Punk Rock legend and former bassist for the iconic band the Ramones, CJ Ramone has signed to Fat Wreck Chords. Ramone has released the single ‘Understand Me?’ in anticipation for his first full length record on the label ‘Last Chance to Dance‘. His backing band features an all star line-up, including Dan Root and Steve Soto from The Adolescents and David Hidalgo Jr. from Social Distortion.
25 years after joining The Ramones, CJ has joined one of the most iconic punk labels which is a promising combination. ‘Understand Me‘ opens with a very Ramones-esque intro, which makes us believe this is as close as we will get to another Ramones album. The slightly low-fi quality gives the track that classic eighties punk sound. Ramone has stated that it is his intention, as he would like to help “keep that spirit alive as long as I can and get it to a couple more generations”. With it’s high tempo, upbeat tone and heartfelt lyrics, he is certainly fulfilling what he set out to do.
The B-Side of this single is a cover of Black Flag’s ‘Rise Above’ from their 1981 debut full length release Damaged, featuring backing vocals from Black Flag and Misfits member Dez Cadena. Though not making any huge strides to make it different to the original track, it may appeal to some who were never able to get into Black Flag because of the quality of the recordings or sheer aggressiveness of the band. CJ’s voice does a good job of softening the track up, yet keeping that classic sound.
Although this single doesn’t particular break any boundaries or make any marks or waves of its own, the throwback sound that it does offer will appeal to many who miss that iconic sound of the Ramones. A risky move but this single should scratch that 19 year itch of no more Ramones releases.