Jonny Wickersham, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Websitewww.cjramone.com

Christopher Joseph Ward (born October 8, 1965), better known as C. J. Ramone, is an American musician best known for working as the bassist, backing and occasional lead vocalist of the punk rock group the Ramones from 1989 to 1996. He is one of the four surviving members of the Ramones, along with three of their drummers Marky Ramone, Richie Ramone, and Elvis Ramone.

Background[edit]

Christopher J. Ward was born in Queens, New York City, United States, though he lived in Deer Park, New York for most of his early life.

He attended Ss. Cyril and Methodius School and graduated from Deer Park High School in 1983.

Prior to joining the Ramones, Ward served in the United States Marine Corps.[1] He was a fan of the Ramones, particularly of Dee Dee Ramone, before joining the band, and later played with him in a band called the Remains or the Ramainz, which was formed by Dee Dee Ramone, Marky Ramone and Dee Dee's wife, Barbara Zampini (Barbara Ramone). He also played in Guitar Pete's Axe Attack, Los Gusanos, Bad Chopper. CJ Ramone released the album Reconquista on June 29, 2012,[2] and his album Last Chance To Dance was released in November (USA) and December (Europe) 2014.[3] American Beauty was released on March 17, 2017 in the USA. "The Holy Spell" was released in 2019.

Ramones[edit]

Ward replaced original band member Dee Dee Ramone, though Dee Dee continued to write songs for the group. C.J. went to the audition with the sole purpose of jamming with the Ramones; he was not "nervous or intimidated" as he had no intention of getting the part but much to his surprise, he did. After being discharged from the Marines and learning 40 Ramones songs in 5 weeks, C.J. played his first live show with the band on September 30, 1989.[4] Adjusting to the Ramones' play style was one of the biggest challenges he had as C.J. was originally a finger-playing bassist as opposed to Dee Dee's signature downpicking technique. He eventually learned to adapt by lowering his bass down to his kneecap and wearing sweatbands.[5]

C.J. sang many well-known Ramones songs and gave the band a younger image. In the documentary End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones it is stated that when C.J. joined the Ramones he was seen as a breath of fresh air into the band. Johnny Ramone says he knew immediately when C.J. auditioned to replace Dee Dee that he was right, commenting that he "had the right look".[citation needed] When the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame original Ramones drummer, Tommy Ramone, credited C.J. with "keeping the band young".

C.J. Ramone was the youngest member of the Ramones when he joined, by nine years. He also shared a birthday, October 8, with bandmate Johnny Ramone. While C.J.'s first live show with the Ramones was on September 30, 1989, in Leicester, England, his official debut with the band was actually three weeks earlier on September 4 during the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon that aired on WWOR-TV in New York. He played with the band until they disbanded on August 6, 1996.

Equipment[edit]

C.J. used Ampeg SVT amplifiers for most of his career, having inherited several amps from Dee Dee Ramone. However, he has recently switched to Fender Bassman amps, stating that the Ampeg amps had "substantial historical value" and he wished to preserve them.[6]

Prior to joining The Ramones, C.J. played an early '70s Fender Jazz Bass and always played with his fingers (he actually explained in a 2015 interview with Fender that on his way to first meet the band, he had to stop at a music store and buy picks in order to play like Dee Dee did before him). When he joined the Ramones, they gave him a black Mexican Fender Precision Bass, with a white pickguard and a maple neck and that was his main bass for the first gigs with the Ramones. He also had two cream Fender Precision basses, one with a white pickguard and another with a black. (These basses can be seen on various backstage photos.) He then bought a white American Fender Precision with a white pickguard (later switched to a black to make it look more like Dee Dee's bass guitars). Then he finally got a vintage 1979 Fender Precision, like the basses that Dee Dee used to play. He would use that bass mainly the rest of his time with the Ramones.

While in the Ramones, C.J. had a custom-made Mosrite Bass made for him by Semie Mosley, white with a tortoise shell Pick guard. He used it in Bad Chopper. He has since sold this bass. He then used a Mosrite bass that he designed with Mr. Yuasa of the Filmore Company, the Mosrite copyright owner in Japan. It was white with a black pick guard (serial number 000CJ). This bass was stolen when he toured Japan in February 2010.

Currently, C.J. plays Fender Matt Freeman signature model Precision Basses.

Other bands[edit]

Before the Ramones, Ward played in a heavy metal band called Guitar Pete's Axe Attack, where he appeared on two albums.[7] In 1992, while still with the Ramones, he started a hard rock band named Los Gusanos. They released a few singles before releasing their only album in 1997, which was worked on by Ramones producer Daniel Rey. After the Ramones' retirement Ward played a few shows with the Ramainz, a Ramones tribute band formed by Dee Dee Ramone, Marky Ramone and Dee Dee's wife Barbara Zampini. In 1998, Los Gusanos broke up, leading to Ward's next band the Warm Jets, which released one single before changing their name due to another band with the same name; as Bad Chopper, they released a single and in 2007 a self-titled album also produced by Rey. The band broke up in summer 2009.

Personal life[edit]

C.J. was married to Marky Ramone's niece, Chessa, with whom he has two children, Liam and Liliana. He is now married to lawyer Denise Barton with whom he has one daughter, Mia Dove.[8]

Band members[edit]

Discography[edit]

With Guitar Pete's Axe Attack[edit]

  • Dead Soldier's Revenge (1985)
  • Nightmare (1986)

With the Ramones[edit]

Studio Albums

Live Albums

With Los Gusanos[edit]

  • "Quick to Cut" 7" (1993)
  • Youth Gone Mad split 7" (1994)
  • I'd Love to Save the World EP (1994)
  • Los Gusanos (1998)

With Bad Chopper[edit]

  • The Warm Jets 7" (as The Warm Jets) (2000)
  • "Real Bad Time" 7" (2003)
  • Bad Chopper (2007)

Solo[edit]

  • Reconquista (2012)[9]
  • "Understand Me?" 7" (2014)
  • Last Chance To Dance (2013-2014)
  • American Beauty (2017)
  • The Holy Spell (2019)[10]

Other appearances[edit]

  • Guest vocals on "Love Sucks" on The Independents' album In for the Kill (1995)
  • Bass on "The Bowery Electric" on the Bowery Electric Crews single (2002)[11]
  • Guest vocals on "Punishment Fits the Crime" with Bien Desocupados on Todos Somos Ramones (2005)
  • "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" on collection album "Mosrite Rebirth" (2012)[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "End of the Century: The Ramones". Independent Lens. PBS. April 19, 2005. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  2. ^ "CJ Ramone's album Reconquista (2012/2013)". Ramones.kauhajoki.fi. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  3. ^ "CJ Ramone's album Last Chance To Dance 2014)". Ramones.kauhajoki.fi. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  4. ^ "Becoming a Ramone - Fender". YouTube. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  5. ^ "CJ Ramone | Playing Bass in the Ramones - Fender". YouTube. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  6. ^ "Cj Ramone (of the Ramones) - GEAR MASTERS Ep. 129". YouTube. July 11, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  7. ^ "Ramones: Cj Ramone's Old Band Axe Attack". Ramones.kauhajoki.fi. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  8. ^ https://www.mercurynews.com/2013/03/21/cj-ramone-talks-punk-rock-history-new-album-more-interview/. Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)
  9. ^ "RAMONES: CJ RAMONE'S ALBUM RECONQUISTA (2012/2013)". Ramones.kauhajoki.fi. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  10. ^ Sacher, Andrew (May 9, 2019). "stream CJ Ramone's new album 'The Holy Spell'". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  11. ^ "The Bowery Electric Crew". Ramones World. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  12. ^ "Rebirth|Mosrite Guitars". Mosrite Guitars. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.

External links[edit]