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CJ RAMONE 2009-07-16 SAN DIEGO, CA
In early June 2009, CJ announced that he would be on the road again and would have a North American Summer Tour. I saw a few dates up North from me but no San Diego date. This was my opportunity to ask CJ to come play in San Diego. I emailed him asking if he had plans on coming down to play. He said that there were no current plans. I forwarded him information on a couple of venues and that he had a big fan base here. After several emails with him and his manger (Gene), my work paid off and there was a San Diego show added to the tour. This was only the beginning.
I then turned my emails to Gene to ask if I could video tape and photograph the show. I was kindly given that access and the wheels started to turn. The venue was Brick By Brick, a place where Dee Dee and Marky performed separately. I knew the venue well and spoke with the manager of the joint. He gave me permission to tape and photograph the show as long as CJ was good with it. So we were set!
There was a poster made to advertise the show. I was able to get about 25 of them from the venue and the designer. I posted them at several record stores.
It was now July 16th, the day of the show and the Ramonesforever.com Crew (Javier, Omar, Frank, Jorge and me) was ready to work. I took a box of memorabilia to get signed. We arrived at the venue at 4:30PM for sound check and waited and waited and waited. Unfortunately, CJ, Daniel and Brant were stuck in traffic coming down from Los Angeles. They were finally at the venue at 7PM. I said hello to CJ and he then told Daniel, this is the guy that brought us to San Diego. I asked if they needed help unloading the equipment. He was relieved and said yes. We were roadies for the day and helped unload. My brother Javier was excited because he was able to bring in CJs bass! All the guys were really nice to us and let us do anything we wanted. We were able to take photographs of the sound check. I asked CJ if they were going to play a few songs for sound check and he said that they were just going to jam for a few minutes. Once they started they saw us standing there then they played "It's A Long Way Back To Germany", "Endless Vacation" & "Pet Sematary". After the 25 minute sound check, they took off to the hotel to clean up. They had just arrived from Brazil that same afternoon and were really tired.
I later found out that they would be on stage at 12AM. I almost passed out since we were there since 4:30PM. As we waited people thought that we were part of the crew since we all had RamonesForever.com passes that looked official, then we had our equipment. The guys came back to the venue around 11 PM and were having beers in the patio. Daniel had walked out to the parking lot and I approached him to sign a bunch of my memorabilia. He was really cool and talked to us for a while. He is very down to earth and approachable.
It was almost show time and the Ramonesforever.com Crew was ready and waiting. The lights turned off and the boys came out on stage. They played for about an hour and sounded great. All the songs they played were loud and very fun. It was great to see CJ again back on stage again. He still rocks out like back in the day. Daniel Rey did a fantastic job on guitar and vocals. Brant Byork was also very good and kept the beat going. During the show, I shouted out "Let me sing a song". My dream has always been to sing on stage with one of the Ramones. CJ heard me, but then called out the name of a guy that CJ met earlier and is in a Ramones tribute band. Therefore, he had that guy come up on stage to sing. Both CJ and Daniel asked if the guy new the lyrics to the song R.A.M.O.N.E.S...and I shouted "I do, I do"....Daniel heard me and said "we, know that you know that song". I took that as a big compliment. So I did not sing a song and I guess that is how it goes. After the show, we went backstage to meet CJ and get things signed by him. He must of signed over 25+ items for, while being videotaped and photographed. He seem tired from performing, but he promised me that he would sign after the show.
It was now time to load the equipment into the van. It felt cool to help them load. I was able to carry CJs bass and I have video of that. That was very special.
We were very tired after a long day of running around, but it was all worth the great memories and time we had.
Thank you to CJ, Gene, Daniel & Brant for a great time!