When CJ Ramone was approached a decade ago about possibly replacing Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, he declined the chance even though he took Dee Dee Ramone’s spot in the final years of the legendary punk band the Ramones.

Ramone’s reason was simple: Touring with the metal band would not have been beneficial to his family, specifically his son Liam, who had been diagnosed with autism.

Ramone says he was approached on two different occasions about taking over for Jason Newsted, who left Metallica in 2001 to pursue other music endeavors. The courtship included an audition that was set up by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, a pal of Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone.

“At the time my son had been diagnosed with autism, and there was just no way I could leave him,” Ramone recalls. “I talked to my son’s doctor and explained the opportunity and that I could bring my family out on the road and even hire a nurse. The doctor just told me that my son needed to wake up in the same place every day, he needs to have meals at the same time every day and he needs to go to school every day and be around other kids. He said that anything other than that could be a detriment.”

Playing in Metallica, Ramone adds, “would have been a second dream come true, but… things worked out really good for my son, and I have no remorse and no regrets.” He’s happy to report that Liam is a high honor-roll student and is starting a band with some friends.

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