“This year is 30 years since I’ve been touring in a band and it’s a good time to stop,” he says. “There’s just other things I want to do. I’ve been away from my family a lot. I’m still going to record my solo stuff and with other artists and do the odd show, but I’m done living out of a suitcase. I want to do other things while I’m still physically capable … the road can be hard on your body and it’s a good time to stop.”
The 53-year-old’s latest release The Holy Spell, available on legendary punk label Fat Wreck Chords, is a combination of Ramones’ style punk and power-pop, which CJ says is his best work so far, based largely upon his writing and recording method.
“I lock myself in a room with a pot of coffee and bottle of whisky and get to work,” he said. “This record, I wrote in three weeks. I spent 21 days straight sleeping on the couch in the studio, kind of an unbroken creative process which I really enjoyed, I figured that’s the way to make a record.”
Six years after joining the Ramones, CJ penned the tracks Scattergun and Got a Lot to Say for the final Ramones album Adios Amigos! While all members of the Ramones contributed tracks throughout the band’s two decades of recording, Dee Dee was the main lyric writer and contributed songs even after leaving the band. Founding member and guitarist Johnny Ramone told CJ he was welcome to submit songs, but it was a daunting task following in the footsteps of Dee Dee.
“It’s a very intimidating situation,” he says. “Joey and Dee Dee were still writing songs, so it’s hard for someone who just got out of the military and is now in the Ramones, to write Ramones songs. Writing songs and comparing mine to theirs, it’s a difficult situation.
“Some people say I ripped off Dee Dee, but I was a huge fan so he did influence me. On stage was all me, going back and forth with Johnny was all part of it. And I helped them have seven years of the most success they ever had.”
CJ Ramone is at the Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne, September 14; Barwon Club, Geelong, September 15; Factory Theatre, Sydney, September 19; Small Bandroom, Newcastle, September 20; Karova Lounge, Ballarat, September 25. For all Australian tour dates and tickets, go to DavidRoyWilliams.com