CJ Ramone - Last Chance to Dance (Cover Artwork)

CJ Ramone

Last Chance to Dance (2014)

Fat Wreck Chords

On September 30, 1989, CJ Ramone stepped on the stage in Leicester, England, to perform his first live concert as a member of the seminal punk quartet the Ramones. He replaced original member and bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, after a grueling gauntlet of auditions and call backs. He performed on 3 studio albums and 3 live albums and remained with the Ramones until they retired. He contributed as lead singer on a number of songs from each album he recorded and took over vocals on songs originally sang by Dee Dee. In 1992, as a side project, he started another band, Los Gusanos, a hard rock outfit that released an album in 1997. On August 6, 1996, he stepped off the stage after the Ramones final concert in Los Angeles, CA.

After the Ramones, he played with the Ramainz, which also featured Marky Ramone and Dee Dee Ramone. In 2000 he started a band called Warm Jets which changed its name to Bad Chopper. This group released two 7" records, one under each name, and one album as Bad Chopper in 2007. CJ resurfaced in 2012 with his CJ Ramone release of Reconquista, an amazing album that lived up to its family name and mourned the deaths of Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee at the same time. On November 25, 2014, he released Last Chance to Dance.

The record jumps off with "Understand Me?” a buzz saw driven discussion on the existence of a higher-being and segues into "Won't Stop Swinging", a biographical romp that offers insight into CJs state of mind. We round out the first three songs with "One More Chance", a song documenting the trials and tribulations of young love. All three songs could fit seamlessly onto any of the Ramones first three albums.

The fourth track, "Carry Me Away", has CJ channeling the Kingston Trio in this ditty about a sailor not returning from sea. "'Til the End" could be an early 60's cover with a Merseybeats feel, while "Long Way to Go" explodes with the hard rocking Alice Cooper cover.

The second half kicks off with "Mr. Kalashnikov", a song that lives in the same neighborhood as the CJ penned "Scattergun" from Adios Amigos, and “Ghost Ring” from Reconquista. We return to classic Ramones with "Pit Stop" which should be an instant classic and fan favorite. The third quarter ends with "Grunt", an honest, head banging tribute to the American Infantryman that might only be fully appreciated by certain members of the Army and Marines but can be enjoyed by all.

"You Own Me", is a Ronettes sounding love song that is sure to have Joey looking down with pride, while the title track "Last Chance to Dance" should be an instant hit, with its Bobby Freeman tempo and catchy sing-a-long qualities, it holds its own next to "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker". The record ends with "Clusterfuck", a politically charged rant that would make Jello Biafra proud.

CJ Ramone's second release is an amazing collection of songs and is a must have for any Ramones fan; as a fan, I rate it up there with Leave Home or Rocket to Russia. While not every song would fit on an early Ramones album, Last Chance to Dance is the album Adios Amigos should have been. This is the perfect album to showcase all the talent of CJ Ramone, a man who has the passion of Joey, the toughness of Johnny, the poetry of Dee Dee, and the vision of Tommy. The perfect Ramone to carry the banner and uphold the family name. CJ now hit the gas!