What follows is the story of a bunch of hard
working street kids from the East side of Detroit who became one of
the most influential and memorable bands emanating from one of music's
most important periods....
Formed on Valentine's Day, 1977,
Palmar, Jimmy Marinos, Mike Skill and Rich Cole --
the original Romantics -- were tough
kids escaping hard work, probably in machine shops or factories, but
they weren't punks. They were a response to the nihilism of the U.K.
And The Romantics were simple; the best of their music was a joyful
affirmation, epitomized by the chanted "Hey!...uh-huh!" intro to the
remarkable "That's What I Like About You," a song that still exists
precisely in the moment, without before or after.
While it is true that they took much of their simple thunder from the
British Invasion, the band's primary influence was the high energy
excitement of the late 60s Detroit scene. The MC5, the Stooges, The
Underdogs, The Rationals, SRC, The Up. . . The Romantics took the
essence of this scene -- sincerity, irony, spontaneity, volume --
and translated it to suit their own modern experience. Their image was
innate; they naturally favored short hair and shorter songs and
happened on the infamous red leather suits by chance.
After releasing a single consisting of the first two songs they had
''Little White Lies" and "I Can't Tell You
Anything" -- The Romantics traveled
east to build a club audience. Bomp Records' Greg Shaw sees them in
Toronto and funds an EP. The EP includes "Tell It To Carrie,"
something of a stylistic matrix for The Romantics' music to come.
The late 70s U.K. punk movement is diluted and misunderstood in
America, and The Romantics are, like it or not, labeled
"New Wave, " a term for the more palatable selling of punk. The
Romantics consider themselves well removed from the Sex Pistols'
negativity. They don't want rock to go away; they want, as Skill tells
a reporter in 1979: "to still have fun with three chords."
After signing with Nemperor Records in 1979, The Romantics released
their debut LP, recorded in three weeks. Anchored by "That's What I
Like About You," "When I Look In Your Eyes" and a cover of Ray Davies'
"She's Got Everything," The album is an exemplary pop-rock period
piece. Distilling the frantic melodies of the Dave Clark Five and the
exigency of the punks,
evokes a youthful portrait, haunting in its innocence, a direct
contrast to the tough world they know in Detroit.
was released in 1980, followed by tours of Europe and Australia. More
influences -- surf music, Motown -- were evidenced, yet the sound was
increasingly unique. "Tomboy," "21 and Over" and "Stone Pony" lived up
to the post-punk battle cry of "Two minutes or bust." The Bomp
material was included on a compilation titled Midwest Pop Explosion
(Quark 1980), but by the time of 1981's
lead guitarist Skill departs and is replaced by current guitarist Coz
The band reaches its commercial peak in 1983-1984 with
a platinum album bearing two top ten
In Your Sleep" and "One In A Million." This should have been the big
payoff, but drummer Marinos departs instead as "success" creates
division and confrontation between management and the band.
The Romantics, with Dave Petratos on Drums, released
in 1985. Other than the 1990 greatest hits compilation, "What I
Like About You" (and Other Romantic Hits), Rhythm Romance
is the last record The Romantics cut for Epic/Nemperor.
1987, The Romantics endure an inordinate amount of adversity. The
acrimonious fall-out and lawsuit with their former managers slowed
royalty payments and prevented the band from focusing on recording and
touring. In late 1990, the Romantics added former Blondie drummer Clem
Burke to the lineup, and in 1994 they released a European EP titled
Made In Detroit
for Westbound Records, containing fellow Detroiter George Clintons'
Funkadelic songs along with three originals. Later that year, The
Romantics received an
award for Outstanding Pop/Rock Recording Artists from the Motor City
In 1992, when Clem had other obligations, The Romantics enlisted
legendary Detroit drummer
Johnny "Bee" Badanjek
to perform with them at Rob Tyner's (MC5) Memorial Service, and he
continues to perform and record with The Romantics in additon to Clem.
In 1995, The Romantics settled their 7 year old lawsuit against their
former management and regained control of their publishing rights and
music catalog. In
Jimmy Marinos, the original drummer, rejoined
the Romantics to tour and work on
recording projects until leaving the group in 1997. 1998 and 1999
brought more touring and recording, and in 1999 The Romantics were
presented with the
Distinguished Achievement Award
at the Detroit Music Awards.
This fall the foursome returns with "61/49,"its most rock solid
offering in years. Named for the storied crossroads near Clarksdale,
Mississippi where bluesman Robert Johnson made his pact with the
devil, "61/49" is intended as a tip of the hat to the roots of rock
'n' roll and the nucleus of the Romantics' fervent pop.
"61/49" features members Wally Palmar, Mike Skill, Coz Canler and
their current drummer Clem Burke (a founding member of Blondie and now
a permanent member of the Romantics). They are joined by their
original drummer, Jimmy Marinos, as well as Detroit Wheels drummer and
Motor City legend Johnny "Bee" Badanjek with a supporting cast that
includes keyboardists Eddie Hawrysch (Black Crowes) and Luis Resto,
Mixed and Engineered by local heavyweights Steve King (Eminem) and Al
Sutton (Kid Rock), "61/49" exemplifies the hook-laden, explosive pop
that has made the Romantics among the most memorable rock purveyors of
all time. The album's opening track, "Devil in Me," exudes the sexy
swagger that is the hallmark of the band's sound while its first
single, "Out of My Mind (Into My Head)" showcases Palmar's ruggedly
charismatic voice and flare for melody.
As always, the Romantics pay their respects to those who laid out the
blueprint with a few choice covers, in this case, Brit-poppers the
Pretty Things "Midnight to Six Man" and the Kinks "I Need You". But
it's the original material on "61/49" that will knock out old and new
fans alike. The boys are back, and they aren't fooling around.
As they are want to do, record companies are currently scouring the
globe for mop-headed cuties that can peddle the new "garage." Fact is,
REAL rock 'n' roll can't be bought and sold like an off-the-rack
imitation. REAL rock 'n' roll is a tangible manifestation of
heart, soul and commitment. The Romantics are as real as it gets.
Call CJ DiRoma at 856-665-5513 for more information and availability
Avenue Productions and Starlight
Management Inc. act in part as entertainment brokers/producers for
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