Bobby Durango, Johnny Depp Bandmate and Guns N' Roses Rival, Dead
If you've heard of glam punker Bobby Durango, perhaps you're a Johnny Depp obsessive. Or maybe you know everything there is to know about 1980s hair metal.
But for fans of Durango, who died this week after singing in bands for about 30 years, he will be remembered as one of the leading lights of the early Miami punk scene.
He had been completing a new album with his longest-term group, Rock City Angels, in which Johnny Depp had once been a guitarist and songwriter alongside Durango.
When Geffen Records sent Rock City Angels to Memphis to record its major-label debut, Depp stayed in Los Angeles to star in 21 Jump Street. But his songwriting contributions remain on that 1988 album, Young Man's Blues.
Though the outfit was more punk and glam than hair metal, Rock City Angels was lumped in with bands like Hanoi Rocks and Dogs D'Amour. However, RCA's biggest rival was Guns N' Roses, another Geffen group.
For years, Durango and crew felt that GNR was the reason Young Man's Blues was forgotten by the label. (The argument: All the attention and publicity budget was sucked up by Axl and company.) But the label blamed Durango and his bandmates for their wild lifestyles.
Whatever the real reason, Rock City Angels' debut album didn't gain any traction and the band was dropped from Geffen. Eventually, Durango left Los Angeles for Memphis where he found Bhuddism and gigged around town with a variety of groups.
In 2000, Rock City Angels finally released its self-titled album, bought and shelved in the '80s by Geffen in order to release Young Man's Blues. Then the band reunited to record Use Once and Destroy, released in 2008.
In an interview last year, Durango said, "If Use Once and Destroy was my swan song, I could die a happy man. There were no compromises, it is a pure statement lyrically and musically and I couldn't be more proud of it. It's the album I've always wanted to make."
In 2010, a compilation of unreleased tracks, including some intended for what would have been RCA's second Geffen album, came out as Midnight Confessions. The band continued as a live unit, regularly playing South Florida shows.
As recently as last month, Durango and crew announced that they would have a new album ready by the end of the year, "a slice of psychedelic spaghettiwesternesque rock'n'roll."
The cause of Bobby Durango's death has not yet been announced.
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