Thursday 17 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Too tough to die

Too tough to die

C.J. Ramone keeps the spirit and legacy of his punk ‘brothers’ of Ramones alive.

Chris Parker July 20th, 2011

CJ Ramone with 5 Dollar Thrill, Sweet Action and Bare Knuckle Shuffle
6:30 p.m. Friday
Bricktown Live
103 Flaming Lips Alley, 236-4143

Great bands are never truly forgotten, and that’s true of punk’s Ramones, who called it quits 15 years ago. Their influence is still felt today, and although its three main members — Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee — have passed, their legacy persists and is being given a revival by bassist C.J. Ramone.

Born Christopher Joseph Ward, he’s revisiting their classic tunes on the road, while offering up his own Ramones-inspired compositions. The last-to-join member of the Ramones’ unique, musical fraternity, C.J. Ramone felt it was time to remind everyone what they’ve been missing.

“It was my 20-year anniversary (of joining), and the fact that I’ve kind of been sitting back watching punk rock disappear off the map,” he said. “I realized I could keep the Ramones legacy going and maybe turn on a whole generation of new young kids who never got to see the Ramones. Maybe I’ll inspire a new group of young kids, because there’s just not a lot of punk rock out there, and the stuff I’ve heard is really uninspired.”

When he joined the band in 1989, he was finishing up his stint in the Marine Corps — well, not technically. He went AWOL to audition, and when he returned to his post, he was locked up for six weeks.

“It was very bizarre to be sitting in military jail and get a call from Johnny Ramone from the get-go, let alone the news that I got the gig,” C.J. Ramone said. “It was classic.”

In this endeavor, he’s joined by guitarist Daniel Rey, who produced four of the last five Ramones albums, and helped write many of the songs. For C.J., there was no one better suited to be his sideman.

“When I first got into the band, he was in the same situation I was in: He was working with his idols,” Ramone said. “So we kind of had a kind of camaraderie going there. We share a lot of musical influences, and so when I started doing this, he was really the only guitar player I really considered.”

They’re also working on Ramone’s forthcoming garage-punk solo debut, which is a kind of tribute to his time in his old band. With many songs referring directly to that period, it’s titled “Reconquista,” named for his attempt to recapture the punk spirit of his youth and the Ramones.

Naturally, it was strange for him to sit among his heroes. Only 24 when he joined, he remembers them lamenting their lack of commercial success.

“It was shocking to me, because in my eyes, they were one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands of all time. They influenced generations of bands,” he said. “I was like, ‘Johnny, you can’t look at your career and judge it like you would anybody else’s. There’s been a million bands who’ve had huge commercial success for one song and disappeared, and nobody cared about them. It’s the influence you’ve had on music in general that you should be judging your career against.’”

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