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Detroit band the Rockets splits up -- again

for Journal Register Newspapers

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The Detroit rock band the Rockets have apparent crash-landed less than a year and a half after reactivating the band name.

Singer Jim Edwards posted a Facebook message on Saturday (Oct. 1) saying that guitarist and group co-founder Jim McCarty "has decided to quit the Rockets, which ultimately ends something that I genuinely believed in, loved and labored for."

Edwards added that, "What is important to note is that the band didn't break up. The rest of us were loving the work, the success, and appreciated all of" its fans.

McCarty and drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjek, both veterans of Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels and the subsequent Detroit band, put the Rockets together in 1972. During nearly 14 years together the group released five studio albums and a 1983 live set recorded at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. The group broke up that year, but Badanjek and McCarty regruped in 2008 as the Hell Drivers, playing material from all of their old bands.

Talk of bringing the Rockets name back began during the spring of 2010, and after receiving a Distinguished Achievement Award at the 2010 Detroit Music Awards, the quintet -- which also includes bassist Marvin Conrad and keyboardist Danny Taylor -- played their first show as the Rockets on July 2, 2010 at the Stars & Stripes Festival in Mt. Clemens.

The group has started writing new material and was performing some of those songs in concert -- including at the MI Fest on Sept. 17 at the Michigan International Speedway, which marks the group's last appearance.

Edwards' post on Saturday offered "thanks to all of the Rockets fans and our friends who have supported and encouraged us to continue to play and keep Detroit rock and roll alive." He also noted that "I love those guys like the big brothers I never had."

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