Happy Birthday to Christopher Joseph Ward aka C. J. Ramone – born October 8, 1965!
Christopher Joseph Ward better known as C. J. Ramone, is an American musician best known for working as the bassist, backing and occasional lead vocalist of the punk rock group the Ramones from 1989 to 1996. He is one of the three surviving members of the Ramones, along with two of their drummers Marky Ramone and Richie Ramone.
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 was released in November (USA) and December (Europe) 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.) While C.J.’s first show with the Ramones was on September 30, 1989, in Leicester, England, his official debut with the band was actually three weeks earlier on September 4 of that year during the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon that aired on WWOR-TV in New York. He played with the band until they retired on August 6, 1996.