Christopher Joseph Ward (born October 8, 1965), better known as C. J. Ramone, is an American musician best known for working as the bassist (and sometimes the vocalist) of the punk rock group the Ramones, from 1989 to 1996.
Christopher J. Ward was born in Queens, New York City, though he lived in Deer Park, New York for most of his early life.
He attended Ss. Cyril and Methodius School and graduated from Deer Park High School in 1983.
Prior to joining the Ramones, Ward served in the United States Marine Corps. He was a fan of the Ramones, particularly of Dee Dee Ramone, before joining the band, and later played with him in a band called the Remains or the Ramainz, which was formed by Dee Dee Ramone, Marky Ramone and Dee Dee's wife, Barbara Zampini (Barbara Ramone). He also played in Guitar Pete's Axe Attack, Los Gusanos, Bad Chopper. CJ Ramone released the album Reconquista on June 29, 2012, and his album Last Chance To Dance is scheduled for release in August 2014.
Ward replaced original band member Dee Dee Ramone, though Dee Dee continued to write songs for the group. C.J. sang many well-known Ramones songs and gave the band a younger image. In the documentary End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones it is stated that when C.J. joined the Ramones he was seen as a breath of fresh air into the band. Johnny Ramone says he knew immediately when C.J. auditioned to replace Dee Dee that he was right, commenting that he "had the right look". When the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame original Ramones drummer, Tommy Ramone, credited C.J. with "keeping the band young".
C.J. Ramone was the youngest member of the Ramones when he joined, by nine years. (He also shared a birthday, October 8, with bandmate Johnny Ramone.) His first show with the Ramones was on September 30, 1989, in Leicester, England, and he played with the band until they retired on August 6, 1996.
C.J. has used Ampeg Amplification throughout his career.
When he joined the Ramones, they gave him a black Mexican Fender Precision Bass, with a white pickguard and a maple neck and that was his main bass for the first gigs with the Ramones. He also had two cream Fender Precision basses, one with a white pickguard and another with a black. (These can be seen on various backstage photos.) He then bought a white American Fender Precision with a white pickguard (later switched to a black to make it look more like Dee Dee's bass guitars). Then he finally got a vintage 1979 Fender Precision, like the basses that Dee Dee used to play. He would use that bass mainly the rest of his time with the Ramones.
While in the Ramones, C.J. had a custom-made Mosrite Bass made for him by Semie Mosley, white with a tortoise shell Pick guard. He used it in Bad Chopper. He has since sold this bass. He then used a Mosrite bass that he designed with Mr. Yuasa of the Filmore Company, the Mosrite copyright owner in Japan. It was white with a black pick guard (serial number 000CJ). This bass was stolen when he toured Japan in February 2010.
Before the Ramones, Ward played in a heavy metal band called Guitar Pete's Axe Attack, where he appeared on two albums. In 1992, while still with the Ramones, he started a hard rock band named Los Gusanos. They released a few singles before releasing their only album in 1997, which was worked on by Ramones producer Daniel Rey. After the Ramones' retirement Ward played a few shows with the Ramainz, a Ramones tribute band formed by Dee Dee Ramone, Marky Ramone and Dee Dee's wife Barbara Zampini. In 1998, Los Gusanos broke up, leading to Ward's next band the Warm Jets, which released one single before changing their name due to another band with the same name. Now under the name Bad Chopper, they released a single and in 2007 a self-titled album also produced by Rey. The band broke up in summer 2009.
C.J. was married to Marky Ramone's niece, Chessa, with whom he has two children, Liam and Liliana. He is now married to attorney Denise Barton with whom he has one daughter, Mia Dove. C.J. frequently speaks on the subject of autism because his son Liam has the condition.
CJ Ramone - vocals, bass (July 2009 - present),
Steve Soto - guitar, backing vocals (July 2012 - present),
Dan Root - guitar, backing vocals (September 2012 - present),
Michael Wildwood - drums, backing vocals (November 2013 - present),
Daniel Rey - guitar, vocals (July 2009 - September 2011),
Steve Dawson - guitar, backing vocals (October 2011 - February 2012),
Jonny Wickersham - guitar, backing vocals (July 2013 - October 2013),
Brant Bjork - drums (July 2009 - February 2010),
Michael Stamberg - drums (March 2010 - July 2013),
David Hidalgo, Jr. - drums, backing vocals (February 2013 - October 2013),
Brian Costanza - guitar (July 2009),
Marty Friedman - guitar (February 2010),
Dez Cadena - guitar, vocals (July 2012),
Jiro Okabe - guitar (November 2012),
Ben Wah - guitar (November 2012),
Chorin - drums (November 2012),
Bruce Edwards - guitar (January 2013),
Joe Rizzo - drums (January 2013),
Todd Youth - guitar (November 2013),
Walt Stack - guitar, backing vocals (January 2014, July 2014)
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