CJ Ramone and Mean Jeans
Most of the world first heard of CJ Ramone when he replaced Dee Dee in the Ramones, a gig he held from 1989 until 1996, when the band said adios, amigos. As it happens, we just recently digitized a recorded interview done with Joey Ramone shortly after CJ joined, so we'll let Joey tell you about CJ in advance of his June 9 performance at the Soda Bar.
“He’s from Long Island. He was in the Marines trying to get, like, an honorable discharge. His mom was sick, but they were dicking him around, so he just kind of went AWOL. I guess he heard from a friend of his that we were auditioning bass players. He was actually one of the first people we tried out. His name is Chris Ward, the ‘J’ is Joseph, his middle name…everything’s cool now with CJ and the government. He auditioned, we liked him, and even though we saw, like, 75 other guys, we decided to stay with him. Then he had to get a passport and all that, so the government picked up where he was. They came for him, took him away in shackles to North Carolina or somewhere, so we just waited until they released him about three weeks later. He finally got himself a regular discharge, I think.”
Post-Ramones, CJ went on to form a band with Dee Dee and Marky Ramone, as well as fronting his own group Bad Chopper, but he’s now touring and recording as a solo act. His first album since 2017, The Holy Spell, drops May 10, preceded by a single, “Blue Skies.” The bill includes Pacific Northwest punk rockers Mean Jeans, CJ’s labelmates at Fat Wreck Chords.