CJ RAMONE'S ALBUM AMERICAN BEAUTY (2017)

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Copyright: Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone, CJ Ramone and Fat Wreck Chords.

THIS SITE INCLUDE:
1) Background details of American Beauty album. Click here.
2) Tracklisting and details of musicians and producers. Click here.
3) Press release by Fat Wreck Chords. Click here.
4) Some reviews of American Beauty Click here.





1) BACKGROUND DETAILS CJ RAMONE'S THIRD SOLO ALBUM AMERICAN BEAUTY (2017)

Release date of CJ Ramone's third solo album was March 17, 2017. It is named American Beauty and it has 12 songs. CJ Ramone started writing new songs in April, 2016, and he hit the studio on May 2, 2016.
- In the studio from May 2-14, 2016, to record a new album. Steve Soto, Dan Root and Pete Sosa will be on the record, CJ Ramone wrote to me in April, 2016 .
American Beauty was recorded at the Buzzbomb Studios in Orange, California, USA, with producer Paul Miner (H2O, New Found Glory etc.).
I asked from CJ if label is same,
Fat Wreck Chords, that released CJ's previous album Last Chance To Dance (2014).
- Yes Jari, it will be on Fat Wreck Chords, CJ replied in 2016.

You can buy CD, LP or digital version of American Beauty here. American Beauty was sixth most sold CD at Interpunk.com in second week of April.


Record release show was at the Bowery Electric in New York City, NY, USA, on March 17, 2017. Album relelease tour started in the USA in April and later it continue to Europe etc. See all dates here.

CJ explains in Fat Wreck Chords' press release about songwriting process: "I actually had a whole batch of songs for this record that I had been writing over the past couple of years, but things changed so much in such a short period of time, and when I sat down and listened to the songs, they seemed to be irrelevant to how I was thinking now," CJ admits. "I wrote this entire record in just two weeks, sitting in my basement. That is very unusual for me."

First single Moral To The Story was released on January 25, 2017. You can listen it here. It was only audio release (no video).
Also opening track Let's Go got published as a digital single on YouTube, listen it here.

Song named Tommy's Gone is a delicate, 98-second acoustic tribute to Tommy Ramone. Closing track is a cover of Tom Waits' Pony.





2) TRACKLISTING OF AMERICAN BEAUTY:

1) Let's Go, 2,13.
2 Yeah Yeah Yeah, 1,40.
3) You'll Never Make Me Believe, 3,26.
4) Before The Lights Go Out, 3,19.
5) Girlfriend In A Graveyard, 2,27.
6) Tommy's Gone, 1,38.
7) Run Around, 2,38.
8) Steady As She Goes, 3,10.
9) Without You, 2,59.
10) Be A Good Girl, 3,07.
11) Moral to the Story, 3,18.
12) Pony, 3,16.

THE BAND AND MUSICIANS ON THIS ALBUM:
- CJ Ramone: Singer-bassist.
- Steve Soto (The Adolescents, Agent Orange, 22 Jacks etc.): Guitar and back vocals.
- Dan Root (The Adolescents): Guitar and back vocals.
- Pete Sosa (Street Dogs): Drums.
- Kate Eldridge (Big Eeys): a duet vocals with CJ on Without You.
- Keith Douglas and Brad Magers of Mariachi El Bronx's does play trumpets on Pony.

Album cover design and art is by Jessica Jill Guerra. Back cover photo of guys playing live is taken by John Paul Allen in 2016. Layout is by Michael Buchmiller at Hand Carved Graphics.





3) PRESS RELEASE BY FAT WRECK CHORDS:

Out of the seven billion or so people on the planet, only seven men have been lucky enough to be gifted with the Ramone surname. As of 2017, four have already headed off to that great gig in the sky. Thankfully, CJ Ramone has no plans to leave any time soon. He expertly stepped in for Dee Dee Ramone in 1989 and played with the legendary punk quartet until their 1996 breakup. He sang lead on Strength To Endure; he wrote two tracks for the band's farewell album, Adios Amigos!; he was onstage for their epic final show, delivering those iconic "1-2-3-4!" shouts and rubbing shoulders onstage with Eddie Vedder, Tim Armstrong and Lemmy Kilmister. CJ Ramone is as important a part of punk rock history as anyone else you can think of, and the best part is he's just getting started. "When you're in the Ramones family, you're a Ramone for life," CJ says. "Richie Ramone still has it; Marky Ramone still has it; hell, Johnny Ramone's wife changed her last name to Ramone. I absolutely feel obliged to keep the legacy going. I 100 percent do. I feel it. I don't sit down and try to write Ramones songs, but I was a huge fan since I was a kid. I played in the band for seven years. I'm undeniably influenced hugely by them. I've heard people say what I do sounds like the Ramones. Of course it does! How could it not?"

Exhibit A: CJ's brand new solo album, American Beauty. It's a 12-song effort that crackles with the spirit of '77 (the surefire pit-starter "Yeah Yeah Yeah") and has a sense of humor about it ("Girlfriend In A Graveyard") while being unafraid to slow things down (the punk-rock prom vibe of "Before The Lights Go Out") and throw in a few sonic curveballs to boot. The songs sound so well developed that it's a bit of a shock to learn how the whole album came together. "I actually had a whole batch of songs for this record that I had been writing over the past couple of years, but things changed so much in such a short period of time, and when I sat down and listened to the songs, they seemed to be irrelevant to how I was thinking now," CJ admits. "I wrote this entire record in just two weeks, sitting in my basement. That is very unusual for me. Usually I'm hyper-prepared for everything. It totally goes against everything I've ever known. I was trained by Johnny Ramone - he was the ultimate in rehearse, rehearse, rehearse; be prepared.' My work ethic comes from that. This is really an oddity for me."
The breakneck pace of writing led to an even more efficient recording session, when CJ and his live band - guitarists Steve Soto and Dan Root (both also of the Adolescents) and drummer Pete Sosa (also of Street Dogs) - hunkered down at Buzzbomb Studios in Orange, California, with producer Paul Miner (H2O, New Found Glory) for a grand total of 11 days. "That's the beauty of working with pros and veterans," CJ remarks. "It really streamlines everything. Dan and Steve are really good singers and guitarists, and Pete is such a solid drummer. Paul is an exceptional engineer, too: He knows how to pace a project so you never lose the energy you start out with."

One of American Beauty's standout tracks is also its most unconventional: "Tommy's Gone," a delicate, 90-second acoustic tribute to one of the original Ramones, and the last to pass. While CJ never played with Tommy in the Ramones, he felt connected to him regardless. "On my first solo album, I wrote a song called Three Angels which was my salute to Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee," CJ explains. "After Tommy died in 2014, people started asking if I was going to change it to "Four Angels." I decided instead to write something specific for Tommy. The second-to-last day of recording, I woke up that morning and had this little tune in my head. I picked up a Dobro guitar and started picking it out. Those lyrics came out as one entire flowing, fluid song. It's the most heartfelt song on the whole record."
As much as CJ pays tribute to his past on American Beauty, he also takes the time to spread the gospel of new-millennium punk, inviting Big Eyes frontwoman Kate Eldridge to duet with him on the spunky "Without You." Things get even more fun on the closing track, a spitfire cover of Tom Waits' "Pony" that is taken to a whole new level thanks to the addition of Mariachi El Bronx's horn section. (Seriously.) The album as a whole is designed to spread positive energy all around, and CJ says that was done on purpose.
"It's no secret: Things have been crazy leading up to and including the presidential election," the frontman says. "My original artwork and title for this album was much different - more traditional, in-your-face, fuck-you punk. But after considering everything - and it's really unlike me to change my mind on things - but I figured maybe there's enough people throwing shit into the fan right now. Absolutely we have some major problems, but when you step back and take a look at it, you have to respect and acknowledge everyone's different opinions. To me, I think it's beautiful. It's something that really makes us uniquely American. I felt like making a statement like that is a hell of a lot more powerful."
American Beauty may not single-handedly heal the divide in America, but CJ is trying his best to spread the Ramones' simplest message of unity: Gabba gabba, we accept you.





4) SOME REVIEWS OF AMERICAN BEAUTY:

1) This review below of American Beauty is in Punknews.org by Ricky Frankel. He gave stars: 4/5.
Click here to see original site of review.
CJ Ramone is probably in one of the toughest positions among artists in the current punk scene. For his solo career he has taken on the huge responsibility of continuing the legacy of the Ramones. That is not an easy task because with each new release of his he has to do a very careful balancing act of staying true to the Ramones' original sound, while adding his personal style and influences to it. For his first record Reconquista (which is totally underrated) he stuck pretty close to the down-stroke dominated sound that we all know and love. For Last Chance To Dance CJ used the Ramones' formula as sort of a base, ventured out a bit and infused other genres like surf and heavy metal into those songs. Taking the risk was worth it because Ramones fans truly enjoyed that record overall. Now CJ Ramone is back with his third full-length American Beauty where once again he successfully maintains that balance between staying true to the Ramones' sound while adding some new twists to it at the same time.
The first track "Let's Go" is very reminiscent of late-70's era Ramones, which is a great way to start off the album. It has a hard-hitting and simple guitar chord progression with lyrics that also are a bit of throwback to that time period. A lot of the same can be said for the track "Run Around." The repetitive lyrics in the extremely fun and catchy chorus sound like Joey could have easily sang it. It also seems like with each release CJ's vocals continue to get better and with "Run Around" especially you can hear that his vocal range is gotten wider. Where he does venture off from the Ramones is his inclusion of guitar solos through out American Beauty (the same can be said for his other albums as well), which in this case spices the song up just right. The large amount of hammer-on's and pull-off's makes the song veer off into a bit of a heavy metal vibe and it fits in quite well.
So those were some of the songs on American Beauty where CJ stuck pretty close to the Ramones' sound, but the parts that should get you really excited are where he mixes things up. "Without You," which has a much more later and choppy Ramones sound is different in that CJ shares the lead vocals. Interestingly, not only did CJ rewrite Tom Waits's "Pony" into a full-fledged punk tune, but with the help of Mariachi El Bronx's horn section he also gave it this Latin and/or Western feel to it. But "Pony" was not the biggest surprise on this album. The track "Tommy's Gone" is the most eye-opening by far. This track shows us a darker and more somber side of CJ's music that we have not heard yet. "Tommy's Gone" is a bit of sequel to his song "Three Angels," which is found on Reconquistaand is about Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee. Seeing how Tommy died in the summer of 2014 it is totally fitting that CJ would dedicate a song to him on this record. While "Three Angels" is an electric guitar-heavy punk tune, "Tommy's Gone" is completely acoustic. Everything from the string plucking to the vocal melodies are very melancholy. And lyrics like "How did it feel to watch them go?/ And take away everything that you know/Did it hurt to watch from so far away?" are just heart-wrenchingly brutal. It's a perfect tribute to someone who gave so much to make the Ramone's the legendary band that they are considered to be today.
Once again CJ Ramone managed to record an album that not only pays great tribute to the band he helped continue until 1996, while also keeping the Ramones sound fresh. His song-writing and vocals get better and better with each release and American Beauty is no exception. Fans of the Ramones and CJ's past solo work will be extremely happy with this album. I'm sure Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy are looking down and totally rocking out to it.
This review above of American Beauty is in Punknews.org by Ricky Frankel.


2) This review below of American Beauty is in AllMusic.com by Mark Deming. Click here to see original site of review.
So the album is called American Beauty, and there are roses on the front cover...wait a minute, has CJ Ramone made a Grateful Dead tribute album?!? Thankfully, no - CJ, the latter-day bassist with the favorite sons of Forest Hills, is still clearly a Ramone at heart, and on this album, he sure sounds like one. American Beauty boasts ten songs full of poppy punk-rock hooks and an unrelenting supply of downstroked guitars, just as one might expect, and here CJ seems perfectly happy to give fans of his old band just the sort of music they want. That said, CJ happens to be pretty good at this stuff, and if none of these songs reinvent the old-school punk wheel, they deliver plenty of sturdy rock action while allowing the bassist to put some of his own touches on the Ramones template. The two-guitar attack on these sessions (featuring Steve Soto and Dan Root of the Adolescents) gives the music a different texture than Johnny Ramone delivered with his Mosrite, and with drummer Pete Sosa, CJ generates a different sort of groove that's effective but also has a life of its own. And CJ has his own point of view, quite separate from the goofy tales that dominated the Ramones catalog. He can write about good times on the road in "Let's Go" and "Steady as She Goes," but "Moral to the Story" shows he knows plenty about the dark side of the rock & roll life. "Yeah Yeah Yeah," "Run Around," and "You'll Never Make Me Believe" are unpretentious but deeply personal, short stories of life as an uphill battle. And there are two genuine surprises -- "Tommy's Gone," a brief acoustic tribute to original Ramones drummer Tommy Erdelyi, and "Pony," a spirited Tom Waits cover gussied up with mariachi horns. CJ Ramone proudly carries the torch for the Ramones on American Beauty, but thankfully he's not just copying the band's old glories, but giving their legacy a fresh dose of energy and a different perspective.
This review above of American Beauty is in AllMusic.com by Mark Deming.





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