Formed 1985, U.S.A.
1988 Young Man's Blues
1999 Rock City Angels
A band shrouded in scandal and mystery, the Rock City Angels should have been
one of the biggest names in the late eighties, but deception hid them from the public.
The band slipped away unnoticed, while others in the same genre made millions.
Bobby Durango (vocals) and Andy Panik (bass) formed the group
in Florida, with actor Johnny Depp also an early fixture.
They recorded a demo in 1986, and almost disbanded shortly after due to lack of label
interest. Before they split up however, New Renaissance Records signed them,
from there the story of the Rock City Angels takes some surprising twists.
The label and the band decided to keep the news of their signing from the
public to make it appear as if they had generated their own publicity. They hit the
Sunset Strip, and gathered most of Guns N'Roses' (who had just signed a major
label deal with Geffen) club fans. The debut album was recorded, and singles
were shipped to radio stations.
However just prior to the albums release, the New Renaissance label
manager received a phone call telling her to stay clear of the band, and someone later
attempted to run her vehicle off the road. It was apparent that Geffen wanted
to sign the band, and did shortly before the release date of the debut to the tune of 6.2
million dollars (unheard of for an independent act). As soon as the band signed to
Geffen all evidence of the debut album was destroyed, leading many to speculate
that the label only signed the Rock City Angels to avoid competition with
The label sent the band to Memphis, Tennessee to work on new material,
but wanted the group to lose the makeup and change their style. Unwilling
to leave California, Depp left the band. Young Man's Blues would be the
first release from the band (the original debut wasn't released till years later),
with Mike Barnes (guitar), Doug Banx (guitar, later of Mr. Nasty) and Jackie D. Jukes
(drums). Fans of the original band were disappointed with the new direction the group was
pushed in, and the band promptly split up. Were the Rock City Angels signed
by Geffen to prevent them from stealing some of Guns N'Roses'
audience? Was the group shipped to Tennessee to force Depp to give up his
rock'n'roll dream and concentrate on acting? Or as others suggest, was the band simply
sent away to try and get them clean and sober? Depending on who tells the story, the
Rock City Angels were either the victims of record company politics, or of their
The Official Rock City Angels Page
Mindy's Rock City Angels Page