CJ RAMONE TOURING IN EUROPE IN AUGUST, 2009.
THIS IS A REPORT OF SOME SHOWS I TOURED WITH CJ, HIS BAND AND CREW IN GERMANY.


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Text and photos by Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone.

CJ Ramone arrived to Europe in August, 2009. This is an report of his first solo shows and days when I toured a bit with CJ, Daniel Rey, and Brant. First photos on this photos are taken of the show CJ Ramone's, Daniel Rey's and Brant Bjork's debut show at the Clube Outs in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 7, 2009. Thanks to Marcus Padula also of photos.
Later below are photos what are taken by me at Werk II in Leipzig, Germany on August 26, 2009.




Here story begin...

CJ Ramone had his first solo shows in South-America in July, 2009. Daniel Rey and Brant Bjork had accepted CJ's invitation to join his solo band. I wanna first explain a bit background of Daniel and Brant, and CJ Ramone's first solo shows. I do mention something of other shows because I wanna archive details of shows/tour to this my page and also mention some people who attended shows.

CJ Ramone:
As you know, when Dee Dee Ramone quit the Ramones in 1989, the band was able to find a new level of energy the day CJ (Christopher Joseph Ward) was added as a member. He remained as the Ramones bass player until the very end of their career (August, 1996). CJ Ramone plays on the following Ramones albums: Loco Live (1991), Mondo Bizarro (1992), Acid Eaters (1993), Adios Amigos (1995), Greatest Hits Live (1996), and We're Outta Here! (1997). CJ played a while in Remains/ Ramainz, he had Los Gusanos band, then Warm Jets what released one single. In September 2001, I was the first person to publicly announce the name change to Bad Chopper. He was also involved in The Bowery Electric project. Those are only few mentions.

Daniel Rey:
I hadn't met with Daniel Rey for some years. I did to my second book Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone long interview with Daniel at his house. It is most extensive Ramones related interview Daniel has ever done. We speak on it for example albums he has produced and recorded, like of Ramones album Adios Amigos, his recordings with Joey Ramone and working with Joey's solo album Don't Worry About Me. Daniel also produced Dee Dee's Zonked/ Ain't It Fun album and wrote many songs together with Dee Dee to some of the Ramones albums etc. Daniel saw the Ramones play first time in the summer of 1976.
In his career, Daniel Rey has produced as well as worked with bands like: Misfits (American Psycho album), Hellacopters, Almighty, Entombed and Murphy's Law. Daniel's his current band The Martinets.

Brant Bjork:
Brant Bjork is most well known of his old groups Kyuss and Fu-Manchu. Brant got to know other musicians in his high school years, he was sixteen when they formed Kyuss in 1989. In 1994, Kyuss achieved commercial success with their Welcome To Sky Valley album, which was critically acclaimed, and spawned two singles, Demon Cleaner and Gardenia. A bit later Brant Bjork decided to leave Kyuss. In 1995, Kuyss split up. Brant is also songwriter, Gardenia is one song he has written to Kyuss. He wrote songs also for Fu-Manchu and produced their debut in 1994. As a member he was in Fu-Manchu in 1997-2002. Brant has as well released solo albums like Jalamanta (1999), Tres Dias (2007) and Punk Rock Guilt (2008).

CJ Ramone, Daniel Rey and Brant Bjork had their first shows together in July, 2009 in South-America. I received pretty much information of those first shows and I was really excited. I am happy I got archieved to my site information and photos of their debut show at the Clube Outs in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 7, 2009. Thanks to Marcus Padula.
Helio Volpato wrote me good review and sent photos taken by Raphael Anselmo, of CJ Ramone's show at the Festival Rock in Araraquara, Brazil on July 12, 2009.
First show in the USA was at the Brick By Brick in San Diego, CA, USA on Julu 16, 2009. Sadly there were no lot audience. But show was attended by great fans like Randy Wisebrod, Gaston and Javier Sanchez, and Joe and Debbie Lunardon. Next day was much more audience at the Whiskey A Go-Go in Los Angeles. Maria Montoya-Kaye and her son Nathaniel were pogoing then there.
Fourth member in this group is Brian Costanza of CJ's main band Bad Chopper. CJ and Brian played first time together already in high school years. I discussed with CJ's tour manager Gene Frawley how Brian at the moment (2009) can't commit touring much because of work. Brian Costanza had chance to play only four shows in July-August, 2009 with CJ, Daniel and Brant. He played at the shows in July 16-19, 2009. These shows:
July 16, 2009, Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA, USA.
July 17, 2009, Whisky A Go-Go, West Hollywood, CA, USA.
July 18, 2009, Victorville, CA, USA.
July 19, 2002, Tijuana, Mexico.

Finally was time to get CJ Ramone back to Europe! My site is only place where has been listed through the years all dates in advance of CJ's bands and shows. When I looked my listings, it was 1998 when CJ Ramone had previous time played in Europe. His Los Gusanos band had then tour in Germany. CJ Ramone's Bad Chopper has never played in Europe for this date (September, 2009).

CJ Ramone's European debut was at the Open Air festival in Ubersee/Chiemsee, Germany on August 12, 2009. Headliner was famous German band Die Toten Hosen. CJ Ramone told me later in Berlin this Ubersee/Chiemsee was only show where he sang with Die Toten Hosen. Song was Ramones tune Strength To Endure from Mondo Bizarro album. In all CJ Ramone supported five times Die Toten Hosen in this European tour.
CJ, Daniel, Brant and their crew were welcomed great way to Europe. Fans did travel to the shows especially from Italy. Paolo di Gaetano, Marco Zuanelli, and Domenico and Sheena Denti attended this first show (Ubersee/Chiemsee). Paolo started the Italian Official Ramones Fan Club. He followed the Ramones every time his job allowed which was basically 95% of the European tours from 1987->.
August 13, CJ Ramone played in big festival in Belgium, at the Feest In Het Park, and there he met our mutual friend Bram van Schaik. CJ Ramone seemed to be happy for this tour. When Paul Mitchell sent me his comments and set-list of the London's show to me, CJ had promised: "see you next year!"

I started to plan my trip to Germany in late June. These were dates I thought to attend first:
August 25, 2009, Musikkantine (Flammensaal), Augsburg, Germany.
August 26, 2009, Werk II, Leipzig, Germany.
August 27, 2009, Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany.
August 28, 2009, Waldbuhne, Berlin, Germany.

Florian Hayler run Ramones Museum Berlin, and I added infos to my site how CJ Ramone, Daniel Rey and Brant Bjork will have meet and greet and signing session at Ramones Museum Berlin on August 28, 2009. I asked Florian's plans and information of distances between cities. Florian wrote it is around 7 hours of driving between Berlin and Augsburg. So it was better to forget it as I was flying to Berlin. It would have hard to get to Augsburg even Gene Frawley and CJ were told I would travel some days in their bus with them. Gerhard Seckler of Generation N played with his son David and Stefan as a CJ's support act in Augsburg. I would had liked to see them.

I E-mailed CJ more of my plans and soon I got main things confirmed with him and Gene Frawley. So Gene was tour manager also this time. Gene was working for a long time with the Ramones, he was in charge of security. He is really friendly, professional and down-to-earth gentleman.

German fan Jan Beddies does live in Berlin. On July 7, Jan wrote to me and asked if I will come to see shows in Berlin. He was taking day off's from work and was also going to Leipzig day before first Berlin show. Driving distance between Berlin and Leipzig is only 2-2,5 hours because of highway. Jan Beddies was really friendly and our Gabba Hey Way Plans went smoothly. Jan and I had E-mailed few times in past and he had also ordered my first two books: Heaven Needed A Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone (2002) and Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone.

Late July Hannu Jokinen of Woimasointu Records and Timo Pullinen (http://ramones.fi) got in touch with me and told how they would also like to travel to Berlin. Hannu's Woimasointu Records has released Dee Dee Ramone's, Marky Ramone's, CJ Ramone's etc. releases. CJ's one is Bad Chopper's 7' single Real Bad Time/ Diabla (2003). Hannu wrote how exciting and strange it is finally to meet man (CJ) whom record he has released without meeting him earlier.
Jan Beddies wrote me advices of good and not-so-expensive hostels. I booked rooms to Hannu, Timo and I from hostel boat Eastern Comfort and we found out how perfect choice it was. I got to Berlin one day earlier than those other two Finnish Pinheads. It wasn't a long way back to Germany. I can really recommend this hostel boat for people who will travel to Germany. Staff was friendly, it is located in the middle of Berlin, close to on metro station and next to Berlin wall.

When I left from my city (Kauhajoki), my bags were full of copies of my books. I had to sleep one night in airport in Helsinki, Finland, as my flight to Berlin through Riga, Latvia, was 5,25AM. Some hours later I was at Tegel airport in Berlin. I found my way without bigger problems to hostel boat because Jan Beddies had wrote me good information.
Jan Beddies pick me up from hostel at 3.30PM. It was good to chat in a car and hear more background of Jan's Ramones fan career. Distance between Berlin and Leipzig was around 330 kilometers/ 200 miles. It took around 2,5 hours to get to Leipzig as there is no general speed limit in the German highways. We picked up Jan's brother to the show. We got to venue Werk II well in time and I recognized their tour bus. I was really excited to meet again with CJ Ramone, Daniel Rey and Gene Frawley. I hadn't met or spoke with Daniel for some years. So more I had been in touch with CJ and Gene also before this tour. When I get to bus, CJ was sleeping and I spoke more with Gene and Daniel. Daniel wanted me to update him with latest Ramones news and situations. He also wanted to check out my new book. In this tour it was now chance to talk more with Gene. We had met previous time at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash in 2007. Gene was then there with Celine Moray, who has been loyal and lovely Ramones fan since mid 80's.
I found out how easy going man Brant Bjork is. Guys had spoke of me to him in advance, so it was easier to start speaking with Brant. Sure it was also exciting to Jan to meet all of them. Jan and I left guys to prepare to show alone. Gene told Radio Dead Ones had support band for them also in some other shows. Radio Dead Ones comes from Berlin and they were support band also next day in Berlin. What I found out, Radio Dead Ones is founded in 2002 and they has toured also with bands like Backyard Babies, Dropkick Murphys, Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards, Mad Sin and Agnostic Front. Of those bands Backyard Babies is the one who sounded most similar with Radio Dead Ones to me. Song like Forget 'Em had same kind of rough punkrock than BB has.

There were around 300 people at the show in Leipzig. I think it was OK as it was Wednesday and many people had to go to work next day.
I was in between stage and audience (there was an barrier), and I wanted to record with my DVD video camera first moments of live set on this tour. I had so excited feelings when gentlemen walked on stage and started to offer us high culture treatment. Without longer introductions CJ asked from audience: "Hey, you guys wanna hear some Ramones songs? This is called Blitzkrieg Bop!" Blitzkrieg Bop got people going well. It is good Blitzkrieg Bop was not saved to encore but somehow it feels a bit strange to hear it as a opening song when real Ramones member does play a show. Anyway feelings were great and audience got what they expected. There were more +30 years old people than younger ones. Probably many younger fans had chance to see first time Ramones member playing at live, and when CJ had next to him musicians like what Daniel and Brant are.
Second song was Judy Is A Punk. When I look from my DVD, Blitzkrieg Bop and Judy Is A Punk takes in all 3 minutes and 20 seconds. It wasn't too fast anyway, speed was really good. CJ Ramone, Daniel Rey and Brant Bjork offered to audience as a third song Beat On The Brat. So those three first songs are also opening songs of Ramones debut album (on album Beat On The Brat is second song before Judy Is A Punk).
Because of singing, CJ couldn't move so much, but he did show his good feelings and emotions widely and catchy way to the people. Daniel Rey did move more than I expected, when I compare to performances I have seen him play before. Daniel isn't that kind of person and player who does show lot emotions. He looks more sad than happy, and of course it is OK as it is his normal style. That goes perfectly with a feeling of song he wrote together with our Dee Dee angel, Poison Heart. Daniel sang Poison Heart and we all missed Dee Dee so much. I have been wondering many times why Ramones not played Poison Heart at their last show at the Palace in Los Angeles, USA on August 6, 1996. It is among of Top10 Ramones songs, and their most famous song from 90's. Btw, it is not included even at Greatest Hits Live.
Another song Daniel Rey sang in this tour was Pet Sematary. It is also written by Dee Dee Ramone and Daniel Rey.

Back to Leipzig... I was DVD taping Poison Heart from left side of stage and it was good to look also how focused people were.
In next song they got wild again and people shouted CJ's name and kept noise. Before it CJ had a little speech, he told how happy he was to be back in Germany and Europe, and how it was 20 years when he joined the Ramones. CJ's debut Ramones show was in Leicester, UK on September 30, 1989.
CJ said: "This goes out to Michael Jackson. Are here any Michael Jackson fans? This one is called Glad To See You Go!"
People didn't seemed to reply positively to CJ's question about Michael Jackson. But what I spoke after the show with Jan Beddies, Jan had seen even someone raising hand as a "yes" reply to CJ's question?
When I had tour crew pass, I had chance to go around and take lot good photos through all shows and DVD record CJ, Daniel and Brant as a band next to stage and from audience, and also closely every member from side of the stage. I got sound and video quality pretty clear. So because of pass I had chance to take close shots also of Brant Bjork. I am happy to include them also for this report so you can see in what kind of attitude Brant plays. He was like a machine as a player.

My Back Pages was only song what we heard from Acid Eaters cover album, it is a song by Bob Dylan. My Back Pages or any other tune from Acid Eaters wasn't included to the set in next day in Berlin. Another cover songs were California Sun and R.A.M.O.N.E.S. R.A.M.O.N.E.S. was written as a tribute to the Ramones and it was published on Motörhead's ninth studio album called 1916 in 1991. Later, the Ramones also recorded it and it became a tight live song. Motörhead's singer-bassist Lemmy Kilmister, performed R.A.M.O.N.E.S. at the final Ramones show.
When you does read from my Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives book Phil Campbell's (Motörhead's guitarist) interview, you can read what is a connection between ZZ Top and the evolution of a R.A.M.O.N.E.S. song.

CJ got audience to sing loudly in I Wanna Be Sedated and in Pinhead what was last song in a set. First encore had three songs: Pet Sematary, Commando and Teenage Lobotomy.
It was a bit surprising to find out they had chosen California Sun cover as a only song in second encore. Normally people doesn't try to get third encore, they think show is over. Luckily now they weren't quiet. I was also shouting more. Then I got idea to go to backstage and make sure CJ, Daniel and Brant does hear shouting. I opened backstage door and they were happy about shouting, and soon people got Wart Hog treatment. CJ told me after the show this was first time they had played third encore.

After the show it was good to discuss a bit more with Florian Hayler of the Ramones Museum Berlin. Florian was taking care of merchandise. Around 20 minutes after the show I thought it was good to ask if Jan and I can go to bus to chat with guys. They were in good mood. CJ and Gene asked what I liked of the show and how they sounded. I told songs were played with a good speed, not too fast or slow, and how CJ's voice was in a good shape in my opinion. And they played good together. Jan and I were speaking with CJ, Daniel, Brant, Gene and other crew members around 1,5 hours. We also spoke of Bad Chopper shows in Japan where Dee Dee's wife Barbara had sang as a guest. I had promised to ask CJ Ramone's dedicated autograph to my new book Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives for some Ramones fans. I'm always happy to make fans happy that way.
Before leaving Gene let me use his computer, as Bram van Schaik had asked me to send to him photo to live review he wrote to music mag in Netherlands.
Jan and I had long drive back and it was time to say good night. Jan was really excited of meeting guys and how friendly they were to us.

Hannu Jokinen and Timo Pullinen had a early flight to Berlin next day, August 27, 2009. They got easily to hostel boat Eastern Comfort. I took them to see paintings made to Berlin Wall. They were really nice. One of them you can see photos in this page, Trabant car in a top of photo collage. We had a walk at Kreuzberg area, we did see some punk stores and also Wowsville Records. Wowsville Records was for a long time at St. Marks Place in New York. I didn't remember Alberto had moved with Wowsville Records to Berlin. Later in this trip he told me how he have to quit with the store.

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