Johnny 'Bee' Badanjek is a Detroit Music icon. He had a Number #1 Hit at the age of 15, playing drums with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Bee is also a founder and songwriter for the amazing Rockets!
Bee's latest project, Johnny Bee and the Murder Hornets. "The new Johnny Bee And The Murder Hornets, "Arc Of The Sweeping Sky" Produced by Tino Gross the new LP is out now on FUNKY "D" RECORDS. Check it out. People are lovin' it!"
From Johnny Bee Badanjek:
The recording started after a couple of the guys and along with myself recorded the two Alice Cooper Albums in 2019. Breadcrumbs and Detroit Stories, Produced by Bob Ezrin. This was at the end of October going into November in 2019. And there were rumors about a virus starting to enter the country. Tino said, to me, Why don't you do your own solo album. Huh!
I like being in a band, even though this started out as Bee's solo record. I didn't want a record to be called Johnny Bee Badanjek. So, I came up with a more group name and called it, Johnny Bee And The Murder Hornets. It started getting raves on Facebook.
I called Stanley Mouse and talked to him about doing the album cover. Stanley has done thousands of albums for many bands. He sent some sketches and they were fantastic, I asked him to please continue. Detroit Rock Artist Mark Arminski helped out with the cover graphics.
I had written many new songs, and so we started rehearsing in Detroit at Mary Cobra's (of The Detroit Cobras) house. Then going over to Tino Gross's Funky D basement studio.
The main Murder Hornets band included Garret Bielaniec, Lead guitar. Mike Marshall, Bass. Jimmie Bones, Keyboards, Johnny Bee Badanjek, Drums, and vocals, and Paul Randolph, played Bass on the song Hoo-La-La.
This was the core band. And the background singers were Chrissy Morgan, Liz Fornal, Kristin Von B., and Carley Silverstein.
We had recorded eleven songs and then Covid hit and we had to shut down. It then took months until we could get back together again, waiting on the Vaccine.
Once everyone had been vaccinated, Tino let people back into his house. Then we recorded several more songs. I wanted to still keep recording more songs, but Tino said, we had enough and we had to stop and put out the record.
The new album Johnny Bee And The Murder Hornets. "Arc Of The Sweeping Sky" came out on November 15 2021. The album is on over 250 download sites around the world and getting some rave reviews. CDs and T-shirts are available for purchase at funkydrecords.com. The Band will start playing shows in the new year! BEE
Johnny Bee Badanjek did some hot drumming on Alice Cooper's new EP "Bread Crumbs" and gave us a Bee review tonight! Thanks John! xoK
Johnny Bee: Someone told me that producer Bob Ezrin was trying to get in touch with me. When I came home there was a message from Bob saying to give him a call. I called him back. He was sitting in LA in a Hotel Room with Alice Cooper. He asked me If I knew of any good drummers in town, I said, I knew hundreds. But, there's only one who has that Detroit sound...that would be me.
They both cheered. He spoke of an upcoming project with Alice that dealt with his roots in Detroit that would include Mark Farner. I said, cool! He wanted to mix things up with players and add a little soul with Rock & Roll.
He said he wanted a solid soulful funky Bass player. I answered, Paul Randolph. Next, he wanted a young hot lead guitar player, I told him his name was Garrett Bielaniec. The final piece was Amp Fiddler, unfortunately, Amp was stranded in England. We also had Nolan Young on Saxophone and Allen Dennard Jr. on Trumpet.
The session was rounded out with Bobby Emmet (Sturgill Simpson) and Bob Ezrin on Keyboards. The fun began with the song selections.
Up first was a song I recorded when I was fifteen years old in Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels. Bob took Shorty Long's version of "Devil With A Blue Dress On" back to the original version (which we adored). and mashed it up The Dirt Bombs version of J.J. Barnes "Chains Of Love.'
Next, a song from a prolific teenager named Bob Seger, the classic "East Side Story," Some of the surprises was the re-working of Alice's "Detroit City" and the collaboration of Alice and Brother Wayne on "Go Man Go."
The Detroit train kept rolling with Suzy Quarto's song "Your Mama Won't Like Me," and finished off with Badass Fred Sonic Smith's song "Sister Anne" (MC5). And this is how Breadcrumbs came to be. It's great having Alice back home!...you can never leave Detroit! 😈
A few years ago, Deniz Tek was asked to go to Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, Texas and record a new version of the 1965 hit “Treat Her Right” with Roy Head. The version was true to the original in many ways. Andy “Mort” Bradley engineered and produced the session.
Now, the updated version of “Treat Her Right” is featured in the film trailer for the new Quentin Tarantino film “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”
We here at DRNRM are thrilled with Tarantino's use of our Detroit Rock Icons in his film. Makes Tarantino cred even cooler in the D.
We were thrilled to find out Deniz Tek was on the new track of "Treat Her Right" and graciously he was on hand to take us behind the scenes at that session with Roy Head:
Deniz Tek photo by Anne Tek
Deniz Tek: Roy Head is Still Treatin' 'Em Right
Legendary recording engineer Andy “Mort” Bradley
Andy “Mort” Bradley was Radio Birdman’s soundman in 1977, before pursuing a career as a recording engineer and producer. He became chief engineer and owner at historic Sugar Hill Studios in Houston Texas - the oldest continually operating recording studio in America, and home to countless legendary recording stars. Lightnin’ Hopkins, Johnny Winter, ZZ Top, The 13th Floor Elevators, Doug Sahm. Archie Bell, Willie Nelson, The Stones, and The Who to name only a few.
Roy Head and the Traits
Back in 1965, Roy Head and the Traits recorded their monumental international hit “Treat Her Right” at Sugar Hill.
After receiving several Grammy nominations and making over 1000 albums, Andy decided to write a book to celebrate the studio’s 70th anniversary. Entitled “House Of Hits”, and published by the University of Texas Press, the fascinating story recounts the history of Sugar Hill.
To coincide with the book’s release, he compiled a double CD compilation of Sugar Hill recordings, many of which were re-recorded for the project with any of the original artists who were still alive and kicking.
One of these artists was Roy Head, and the task was to re-record “Treat Her Right” with Roy and the original bass player and songwriter Gene Kurtz.
I flew down to Houston to play guitar on the session, along with the extraordinary Houston drummer Stefanie Friedman, from the band Sugar Shack, and horn players from The Suspects.
The session for the backing track took place in Studio B with Gene Kurtz on bass, myself, and Stefanie on drums. Andy engineered and produced the session. We recorded the track live, under Gene’s guidance. He was very particular about how things should go. It turned out that I’d been playing the riff a little bit differently than the original for all those years, and I had to unlearn and relearn it on the spot. Gene said that the tempo had to be exact, and he had a little meter to measure the beats per minute to make sure that it was right on.
At least I was given the freedom to improvise the solos, and Stefanie killed on the drums! We were both a bit stressed, to say the least, being in the presence and under the direction of such greatness. But it all paid off.
Next, Roy arrived with his stunning wife. In his 70’s, he has not slowed down a bit, able to do backflips like a gymnast and dance like nobody else. In the riverboat casinos down around Shreveport where he was playing around then, he and Gene were still knocking out crowds with their high energy performances. Roy’s reputation as a wild man is well-founded. He was kicked off a James Brown tour for “being too wild” and for upstaging The Godfather of Soul (!). Legend has it that Elvis went to his grave bearing a scar on his ankle from Roy’s teeth marks.
Roy listened to the playback, and, Lord have mercy, he liked the track. He hung out in the control room while the horn players did their thing. Then Roy went out into the studio and sang his heart out. More gruff, perhaps, and deeper than in the ’60s, but the Voice has lost none of its power. In fact it has gained power. The screams, hey’s, and raw passion in that voice are almost scary. Seeing and hearing that go down on tape was a peak moment. “Living legend” is a word used too carelessly these days. This is one time that it fits.
The next day we had breakfast with Roy, and he told us some fascinating stories from the old days. We got along pretty well and he invited me out to his hunting camp. I have yet to take up that offer.
Now, Roy’s original track for “Treat Her Right” has been selected as the opening music on the soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”, while the version that we recorded is being used in the TV trailer for the movie. I am just super pleased to have been able to help make that recording and to meet and work with the great Roy Head. Thank you to my dear lifelong friend, Andy Bradley for making that (and so many other amazing things) happen. Deniz Tek
★Deniz Tek, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a proliﬁc guitarist, singer and songwriter currently based in Sydney, Australia. His career in music, grounded in late-60's Detroit, extends through several decades and across continents. He is best known as a founding member of the inﬂuential Australian independent rock band Radio Birdman.
In 2007, Deniz was inducted into the Australian Music Hall of Fame, and in 2012 was voted number 7 in the top 100 Australian guitarists of all time.★
Is there a difference between the interplay of color and shadow and the bending of a note over a percussive beat? For many in Detroit’s creative community, visual and musical art are the same. Creativity is expression, no matter what the medium.
Please join the Detroit Artists Market as we explore the artwork of Detroit’s rockers, rappers, and jazz musicians and how they each respond to the blank canvas.
The man who invented rock & roll passed away this evening. The great Chuck Berry. He changed the face of music forever. And so I have a little Chuck Berry Story I'd like to tell you.
We were (Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels). living in New York City, and we were booked to be on a show. The Detroit Wheels were also gonna be the house band and back up all the other acts that were on the show. Chuck Berry was the headliner. The show was in Virginia Beach at the arena. We were so excited.
So our manager borrows a car from a friend and we get one rent-a-car, and we set off from NYC at 6:00 in the morning. We were gonna drive down to Virginia Beach and rehearse with all the other groups we have to back up. The Orlons, Johnny Tillotson, The Angels, and a few others.
We were just getting into Maryland and it was real foggy. Mitch, Joe, and I were in the rent-a-car in back. McCarty, Earl, our manager and his friend were in the front car.
We were coming up to a T in the road with a yellow flashing light. The front car slowed down, and then they kept going straight. And we looked at each and said, "what the hell are these guys doing?"
And they drove straight into an aluminum office building. Right up to the tail lights! We were out of minds. We thought they were dead. The whole car was scratched up. We ran up the street to a donut shop and there was a Police Officer sitting inside. He came running out with us and down the street to the building.
Everybody in the car was alright. They were lucky. The car had be towed out of the building and taken to a dealership where we rented another car to get to the show.
We got there at noon, set up and started rehearsing all the songs on the spot. The Watusi by The Orlons, and many others. The show was sold out. We were playing and no Chuck Berry yet.
The Promoter was starting get nervous. We kept backing up all the other groups, and were waiting for Chuck. Finally the promoter yells, "he's here!" Chuck Berry walks in and he doesn't have a guitar. He says where's the band that's backing me up. The Promoter says over there, the Detroit Wheels.
So Chuck walks up to us and says....Who's the drummer. I said, I am. He says, "you see my right foot?" "When I bring it down and it hits the floor you stop." OK!. OK! Chuck had a big foot it was a size 16 Brogan Shoe.
Then he asks if he can borrow a guitar. So McCarty says here use mine. At That time Jim was playing a Chet Atkins Country Gentleman guitar. Chuck picked it up, put it on and the crowd was going crazy.
Growing up we played a lot of Chuck Berry songs so we knew most of his stuff. So we started playing and rocking the joint. and every time we stopped, Chuck, would say something to the audience about McCarty's guitar, Chuck says.....(I never played a guitar with so many buttons on it).
The crowd was eatin' it up. So we keep playing and Chuck goes out into audience and is duck walking all around, and at the end of the song, he says, (Man playing this guitar is like flyin' a spaceship).
What a night! And we just kept on a rockin'....to us little kids we were havin' a ball. Playing with the man who invented rock & roll.
Thank you Mr. Chuck Berry for everything you taught us. RIP! God Bless!
Johnny Bee Badanjek
Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels.
Johnny Bee Badanjek has done more for rock n roll than anyone. His discography is just off the planet. As I was researching different bands to showcase recently...I discovered that damn near everyone one of these groups had a "BEE" connection... Mitch Ryder, The Rockets, Michael Katon, Huck Johns, Edgar Winter, Alice Cooper, Broken Toys, Nils Lofgren, Max Weinberg, The Detroit Cobras, Brownsville Station, The Romantics, The Look, The Howling Diablos, Dr. John, Albert King and many many more.... Take a look at Bee's Complete Discography
The seventies rock & roll in the Motor-city... An amazing time to be playing in the bar scene. Between Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Toledo there where only a handful of clubs and they would be packed every night.
I started a new band called The Rockets featuring Jim McCarty on guitar who was also a band mate from our first band Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels. And on bass was John Fraga, and Marc Marcano on keyboards. We had no vocalist at the time and so I sang from behind the drums.
There were many musician friends who would always stop by and wanna sit in, we only allowed the musicians we knew who could play to sit in. There was a young lad that would always be hanging out and asking us to let him sit in, he had a cropped haircut like the English musicians ala The Faces and he always had on a Burgundy Velvet suit.
He was like the Mick Jagger of Detroit. Before he would sit in he'd walk into the restroom and wrap wads of toilet paper around his neck and as we started to play he would grab the mike and start singing while ripping piece's of the paper off from around his neck and he'd be throwing piece's of it at the girls on the dance floor.
And believe me I'm talking about a lot of toilet paper. The dance floor would be covered. He had it all, a rock star in the making. At the time The Rockets were managed by John Sinclair and Pete Andrews who lived in Ann Arbor.
Johnny Angelos and Robert Gillespie
(photo courtesy of Robert Gillespie)
After playing the Red Carpet one night and Johnny sitting in with us, the next day I had to go to a band meeting in Ann Arbor. It was early afternoon and I was in heavy traffic, as I was flying down I-94 just passing Metro Airport I did a double take because out of the corner of my eye....
I saw Johnny Angelos hitch-hiking on the side of the freeway with his Burgundy Velvet suit on and messed up hair in the hot sun, and I'm thinking damn that's one crazy mf. He never even went home yet and the man is heading out to sing on another gamble with love in his eyes. Johnny was a bad-ass singer who never reaped the awards he was due.
Detroit Guitarist Robert Gillespie and Johnny Angelos formed the Torpedos in October 1978, fusing their love of classic Motown soul and blues with elements of Heartbreakers and Sex Pistols punk. Gillespie says the Torpedos stood out from an emerging pack of new bands because “we had killer songs and a excellent front man in Johnny, who was like Rod Stewart, but more deviant.”
They developed a following, label interest and landed choice shows with the Romantics at venues such as Cleveland’s Agora ballroom and Detroit’s Masonic Temple. They got some radio support from Doug Podell and Steve Kostan. Yet it was not enough.
The Torpedos broke up shortly after Angelos split in 1981. He went on to form the Reputations with guitar slinger Bobby East. The Torpedos tried to continue with Thomas Anonymous, a singer from New York.
Post from: Retro Kimmer is a talented and widely-respected writer, show promoter and multi-media event designer. Kimmer's blog, Retrokimmer.com, is about pop culture and it's evolution into today's hottest trends.