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.
RIP my brother. Much love, Johnny Bee Badanjek
From Ricky Ratt's Article: Fallen Angelos
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.
Thanks Bee and Robert!! xxKim
Stay tuned for more...
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.