8.05.2010

JOHNNY MORGAN'S STORY....


John Morgan Drummer

In 1964 at the age of 9 I learned to play drums on Bill Figg's drums in my parents basement on 408 Westwood St in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the Rationals used to rehearse. Deon Jackson would stop by the house there. I tried to put a band together but no one could play their instruments at that age. We moved to 2097 S. Seventh St in Ann Arbor in 1965 where the Rationals rehearsed once in a while in the family room.

Iggy (James Osterberg Jr.) came by to do gigs and recording sessions playing drums with the Rationals. Bob Seger would come by the house and try and sell Scott (John's brother Scott Morgan) some songs for the Rationals to do. One of them was "Beautiful Loser" I think Scott said but he just didn't think it was a good song for The Rationals.

I told Scott about 1987 or so he should ask Seger if he still had that song for sale? (Ha Ha). I put my first band together in the basement there in 1966-67 called The Revenuers. We played a friend's parent's basement party for $25. One of the songs was "Wild Thing" by The Troggs.

After elementary school it was hard to find musicians to play with, they all went into sports. It wasn't until high school that I began playing again with neighborhood friends when we lived on 7th St. This band became The After Hours Band which morphed into Vantage Point Band who played the 1979 Montreux, Switzerland Jazz Festival with weather Report and Willie Bobo.

So I come back from Europe in August 0f 1979 and my brother Scott and (W.R.)Ron Cooke tell me Wayne Kramer (MC5) has teamed up with Johnny Thunders and they're looking for a drummer. They did one gig at Hueys in Chicago but didn't like the drummer apparently.

Johnny Thunders is staying at Gary Burmele's house in Dexter with his wife Julie and children. I go down to Detroit to audition for the band at a rehearsal studio and meet Johnny for the first time. I didn't know who he or The Dolls or the Heartbreakers were. He's wearing a T-shirt with the sleeves cut off and his arms are covered with tattoos and his hair is all greased up with pomp.

Very striking appearance. We do some songs and I leave. Wayne calls me up the next day and says I got the gig. He wants a drummer that doesn't do a lot of fills. I say "Less is more", Wayne says "More is less!". We do a rehearsal, one gig in Detroit, I think the New Miami, then off to Toronto for the live recordings on Jungle Records in September of 1979. Wayne leaves the country and calls his parole officer from Windsor because he is not supposed to leave the country while on parole. He continues on to Toronto.

After I moved to NYC with Wayne and Johnny in May/June 1980, Ron Cooke stayed in Michigan as well as Julie Jordan and Johnny's kids, I stayed in NYC for the summer but Johnny was into the junk so bad he missed gigs and did gigs so high he couldn't play his instrument.

Wayne got back into the bag as well. I moved back to my parents in Ann Arbor in August 1980. Scott formed Brothers of the Road with Ron, Harry Phillips, and Steve Dansby. Then also formed Scott Morgan Band w/ Kathy DeSchaine, Mike Katon, Ron Cooke, then Gary Rasmussen and Scott Asheton later..


When I returned I also performed with Rough Cut and we released one single "Thailand" and "Danger Boy". I also performed briefly with Gary Quackenbush backing up a blonde singer named Tana in Tana and The Tornadoes. Then I joined Al Hill and Jeanne Mayal in Jeanne and the Dreams then Steve Nardella and his Rock and Roll Trio up until 1989.

Had my own band briefly in 1985 called "The Soul Expressions". We played Mr.Floods and Scott, Dave Picard, and Brophy Dale were in that band. John Fraga from The Rockets was the bass player in Steve Nardella band for a while. I moved to LA in fall of 1990 and began another musical sojourn. Stay Tuned....

12 comments:

MJG196 said...

Thanks a lot for this! Hope you are enjoying the Brothers On the Road gig...

John Morgan said...

"Nice job Kim. I'll get those other stories and pics about my west coast days.

Geri Rubello Gillespie said...

THANKS FOR THIS STORY KIM

RetroKimmer said...

Yes I love the brothers I am finding a cd so Scottie can hear it too Thank you!!!! MG thanks to John for writing the post and sending me such cool photos! I live for unseen photos!

JOHNNY BEE said...

Alright John, I hope all is well. As James Brown would say; "Give the drummer some."

Mohair Sweets said...

Very cool. 'bout time someone did something on him!

Mary Markle Morgan said...

Wow! Even though I know the whole story, it's great seeing it all written down for once.

David Vought said...

Where's Dave Morgan?

Jean Morgan Compton said...

Dave lives in the Nashville area and doing well. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a FB-yet...

John Morgan said...

Johnny Bee; Thanks! you're one of my favorite drummers of all time. When are you gonna accept me as a friend on facebook? Tell Mr. McCarty I said Yo and he's also one of my favorite guitar players of all time! And that's only half of the story folks! David is a phenomenal songwriter, that's why he moved to Nashville from LA... And if the drummer didn't give James Brown what he wanted, he was fined was $10 a mistake!

Scott Morgan said...

very cool guys. the lightnin photo would be my brother david, jeff jones, me, terry trabandt, and al jaquez. the mc5 photo is dennis thompson, mike davis, and rob tyner. doug podell was responsible for the she's wild session. he had a tv show at the time. well thanks. i'll speak with the bee, jimmy and mitch in person. oh wait, isn't that a line from guys and dolls? well it's hard to beat marlon brando.

Maureen Ferrell said...

Pretty funny. The first time we talked about that photo, I told Kim I thought that was Scott(rather than Johnny). Then I doubted myself and said it I thought it was Johnny and David. She thought it must be Johnny since he sent her the photo. Maybe he didn't even know..... You Morgan guys are confusing.

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