ANDY PANIK (ROCK CITY ANGELS) INTERVIEW:
June 8, 2009
The Rock City Angels rank up there with the moon landing and 9-11 when it comes to conspiracy theories and bassist Andy Panik found himself right in the middle of the whirlwind. It has been over twenty years since the band was torn away from Los Angeles and dropped in Memphis to record what would become Young Man’s Blues and now the band has returned with Use Once And Destroy – or have they? In this exclusive interview, Andy talks about the rise and fall of the Rock City Angels, Tom Zutaut’s homosexual advances, Johnny Depp’s selective memory and his new band Tropical Weapon who will be opening for the New York Dolls this Wednesday.
Sleaze Roxx: Lets talk about the new Rock City Angels CD Use Once And Destroy which is available for purchase at cdbaby.com/cd/rockcityangels. How did that one come together?
Andy Panik: Well it’s really funny because I don’t know why Bobby (Durango) says it was recorded in 2002? That’s some sort of marketing ploy by him because it was recorded at my apartment in Los Angeles in 2000 and I set the whole thing up and got him to go. Before that he was zonked out if his mind in Memphis and I’m like, ‘lets get this band together man, what the hell, you’re just sitting around’. I was living in L.A. so he got it together and he brought a drummer out and I let them stay at my apartment in the middle of Hollywood, California in July of 2000. We even played a show which ended up being terrible because he was completely wasted. I mean the whole time he was there we just didn’t get along. He was just constantly being mean to me, being nasty. So anyway he brought money and he’s paying for it and I was basically facilitating it by letting him and the drummer in my house. We got a guitar player we used to know.
We went to Paramount Studios which is a pretty famous place. The Black Crowes recorded there, and they had their records on the walls. Jimi Hendrix even recorded there and they had that Electric Lady, or one of his records, because you know Jimi recorded at lots of different studios, just pieces here and there. So they had a gold record hanging on the wall in the guy’s office with Jimi’s autograph on it and he showed it to me and I was like wow! So it was a real cool place and we got a good engineer and we went in there and I just felt really nervous because Bobby was just riding me the whole time. And this whole time I’ve known Bobby he’s picked on me, and you know a person will just take so much until they can take no more and I got extremely pissed off at him. One day I took my bass and I was going to throw it through the window between the control panel, but at the last minute I aimed it down because I had a really bad temper. Bobby was picking on me and I took my bass and it just hit the floor. I tuned it up and we started and I finished off the song and we were buddies again.
Sleaze Roxx: So it was a difficult CD to record?
Andy Panik: It was really hard recording it because Bobby was always… I don’t know how we managed to get along all those years and play in the same band. I was always asking other bands how do you guys get along because in my band it was just really tough, you know. I’ve never seen a band that’s had so many members and that’s really weird. For 20 years people would come up to me and go, you guys had a lot of musicians in the band. It’s like a college, like a fraternity brotherhood or something. I don’t know what the word for it is, but the reason why we had so many members, and on top of that lawyers, managers, more managers and more attorneys, is because Bobby fired everybody. He fired band members, lawyers, attorneys and these major managers who represented major artists. So that doesn’t exactly help you when your debut record is coming out and you’ve already fired people in the band and managers that have connections… It’s like bad blood. Some bands keep it together, it’s a tight family unit and it’s a success because we are all in this together we don’t have to worry about Marilyn Manson kicking us out of the band. I mean that’s what he did too. With every record there is a new guy.
It was funny that I was the only guy that was in the whole thing. I mean I formed the band in 1980 when we were called The Abusers, so me and Bobby stuck together. You know we opened for people like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, TSOL. The UK Sub show, to me that was better than playing with Jimmy Page, because we learnt so much from singer Charlie Harper who told us stuff like; you know you guys are good, you know if you add some more distortion, add a second guitar player, you could be something. That was the first time anybody ever told me that, especially from a band that I admired so much like the UK Subs.
Sleaze Roxx: What do you think of this new CD then? Now that it’s recorded and out there, do you actually like it?
Andy Panik: Well, I like parts of it. Obviously I like the song that Bobby and I wrote, called Convicted, the best. It was the first song that we ever wrote together.
Sleaze Roxx: I noticed that song sounded more punk than the rest.
Andy Panik: Yeah it sounds completely punk and hardcore because we were a hardcore band. That’s a 20 year old song, well, older than 20 years. All the other songs really aren’t… it’s really not a Rock City Angels album, because other than the fact that I played on it, it’s all different people. It’s another gang of new guys and all the songs weren’t written by Rock City Angels members except that one. All the songs came from a band Bobby had in Memphis called Hustler, so the record should be called Durango. He’s done that to me before. You know I got kicked out the band right before it was history and he changed the name to Durango.
So it’s hard for me not to say anything bad. I think it’s a good record if you’re into Durango, but its not a Rock City Angels record by any means. I mean it’s influenced by it, but it’s like how can you call a Mick Jagger record the Rolling Stones, if it’s just Mick with no Keith? Just because I played bass on it there’s no song writing, there’s no… it’s all new guys and now he’s got another bunch of new guys to go on tour with him. So he’s calling it the Rock City Angels, but you’re getting a whole new crop of kids.
Sleaze Roxx: How come you weren’t asked to tour with the band on the upcoming Rock City Angel tour?
Andy Panik: The reason I was not included in it, I can only speculate and guess. The reason, I think, is because everybody gave up on the Rock City Angels, and I don’t blame them. I’m talking about band members you know.
So in 2000 the computer came out. I got a letter – no – there was already a letter on the computer looking for anybody from Rock City Angels, specifically Andy or Bobby. So I answered it and it was Ann Boleyn from our old record label New Renaissance, who originally signed us until Geffen bought out our contract back in the old days. She was like, I still got a copy of the CD left and I’m like, well put it out! So me and my grandmother, I had to get her to co-sign it, we put it out and it became known as the glam album Teenage Lipstick Boys. I get letters from Canada, Italy, Australia and New Zealand telling me we love this record even though the quality, but it’s real.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s a different sound for the band compared to what came out on Young Man’s Blues.
Andy Panik: Yeah and a lot of people were utterly mad because of Geffen. Which leads to another question, why? I figured it out that constantly we were being buried and it started out with when we got with New Renaissance, we got signed with them. The ball was rolling, we were on this monster roll. Everything that came in our path we rolled over in L.A. We were the talk of the club scene with New Renaissance snatching us up, they even printed up all the records and we were getting ready to put it out. We went out to dinner one night and we were about to sign the contract and that’s the first we told anyone at Geffen that we already had a deal and they were like, ‘what? You can’t sign this record contract tonight, they’ll sue us. Who is this other record label?’ So we were like, well it’s an independent label, and once they got wind of that… But they already knew because that’s why they signed us, because they heard Teenage Lipstick Boys, Dark Angels and Cinderella In Black. They had already gotten a copy of that. That was our demo then that we were circulating in L.A. Tom Zutaut even said that he got a copy from Slash’s girlfriend and he had to track us down when he heard Teenage Lipstick Boys. The L.A. Times said Teenage Lipstick Boys was a glam rock classic. This was before we were even signed to Geffen. So anyway, when we get signed to Geffen they paid New Renaissance three grand, we got out of our deal and then they proceeded to bury us.
They completely utterly buried us. First they only wanted to sign Bobby Durango and this guitar player named Mike Barnette, and they wanted us to be Slash’s baby brother band. I don’t know if you’ve heard any talk like this, but this really happened. This is a little band that I formed in my mom’s apartment as a teenager and now this major billion dollar corporation wants to sign my little garage band and change it. They didn’t like the songs, they only wanted Bobby and this new guitar player, they wanted to change the direction and the name of the band. Tom told me to stop wearing makeup, he told everybody to. The flags started going up for me right there. It was like they didn’t want to ask me anything. Andy Panik, we don’t care about him, he’s just some little punk with lipstick. They didn’t care that I wrote the songs or that it was my band. They didn’t even want me.
Sleaze Roxx: Is it true that Geffen signed you for over $6 million?
Andy Panik: Yeah, but that was supposed to be spread over seven records and they had the opportunity to stop that after the first or second CD anytime they wanted to. So when the first record took a dive at the box office, and they found out about Bobby’s drug addiction and that the whole band became addicted to drugs… I wasn’t even in the band then and he had changed the name to Durango which is what Geffen really wanted in the first place.
Sleaze Roxx: What happened with Johnny Depp?
Andy Panik: He buries us too. So anyways we get signed on Geffen. We get signed, we get all the guys we want. When a band gets signed the record label puts you in a recording studio and they go ‘record everything you know’. So at that time we were like the kings of glam. We had the glam album, it was four years old, and the Dark demo. We got out of the contract for three grand, signed to Geffen, and by this time we knew how to write glam rock like the New York Dolls. It was awesome, that record that would have come out. So all those glam songs that we recorded kicked butt and even Johnny Depp played on that one, he only played on one song in the studio. Those 22 songs were great, but somehow only two or three ended up on the album. Because they said, you know we don’t like these glam rock songs, and these were great songs. I mean it would have been the greatest glam rock record. All we would have had to do was go into an L.A. studio like every other band, make a video and put a bunch of half clad naked chicks in bikinis in it. Bam, it would have been a hit and today I would have been talking to you on the speaker phone in my mansion in Malibu, but it didn’t work out that way. But maybe it still could (laughs).
Sleaze Roxx: Why do you think Geffen sent you to Tennessee to record Young Man’s Blues?
Andy Panik: Because we were starting to be trouble. Changes. They started changing us, screwing around with the sound. The first sign was the producer. They didn’t want us to work with the names of producers we thought of. We thought of all these glam rock producers, but Geffen didn’t want to work with us. They said, ‘oh we want you to go to Memphis and record southern rock’, which was stupid because none of the people in Memphis accepted us. Then the press releases came out saying ‘Memphis based Rock City Angels’. Memphis based?? We’re an L.A. band and they don’t accept you. When Tora Tora’s record came out they were selling out everywhere because they are really home boys from there. They were really a Memphis band. We weren’t. So nobody ever accepted us in Memphis, it was so stupid.
Why they sent us there? Because it wasn’t going along as planned. Like I said, we fought them along the way. There are a lot of things in rock history if you look through, and I’m sure you know, that a lot of artists get sent away. It started with the black blues men. They would send them on a train, like Sid Spence or Robert Johnson, and give them some money to go and record far away, like to Texas. Here’s some money and then that’s it and they never even knew the record came out and then bands like Cream, years later, would cover their songs and they got the money.
It’s an old sort of tradition that if you want to hide something or steal from the artist or if things aren’t working out to ship them to Memphis, and every time they complain just put them back in the studio and have them do some demos and say they suck. So we ended up recording close to 80 songs on three continents (laughs) and according to Geffen they all sucked. So Bobby changed the name to Durango and kicked me out of the band on Thanksgiving of 1989… thanks a lot buddy! And because I said ‘we got to get rawer, this sound has to get tougher’, his explanation to me was, ‘well Andy this is as raw as we are going to get, I have to compete with Bon Jovi’. So whatever. Later. ‘Well Andy’, he said on the phone, ‘its not working out’ and he kicked me out. I knew it was coming because I was the last guy. He had already kicked out Mike Barnes our lead guitar player and Doug Banx the other guitar player. He already got rid of our attorney who had worked with Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix and he got rid of Grace Reinbold our first manager. He got rid of Phil Laredo our second manager, then he canned Alan Leonard, Cheap Trick’s attorney and manager. So I was surprised to be in the band as long as I was.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you think Bobby was doing that all himself?
Andy Panik: On purpose yes. I didn’t even know I was not even in the band. I talked to Del James from RIP magazine once and he comes up to me and says, ‘did you know that Tom Zutaut doesn’t even know you’re not in the band anymore?’
Sleaze Roxx: Sometimes you hear about managers or record labels telling the guys to get rid of certain people.
Andy Panik: Uh-no. Bobby would just dit-dit-dit. The difference is… I talk about Marilyn Manson a lot because they are from Florida and they are about four years younger than us. I saw them coming up and they were friends of mine and that’s what Brian Warner, Mr. Marilyn Manson, does. On every record he kicks all the spooky kids out once he got his record out. Every single record there’s all new people. It’s him because he wants all the money and he’s an egomaniac and it happens to a lot of people and it happened to Bobby Durango.
So when you ask me why I’m not performing on this tour it’s probably because I opened my mouth on the computer when the CD first came out and told the truth.
We got buried. The record wasn’t a hit like they thought. They spent $175,000 on one video, that’s like another excuse to say they helped break the band you know, spend some of that $6.2 million. They had to do it somehow, so they wasted $175 grand. And the video is cool, it’s great, but it doesn’t look like $175,000 video. Its flames, hot chicks, and cars being blown up. But yet it cost us that much because everyone had to be flown up to Memphis, all the equipment, the producers, the directors, and wined and dined, put up in a hotel. Nigel Dick, the guy that did Welcome To The Jungle, was our video director and he goes, ‘you know Andy we could have done this all in Los Angeles, but NO, Bobby had to do it in here in Memphis’.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you like how Young Man’s Blues turned out? It was a way different sound for the band.
Andy Panik: I think it’s great. It’s a way different sound. We could have made one of the greatest records of all time in the glam direction and I would have been far happier. I’m disappointed because I know that we could have done better. We could easily have done better. Easily. We should have been right up there with the Bang Tango’s and the Guns N’Roses’ and the Warrant’s, Poison’s, Faster Pussycat’s and L.A. Guns’. For sure we could have beat all of them to the punch. We could have beat Guns N’Roses to the punch.
Sleaze Roxx: That was always the story, that Geffen signed you just so you wouldn’t compete with Guns n Roses.
Andy Panik: Well we had Teenage Lipstick Boys in 1984 when we were short haired punk rockers, so I mean that was circulating. We were already doing that, so you think by 1986 when we got signed… May 20th, 1986, that’s how good my memory is. By that time we were just the kings of glam and it would have been so easy to put us in a local L.A. studio with Mike Clink or Poison producer Rick Browde or somebody in glam and bam make cheap videos, add some chicks, and put out Hush Child and that would have been a hit.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve often heard about how many drugs Bobby did. Did you get caught up in that while you were in Memphis too?
Andy Panik: I got caught up in it later because I was so depressed, but during the course of the Rock City Angels I was basically just the alcoholic of the group. You know how they say the Sea Hags are three junkies and one alcoholic, well the last version of Rock City Angels, which was really Durango, was four junkies and an alcoholic.
Sleaze Roxx: That makes it hard to work doesn’t it?
Andy Panik: They missed the shows. There was a two page ad taken out in a magazine with Bobby’s face all over it and they missed the show because they were out getting drugs. By the time they got there they said, ‘well it’s too late you can’t play now’. The one guy who was the alcoholic, Stuart Casson, told me the story. He said it was so embarrassing. People from Tennessee were there and how I’m really sorry, but you guys aren’t going to be able to play, and he knew why. He told me they were out scoring drugs, all four of them. The only guy that was left in the band then was Jackie D Jukes the drummer. It’s funny, drummers are like the last guys to go cause its like they gotta keep them because they can play the beat. He was the last guy to join too and he wouldn’t give Bobby any guff. I was always the guy saying ‘no Bobby.’ So getting rid of me he was king of the kingdom, nobody’s going to tell him no, or question him. I think its a good thing in a band to be able to work together as a unit and one guy brings up stuff and you can trade off ideas. But Bobby wouldn’t, even to this day, on that new record its all Durango.
Sleaze Roxx: Some of the greatest bands made their best music when there were two guys that didn’t always get along.
Andy Panik: Yeah, well I’m willing to go back and play with the cat but I have to tell the truth and speak the truth. It’s not like it used to be, you tell the truth now you’re not going to get banned from the industry or black balled, because there is no industry. It’s all changed because of the computer. There are no more record companies.
Sleaze Roxx: You can do everything yourself without a record label these days.
Andy Panik: Yeah, so people want to hear the truth. Like Johnny Depp. The Rock City Angels was his dark period. He was in involved in that. I never saw him use, but he was in our band for six months and he dealt with us for over a year business wise. He would still come back during the course of recording 21 Jump Street in Canada and come up on stage and jam blues songs with us. So he was in our band for six months as a player and six months we did business with him, and he would still come back.
Then now, today, it really completely hurts when I have to go to the store and see his face on a magazine like Rolling Stone. He’ll be on there with Keith Richards and it will have a whole chronology of Johnny Depp’s music and how he wants to play music now and he is very a talented guy. He learned all our songs and he was nice to me, he said ‘you’re a good bass player, I like you’, blah de blah. It was such a dark period for him because he was doing what we were all doing, bad things and stuff. He was really involved with Blardy and Mike Barnette and those guys were messed up. Mike Barnette, his best friend, got kicked out of the band because he was on drugs. When I read a magazine like Rolling Stone and Johnny’s on the cover and he’s talking about other bands he’s played with it never says anything about us. He never brings it up, yet we were the best band he ever played with. He wanted to be a musician and he always talks about his band The Kids. They ain’t nothing, they couldn’t touch us. I mean we were on such a roll. He knew that a movie/TV career, he was doing crappy hot resort teenage exploitation movies… He knew he couldn’t pay the rent and hey, this band Rock City Angels was going to get signed. They’re great. The singer’s great, these boys are going somewhere and I’m friends with them. He loved the band, he co-wrote a song with the band called Mary, yet for the next twenty years he didn’t say anything. Nothing. He tried burying us, hiding us, dragging us under the rug like we didn’t exist. He tried to erase us.
Sleaze Roxx: He wants to forget about it, forget about his past?
Andy Panik: I didn’t even exist. I wasn’t even born. The Rock City Angels never existed because of Geffen and now Bobby is trying to do the same thing to me on the computer. He’s trying to bury Andy Panik. He does interviews and he will say ‘the bass player’, he won’t mention my name. He’ll send pictures of the band and will cut out my face from magazines. He cut out my picture, it’s just the three of them. There was a video that was on youtube forever and it had my face on the front of it and all of a sudden, as soon as Bobby got sober and got somebody to handle his business, they went to youtube and took my picture off of it. So now its I got buried and erased by Geffen, I got buried and erased by Johnny Depp (Mr. Hollywood, you can’t not see his face on a cereal box), and now my own singer buries me from history. It’s hard to live with.
Sleaze Roxx: That has to be frustrating
Andy Panik: It’s frustrating. The only way I can do it… I mean, I still got a couple more fights in me. I’m 43 years old, but I still got a couple more fights in me and I got a new band called Tropical Weapon and my singer’s name is Jinx. He was the singer for Saigon Saloon. It was Axl Rose’s favorite band and he used to come up on stage and sing with them, and as soon as Axl said that in Rolling Stone every label came to see this guy – he’s better than Bobby. Jinx is his name and we just recorded our first demo. We’re opening for the New York Dolls on Wednesday June 10th at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale. It’s very southern rock. I would say it’s a cross between Black Oak Arkansas, Guns N’ Roses and Rock City Angels. Very southern rock. Outlaw Skynyrd.
Sleaze Roxx: How does a punk glam musician evolve into southern rock? How did that happen?
Andy Panik: Because of what happened at Geffen. Being influenced by the blues. Being sent to Memphis, not by my own choice, I had to.
Sleaze Roxx: But it turned out alright for you in the end that way, didn’t it?
Andy Panik: That was cool. I mean, I want to live to be an 80 year-old blues man so my fingers can’t play the guitar. Like sports guys. That’s why they get paid so much, because every day could be their last. Hockey players, this could be their last game you know. Your physicality only lasts so long but you could play the blues forever. That’s another thing. I think we created that genre by accident, its southern rock and glam rock. The cowboy hat with the lipstick. I think there are a lot of bands trying to do that now. If you look on the computer there are a lot of new bands that are trying to do it. Their artwork has got a lot of the shotguns and the cows-head.
So that’s what my band Tropical Weapon is, total southern rock. We have three guitar players, but its still glam, its got that boopta-bomp that’s been influenced by bands like Slade, Mott the Hoople and New York Dolls. Like I said, I still have a few more fights in me and I’m not done yet. And you might see me in the Rock City Angels, but not right now. I would like to make a real follow-up, but Use Once And Destroy is definitely not the real follow-up. Bobby thinks it is, but its Durango. I would like to get all the original members, me, Bobby, Mike Barnes, Doug Banx and Jackie D Jukes, that would be the official follow-up.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you even try to reunite all the original members?
Andy Panik: I did. I had a band called Rumble Train when I got kicked out the band, the three guys that got kicked out, Mike Barnes, Doug Banx and me. I noticed on your website you like Cats In Boots, well Randy Meers was our drummer and he played in Black Oak Arkansas as well. You can go on myspace and look up Rumble Train and it’s great. We just couldn’t get signed because it was so late in the game, it was like 1990. We did get a publishing deal with Cherry Lane Music for $25 grand, but it said that you don’t get the other $50 grand until you sign a deal, but we could never get a deal because we were surrounded… they just weren’t signing bands like that anymore. The Black Crowes were lucky that they got through because if you look at early pictures of the Crowes they are kind of glam looking.
Sleaze Roxx: It seems like all these old bands are coming back now, just releasing things independently. Have you ever though of putting Rumble Train out yourself?
Andy Panik: Yeah that’s what I’m going to do with Tropical Weapon. We have our demo, it’s only our first demo, but it’s a stomper. It’s a barn burner man. The song is called Never Ever Again. I am so happy about it and I think it puts Bobby’s Use Once and Destroy to shame. Although I think that’s a good record, I played on it, but like I said I would rather have had a couple of the original guys doing it.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you and Bobby get back together? Because I’m sure you weren’t seeing eye to eye after you got kicked out of the band the first time.
Andy Panik: Well I got kicked out, but after they lost their deal who comes fucking knocking on my door but old Bobby! We had put another band together called Death Rattle which shattered in front of my eyes. We did one show because he’s such a jerk and an egomaniac that he tried to bury me again. Oh a new band Death Rattle featuring Bobby Durango and Andy Panik, later I find out he called up the LA Weekly and got my name taken out of it. He is constantly trying to take my name out of everything and bury me.
We did one show when we broke up and that was it and then for the next 9 years I didn’t see him. I moved back to L.A. after a five year jaunt in Florida where I had a band called The Abusers. I reactivated The Abusers, our original punk band, with a female singer. Then when I came back to L.A. I called Bobby and said I signed a contract with Ann from our old record company New Renaissance and was releasing Teenage Lipstick Boys. We were going to split the money but never got a fucking penny, she never paid us and I think it’s sold out all over the world to this day. Anyways with that record out we thought Ann over at New Renaissance was going to put a new album out, so Bobby flew out. I said he could stay at my house and he brought a drummer there too. We found a local guitar player in L.A. and then another nine years went by and I didn’t hear from him from 2000 to 2009, so I found out he was releasing the CD because he was doing drugs and he was a mess.
Sleaze Roxx: Is Bobby clean now?
Andy Panik: He’s clean now but that is why you see all the stuff he is getting together.
Sleaze Roxx: What would it take for you to work with Bobby again? How many times do you have to get burnt before you say that’s enough?
Andy Panik: The only way I’d do it is if the original guys come back. That’s Mike Burns, Doug Banx and Jackie D Jukes. I’m not doing it with three junkies from Memphis.
At this point in the interview Andy’s neighbor knocked on his door to ask if he could please keep the noise down because he was being too loud. Andy says, “Oh I’m sorry… I’m doing an interview with Sleaze Roxx”, laughs, and then whispers his remaining answers.
Sleaze Roxx: That makes sense. Let’s talk about some of these other stories you had mentioned, starting with Tom Zutaut.
Andy Panik: He signed Guns n Roses. I think he got fired. I don’t even know if he is even in the business anymore.
Sleaze Roxx: You mentioned something about him making homosexual advances on Bobby and Axl Rose?
Andy Panik: It was Bobby. I can’t say on Axl but I figure if he did it to Bobby. And there was another guy, Todd Poole, he was in Roxy Blue. He was Tom’s little boy too. That is why Tom went to Memphis, because he would use his label power and sign bands and make homosexual advances on the lead singers. He was a fucking homo. I don’t have anything against gay people, it’s just when you know you are using it as a weapon to sign young bands that it’s disgusting.
We were making demos for the new album and Tom came to Memphis to… I guess that must have been his get away spot you know, because he was married. So he’d come to Memphis and he sent a lot of bands to Memphis. He was always coming to Memphis. So I guess that was his little homosexual getaway.
We were playing at this place called the Antenna and we had a new demo. Everything was paid for by Geffen, we thought we were making a second record, and Tom comes to see the show. First off he’s late, he didn’t come till like the fourth song in the show and then he comes back stage. We just put on a barn burner of a show, it was great. He comes back stage and he comes up to me and he starts screaming in my face, “Andy! You tell me the truth. I know Bobby’s on heroin. He got off the plane with three bags of heroin. I know because I talked to Christine. Where did Bobby stay at. I want you to tell me the truth.” I go, “I don’t know about that Tom” and he said “you’re lying to me Andy”. I don’t know, do normal bands go through that?
Then later on in the night I go, so what happened was we were going to make another record and Bobby went into the limo. He goes, “I got in the back of the limo and Tom Zutaut started going, I’m so horny, I’m so horny”. Tom started touching Bobby on his legs and Bobby had to jump out of the limousine in South Memphis which is really far away, like 10 miles out of the city, and walked home. So I figured he’s doing this and years later he was doing it to Todd Poole the singer from Roxy Blue – he was like his pool boy. That’s the truth man. I figure nobody can black ball me anymore because there is no industry. Maybe that’s why people are trying to bury me.
Tom Zutaut’s rebuttal to these allegations can be read at http://www.sleazeroxx.com/news09/0609zut.shtml
Sleaze Roxx: How about the time that Slash accused you of stealing Wes Arkeen’s girlfriend?
Andy Panik: You know Bobby stole Wes Arkeen’s girlfriend. He was staying at Wes’ after the Rock City Angels was dissolved and he stole his girlfriend. She was a really pretty gal, long legs and blond hair. I was walking in Ralph’s Supermarket and the late Wes Arkeen came up to me and started screaming in my face, “you tell your singer he’s a dead man. He stole my girlfriend and I’m going to kill him.” I go, “whoa Wes, I’m not in the band anymore, I guess you’re another guy that doesn’t know that. You know I got kicked out he’s not my lead singer, I don’t talk to him.” Wes was furious, and I imagine that is one of the reasons why we just didn’t get along with Guns N’ Roses. Bobby pissed a lot of people off man.
Sleaze Roxx: What bands did you play with after the release of Young Mans Blues?
Andy Panik: After that we did a tour with Jimmy Page, we toured with Joan Jett, Joe Walsh and The Georgia Satellites. We got some pretty good touring in there.
Sleaze Roxx: But the Georgia Satellites weren’t really the type of band they were trying to market the Rock City Angels to were they?
Andy Panik: No, I wish we could have gone on tour with The Cult or something like Guns N’ Roses did or some of the new rock bands. We probably played 10-15 times with L.A. Guns locally in LA. We played with Jane’s Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There were some crazy bills back them. Jetboy, Faster Pussycat you know. It’s funny, in some ways I can’t really complain because it was great.
Sleaze Roxx: What do you think of all these bands like L.A. Guns that have two different versions out on the road?
Andy Panik: Yeah, at the same time I’m good friends with Paul Black who was the singer. He’s a real sweet guy, but it’s weird. Strange I guess, but The Temptations were doing this too. It’s like two versions of The Temptations.
Sleaze Roxx: Don’t you think that it confuses the fans?
Andy Panik: Yeah you’re right, it sure does. It’s not good. It’s not cool. Two versions of the L.A. Guns. It’s silly. The band that I would like to see return are the Sea Hags. I think they are one of the greatest bands there ever was. I was lucky enough to see them. We got to play with them in New York City and they were great, I don’t have to tell you how good these guys were. There’s not even words to describe to say how good this band was. They were like four Joe Perry’s. I’d like to see Ron doing something, Ron Yocom and Adam Maples and they can get Frankie Wilsex back in the band. Chris Schlosshardt is dead from heroin. That’s another band that was so mysterious. They got everything, they got producer Mike Clink. I don’t know, some things just don’t appeal to the public, so you’ve got to look at that you know.
Sleaze Roxx: I think some bands are just maybe a little too rough around the edges for success.
Andy Panik: Yeah. I heard that when Guns N’Roses first came out that they premiered at 2 o’clock in the morning and the very next day they went into work and were bombarded. The switchboard was bombarded asking who this band was. So who knows what the public will embrace, especially now as we speak, I think it’s changing in a good way. Southern rock I think is mixing with rap. They have a thing called crunk. It’s like rap, it’s all down south now. It’s not like you have to be from L.A. or New York, you can be from anywhere if you’ve got heart because of the computer and everything.
Sleaze Roxx: When talking about guys like Chris Schlosshardt that have died, are you surprised that all the guys from the Rock City Angels are still alive?
Andy Panik: Yes I am. Some of the guys were really bad. Everybody’s still alive and survived, so we could still put it together. But like I said, Jackie D Jukes, Mike Barnes, Doug Banx and myself weren’t on that stuff. Bobby and the new guys were all junkies, so I don’t know what they’re doing, maybe they are still on it.
Sleaze Roxx: So Bobby was just surrounding himself with guys like himself at the end?
Andy Panik: Yeah, his skin was turning yellow. It was disgusting.
How about I tell you the story of how it all ended because Bobby never talks about it.
Sleaze Roxx: OK, tell me how the Rock City Angels ended.
Andy Panik: Well it was Bobby, Jackie and four new junkies and they were close to breaking up. So Jackie D Jukes went to score some heroin at this guy’s house and who was there but Jimmy Bain, the bass player in Dio, he was a major drug addict. Jackie’s explaining his problem with Geffen Records and Jimmy goes, “my mate over in England, Brian Robertson from Thin Lizzy, loves you guys and would love to work with you. Hold on a second let me make a phone call. Hey Brian, you know the band Rock City Angels? What do you think about recording them?” Brain said ‘sure mate’, they’re great.
So they talked to Geffen and sure enough Tom Zutaut calls Brian Robertson who says ‘send them over to do a demo for the second record’. So the Rock City Angels get back together, it was Bobby and Jackie and a total junkie on bass, I don’t even remember his name. When they were over there the guys got arrested by Scotland Yard because they went into the hotel saloon and stole boxes and boxes of Jack Daniels. Then they went outside onto Kings Road, or is it Kings Row, where all these bums hang out and they were handing out bottles of Jack Daniels. They thought it was so cute. Well later in the day Scotland Yard shows up at the hotel… saying things ‘like you’re going to jail, you stole, you broke into the bar, you can’t do that’. That’s against the law man. So Geffen had to pay to get the band out of jail, but they already knew they were using heroin over there and then they refused to let them come back to America.
By this time Bobby’s dad was managing the band and he went over there with them. Luckily. Daddy Durango. He had to pay like $15 grand of his own money to get all these guys back to America because Geffen wouldn’t pay it. Then they got back to America and everyone went their separate ways. Jackie went back to Arkansas, Bobby stayed in L.A. and I don’t know where the other guy went. Maybe he is dead. Maybe he’s still sitting in jail in England.
Sleaze Roxx: And that was the end of the Rock City Angels?
Andy Panik: No not yet… hollldddd on. Hold on, it’s gonna get good man.
Then Daddy Durango goes into the office at Geffen and demands his money back. He waited in the office nearly two hours to see vice-president Ed Rosenblatt to get his money back, his $15 grand, for paying for his son and the two other guys to come back and the $15 grand for the plane tickets. Geffen kept letting him sit in the office until finally he’s like ‘I’m sick of this’ and goes up to the secretary, opens up his briefcase and there is a steel-plated 45 Magnum gun in there. He goes, “I want to see Ed Rosenblatt NOW.” Sure enough, two minutes later he’s in Ed Rosenblatt’s office. Ed signed a check for $15 grand in exchange for Daddy Durango signing a piece of paper saying that the Rock City Angels are no longer on Geffen. That’s it. That’s the end of the story.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s quite a story.
Andy Panik: It’s a story and it’s all true. So if there are any Hollywood script writers out there, who would like the real truth, come knocking on my door. Bobby doesn’t remember because he was on so many drugs. Now he’s starting to remember, so maybe his memory will come back.
Thanks to Andy Panik