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The Rockets
The Rockets

This is the line up from the 1980 album, No Ballads.

John "The Bee" Badanjek - drums
Donnie Backus - piano & background vocals
Jim McCarty - lead guitar & background vocals
Dennis Robbins - guitar & background vocals
David Gilbert - vocals
Dan Keylon - bass
 

The Rockets are from Detroit, Michigan and were founded in 1972 by Jimmy McCarty and Johnny "Bee" Badanjek. McCarty started as a guitarist with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels he then recorded two albums with Buddy Miles and three albums with Cactus before forming the Rockets with Johnny Badanjek. Badanjek was the drummer for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels then he toured and recorded with Edgar Winter, Alice Cooper, Dr. John, Bob Seger, Ronnie Montrose, and others before starting the Rockets. John Fraga was on bass and Marc Marcano was on keyboards. In 1976 David Gilbert of The Amboy Dukes was brought in to cover vocals and Donnie Backus took over on keyboards. They changed bass players several times, David Hood on the "Turn Up The Radio" album, Dan Keylon on "No Ballads" and Bobby Haralson on "Back Talk" and "Live Rockets".

They released five studio albums one live album and had a few minor hits. "Turn Up The Radio" and a remake of Fleetwood Mac's, "Oh Well" in 1979. "Desire" from the No Ballads album and "Rollin' By The Record Machine" from the Rocket Roll album were both popular tunes. They got to open for ZZ Top, Kiss, Bob Seger and toured with The J. Geils Band. They disbanded late in 1983.

Jimmy McCarty went on to the Detroit Blues Band and later put together his own group, Mystery Train, he is now back with Cactus. Dennis Robbins went country and recorded three solo albums and formed the country band, Billy Hill, and released one album. He has written songs for Garth Brooks and Shenandoah. In 1992 he had a minor hit with "Home Sweet Home" that peaked at #34 on the country charts. Johnny Badanjek toured Europe in 1992 with Nils Lofgren and recorded with The Romantics and is currently working with his new band, Broken Toys. Dan Keylon went on to join Mac Arnold and the Plate Full O' Blues band. David Gilbert played in several bands then learned the trade of Dryvit, he died of liver cancer in 2001. Donnie Backus, John Fraga and Bobby Haralson are all deceased.

In 2010, The Rockets were honored at the Detroit Music Awards with the Distinguished Achievement Award and later that year they played a reunion show at the Stars and Stripes festival in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. In 2013 they released a four song EP on iTunes.

  1. http://www.thedetroitrockets.com/
  2. "Wikipedia", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rockets_(band), last modified in October 2014
 

Love Transfusion

Love Transfusion

1977

Turn Up The Radio

Turn Up The Radio

1979

No Ballads

No Ballads

1980

Back Talk

Back Talk

1981

Rocket Roll

Rocket Roll

1982

Live Rockets

Live Rockets

1983

 
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Copyright © 2000 by Ricky J. Brown, rjcreations@myfairpoint.net. All rights reserved. Updated March 2015.