CJ RAMONE TOURING IN EUROPE IN AUGUST, 2009.
THIS IS A REPORT OF SOME SHOWS I TOURED WITH CJ, HIS BAND AND CREW
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OF CJ RAMONE'S REPORTS
Text and photos by Jari-Pekka
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
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.
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
Chopper. He was also involved in The Bowery Electric project. Those
are only few mentions.
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 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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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.