Bobby Durango, Johnny Depp Bandmate and Guns N' Roses Rival, Dead

BobbyDurangoDead_RockCityAngels.jpg
Photo by Vergentino Robles Photography
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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5 comments
wendy
wendy

As another member of that FLA crowd that ended up in Hollywood, my condolences to Bobby's family, friends and all his band-mates. Thank you Rog and Ringo for sharing more history and factual info. Bobby was a brilliant lyricist and his short stories over the past few years were amazing. Len nailed it about Inger .... remember the night they opened for Saigon Saloon? LMAO

Len Fagan
Len Fagan

from Len Fagan:  Geffen dropped the ball on the RCA's because of their "wild behavior" ??  Sorry, don't think so.  GnR were even "wilder."  And Geffen also had The Nymphs, who's lead singer, Inger Lorre, made Axl, and Bobby, seem like saints !!!

Billy Blaze
Billy Blaze

Ringo, thanks for taking the high road & doing the right thing in pointing out the bullshit. As far as the comments by flyingdutchboy I'm sure Ringo knows about Bobby's past efforts. I'm Billy Blaze (stage name) & drummer for the ABUSERS & even have a recording of 4 songs recorded by the ABUSERS w/Bobby Bondage (Bobby's stage name at the time). He was more than just a singer he was a genuine frontman, w/the amazing talent & ability to have the audiences full attention. More so than all the things I could say about Bobby (a never ending list) he was one of my best friends since age 17. I LOVED you like a BROTHER, thank you for being a true ANARCHIST/REBEL in a world were we are surrounded by FAKES. 

Flyingdutchboy72
Flyingdutchboy72

Shame you didn't do your homework and mention The Abusers,which was Bobbys punk/metal/glam band on the early FLA punk scene......Bobby was one of the pioneers that paved the way in a period when you would get beat up for wearing a U2 button.....

RINGO JUKES
RINGO JUKES

Thanx for the article on my former bandmate . I have drummed for RCA off & on since 1985. I was there throughout the whole GEFFEN deal. JUST FOR THE RECORD THIS IS TOTAL BS - Quote: "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.)" This was not ever the case ... it was a scheme most likely dreamed up by a smaller label to promote the release of some of our older material and Bobby himself DENIED ever feeling or saying this in many interviews ... it was rather a sore subject as it holds no validity. Just want that set straight as my friend/bandmate is no longer around to defend his statements ... or NON STATEMENTS ... that said,I do appreciate you writing about Bobby and thank you. Don't mean ta be a drag or bitcher ... just sayin' Thanx RINGO JUKES

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