What the Rockets like to call Rocket Roll has been alive and well again since group founders Johnny “Bee” Badanjek and Jim McCarty and their current bandmates re-established the name last summer. Now they’re ready to add fuel to the mix in the form of a new album.
Frontman Jim Edwards says that the Detroit quintet plans to hit the studio soon to record the first new Rockets album since 1982’s “Rocket Roll.” “We’ve pretty much selected all the songs for the record,” says Edwards, 48, noting that the band has 14 lined up for the sessions, including “Whiskey Head,” “Riding the Earth,” “Detroit Woman,” “Sister Mojo” and “Let’s Go.” The Rockets are talking to “some heavy hitters” about producing the album, which Edwards says will most likely be recorded at 54 Sound in Ferndale.
“I would look for somebody to give it an organic sound,” Edwards says. “My personal feeling is when you listen to the studio albums the Rockets did (during the ’70s and early ’80s), it was definitely heavily produced stuff. The Rockets were a no-frills rock ’n’ roll band, and that’s what we’re about this time, so we want make sure it comes off as something that’s organic and will hold up for another 20 years or so.”
And while the group will certainly preview some of that new material this weekend in Royal Oak, it will also deliver plenty of the staples — including “Desire,” “Turn Up the Radio,” “Taking it Back” and songs Badanjek and McCarty recorded with Mitch Ryder and the band Detroit — as well as more obscure album tracks such as “Ramona” and “Lost Forever.”
“We played ‘Born in Detroit’ at the North American (International) Auto Show,” Edwards says, “but that was a private showing, so people haven’t heard it in a long time. We’ve got it in the set now, too, and it sounds great.”
The Rockets perform with Shakey Jakes and Black Irish on Saturday, March 26, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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