For obvious reasons it’s not such a common thing for a Ramone to be kicking around these days; and even less common for one to be touring Australia. So when I got the opportunity to see CJ Ramone, the legendary punk band’s bassist from 1989 to 1996, I thought it was pretty bloody cool. Touring extensively off the back of the 2014 release ‘Last Chance To Dance’, CJ beyond his association with the Ramones has, since their disbandment in 96’, successfully established himself as a prolific and well-renowned solo act in his own rite. Excitingly, his backing band for the tour was constituted of Dan Root and Steve Soto from the extremely influential punk group Adolescents as well as Pete Sosa from Street Dogs. Aside from trying desperately to not be impaled by spikey jackets or blinded by neon-coloured hair, everything was combining for a memorable show.
There were several solid support acts including the always awesome Melbourne punk outfit Wolfpack (a singing drummer? What the heck!) as well as Dixon Cider. Area 7, one of the best ska acts to come out of Australia, filled the final support slot, smashing out a hilarious and energetic performance. Any band that can get a couple of hundred people repetitively yelling ‘nobody likes a bogan’ has my vote.
CJ’s set was made up of a mixture of tracks off ‘Last Chance to Dance’ and previous solo records as well as quite a few Ramones covers. ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ was thrashed out relatively early on, as was ‘Judy is a Punk’. The newer tracks from ‘Last Chance to Dance’ were very much Ramones in spirit, but held the distinctive flavour that CJ has developed in his solo material – a sort of poppy and youthful take on punk that is still heavy, without being aggressive.
Really what shone through in the set was the pairing of that punk attitude we were all craving and (trying to) exhibit with absolute fucking professionalism. The music was obviously well rehearsed without becoming robotic or stagnant, and despite the heap of Ramones covers it didn’t feel as if he was clinging onto anything but rather just playing good music because he’s a good musician. Just as he breathed new life into the Ramones at the end of the 80s, CJ continues to keep old school punk relevant and interesting; a genre dead in the eyes of many but certainly not to him.
Hometown: Queens, New Yoooork.
Latest LP: Last Chance to Dance, released November 25th 2014.
Sounds like: …..The Ramones.
Say what? CJ played in a Ramones cover band shortly after they broke up in 96’ called the Ramainz.
Deaf, cold and drunk, Leo signing off.