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Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0

Kyle Reid & the Low Swinging Chariots - “When I Was Young”

Every artist should be the star of their own creative life, which makes Kyle Reid’s steps out of the shadows of the many ensembles and supporting roles he has played in Oklahoma bands over the years to front and center on stage feel like a just journey.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Too tough to die


C.J. Ramone keeps the spirit and legacy of his punk ‘brothers’ of Ramones alive.

Chris Parker July 20th, 2011

CJ Ramone with 5 Dollar Thrill, Sweet Action and Bare Knuckle Shuffle
6:30 p.m. Friday
Bricktown Live
103 Flaming Lips Alley, 236-4143
$12-$15

Great bands are never truly forgotten, and that’s true of punk’s Ramones, who called it quits 15 years ago. Their influence is still felt today, and although its three main members — Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee — have passed, their legacy persists and is being given a revival by bassist C.J. Ramone.

Born Christopher Joseph Ward, he’s revisiting their classic tunes on the road, while offering up his own Ramones-inspired compositions. The last-to-join member of the Ramones’ unique, musical fraternity, C.J. Ramone felt it was time to remind everyone what they’ve been missing.

“It was my 20-year anniversary (of joining), and the fact that I’ve kind of been sitting back watching punk rock disappear off the map,” he said. “I realized I could keep the Ramones legacy going and maybe turn on a whole generation of new young kids who never got to see the Ramones. Maybe I’ll inspire a new group of young kids, because there’s just not a lot of punk rock out there, and the stuff I’ve heard is really uninspired.”

When he joined the band in 1989, he was finishing up his stint in the Marine Corps — well, not technically. He went AWOL to audition, and when he returned to his post, he was locked up for six weeks.

“It was very bizarre to be sitting in military jail and get a call from Johnny Ramone from the get-go, let alone the news that I got the gig,” C.J. Ramone said. “It was classic.”

In this endeavor, he’s joined by guitarist Daniel Rey, who produced four of the last five Ramones albums, and helped write many of the songs. For C.J., there was no one better suited to be his sideman.

“When I first got into the band, he was in the same situation I was in: He was working with his idols,” Ramone said. “So we kind of had a kind of camaraderie going there. We share a lot of musical influences, and so when I started doing this, he was really the only guitar player I really considered.”

They’re also working on Ramone’s forthcoming garage-punk solo debut, which is a kind of tribute to his time in his old band. With many songs referring directly to that period, it’s titled “Reconquista,” named for his attempt to recapture the punk spirit of his youth and the Ramones.

Naturally, it was strange for him to sit among his heroes. Only 24 when he joined, he remembers them lamenting their lack of commercial success.

“It was shocking to me, because in my eyes, they were one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands of all time. They influenced generations of bands,” he said. “I was like, ‘Johnny, you can’t look at your career and judge it like you would anybody else’s. There’s been a million bands who’ve had huge commercial success for one song and disappeared, and nobody cared about them. It’s the influence you’ve had on music in general that you should be judging your career against.’”

 
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