CJ Ramone: “Had I not served (in the USMC), I’d have drank and partied until I was dismissed or dead.”

CJ Ramone: “Had I not served (in the USMC), I’d have drank and partied until I was dismissed or dead.”

By William Scott

Aug 11, 2017 7:46

There's something special about getting the opportunity to fire questions at a Ramone, especially one who has had such an expansive and varied career after the end of the legendary Punk outfit.

CJ Ramone: bassist, vocalist and part of that band who changed the landscape of Punk Rock. Some things never die and the Ramones’ legacy is one of them, but CJ believes that the punk spirit still lives on: “as long as you have pissed off, alienated, hormone fueled kids, those styles of music will exist,” tells CJ. “They may not always be as popular as they’ve been, but I don’t think Punk, Metal, or Rock N Roll were ever intended to be stadium music. It was the voice of the outsiders, the street, the people that wanted to do it their own way, not the masses.”

Before joining The Ramones, CJ spent time in the United States Marine Corp (USMC). You can only imagine what change he encountered when he left a strict, regimented lifestyle before serving in the New York outfit. “Had I not spent time in the USMC I would have never lasted. I would have been kicked out of the Ramones pretty quickly because I had no self discipline and I hated anyone telling me what to do” he admits. “Johnny ran a tight ship and there were no grey areas. I fit right in. Had I not served, I’d have drank and partied until I was dismissed or dead. I am who I am because of my time.”

Here we are now in 2017, and CJ is making sure that he is keeping himself active while out on the road, solo: “I’m pretty physical on stage so it’s like an hour and fifteen minute cardio session. I do some push-ups before I go on but that’s it.” he says. “At home, I run and lift pretty regularly. Fighting everyday to keep my weight down so I don’t slow down!” Evidently, being active on the road is keeping him firmly on the tracks.

CJ is onto his third solo record of the last five years, keeping himself relevant and fully involved in the scene, he talks about Fat Wreck Chords and what they are doing for Punk Rock in 2017. ¬†“I don’t think there’s another label that has worked so hard to unify the the Punk Rock scene, and has had as much success doing it as fat. ¬†That is no small feat.” But what are they doing to make this happen? “Same thing they’ve been doing for the last quarter century, putting out great records and keeping the scene alive.”

Some of the records that Fat Wreck put out feature CJ’s Punk Rock anthems, most lately (and notably) is the 2017 album ‘American Beauty’. “My song writing is a lot better and I’m more willing to try new things. That being said, I find myself drifting back to my roots of country and early rock-n-roll but I couldn’t lose that Punk attitude if you paid me to.” The new record features more of the same window down, highway driving Rock n Roll anthems that we have come to love. “The fans have really gone out of their way to let me know how much they like it on social media and at the shows.”

His continued success is a relief, as CJ doesn’t think there are many career opportunities for him outside of the Punk Rock world: “I’ve only been trained properly to do two things in my life and there aren’t many job openings for 51 year old machine gunners, so I’ll be writing, recording and touring for the foreseeable future.” Honest words from a Punk Rock icon.

CJ Ramone begins his UK/European Tour this month. Check out dates below:

26 LONDON The Underworld Camden
27 BRISTOL The Exchange
28 CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
29 STAFFORD Redrum
31 DUBLIN Voodoo

01 BELFAST Limelight
02 ABERDEEN The Assembly
05 DERBY Hairy Dog
06 NORWICH The Owl Sanctuary
07 MILTON KEYNES Mk11 Live Music Venue
08 DUSSELDORF (Germany) Pitcher
09 HAMBURG (Germany) Hafenklang