Jim McCarty

Decided this morning to do a fan piece on Jim McCarty my greatest Detroit Guitar Hero. From the very first time I recall jumping around my room and dancing with my sisters... the music was from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Here is the very first song I bought with my own money featuring Jim's monster guitar licks and the always pounding Johnny Bee Badanjek...

The Rockets were founded by guitarist Jimmy McCarty and drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, both former members of the group Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.

The Rockets

Along with slide and rhythm guitarist Dennis Robbins, bassist John Fraga, and lead vocalist David Gilbert, the Rockets reached their pinacle of success in 1979 with a Top 40 hit, a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song “Oh Well”, and an appearance on the T.V. series The Midnight Special.

In an August 2006 interview on VH1 Classic, Ted Nugent remarked "I'm the only guy in rock'n'roll that plays that hollow body jazz guitar and it's because in 1960 I saw Jimmy McCarty creating those big fat full chords like I do on "Stranglehold"; I learned that from Jimmy McCarty. Remember the name Jimmy McCarty. He is as important as Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry and Les Paul...a god on guitar." Guitar-maker Paul Reed Smith is among McCarty's admirers.

In 2005, Les Paul recorded Les Paul and Friends: American Made, World Played, with an all-star band. He covered 69 Freedom Special, an instrumental tune co-written by McCarty and recorded while in the Buddy Miles Express. In February 2006, Les Paul won a Grammy for his cover of the song, thus propelling McCarty into another award-winning arena as songwriter.

Retro: Kimmer and Jim McCarty on his birthday 2011

Jim McCarty Discography

I first met Jim at a Helldrivers gig in Detroit just after Christmas 2009. I stood trying to film him but I was completely mesmerized. Thankfully Dan Boyd was there filming with better cameras! After the set I really wanted to get Jim to sign my cd so I approached him at the bar... He was so nice and dang... so tall!

I had heard a lot about Jim before I met him... Mostly that he does not suffer fools... that I found to be perfectly descriptive. Straight shooter and no hidden agendas or game playing with this man.. at least from my point of view.

Luckily I have gotten to see Jim play quite a few times in the past 2 years. What I really love about watching him is his focus on his guitar and not the audience or cameras. He seems to really be in a zone of his own when he plays...

Walked into one of Jim's Mystery Train gigs awhile back and as I went with my cameras and stuff to take a sit, Jim says on mic from the stage "KIM!" " They are cooking me up here with the spotlight, make them turn it off!" So I scoped out the back of the room for the lighting guy. Found him and walked over to his board.

Asked the man to please kill the spot on Jimmy. They guy said, "But he'll be in the dark while the rest of his band will be lit." I replied to the clueless young guy, "He doesn't care." And he doesn't care about such things. Jimmy comes to play and he is still bringing it to the thrill of his legions of fans and one girl blogger fan from Ypsilanti.

I shot this little video of Jimmy having a little fun with Muruga the famed drummer from Detroit.


1 comment:

Rodger said...

Awsome site! - I'm going to see Jimmy play June 8th in Auburn Hills. He is an awsome guitarist!. I always liked his driving force with Cactus. I know his first love is the blues and he sure can play it. I got reserved front table at Callahan's. Anyhow, I hope to get to meet him.

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