Johnny Gets His Guitar

(Originally published on MOLI 8/27/08)

Long before he was channeling Keith Richard into his role as Captain Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp (sigh) was a swashbuckling guitarist himself. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, he played in a band called the Kids, one of many new wave acts trying to make it big in a part of the country geographically — not to mention psychically — far from the established music meccas: South Florida. Not many people know that before bass and Gloria, Miami was a rocking town. As the film Rock and a Hard Place: Another Night at the Agora documents, bands like the Kids, Cichlids, Charlie Pickett, etc., were creating the soundtrack of a tropical Athens (in fact, REM were Pickett fans).

Depp is the only member of this scene who went on to great fame — and he did it as an actor, not a musician. But even the world’s biggest movie star can’t let go of those rock-star fantasies. I suppose that’s why Depp’s strapping his guitar on again; this weekend, he’ll play in a Kids reunion in Pompano Beach, as part of the Sheila Witkin tribute concert that also features Pickett, Slyder, the Romantics (featuring a veteran of the SoFla scene), Z-Cars, and Tight Squeeze.

It’s not the first time Depp has rejoined his old bandmates: The Kids played the first Witkin tribute in 2007. Witkin was a concert promoter who helped build the South Florida scene; her son Bruce was also in the Kids. The ’07 concert was caught by the Rock and a Hard Place filmmakers. Depp wears a vest, beret, and his instrument hanging low. Be still, my heart.

Rock ‘n’ roll, like any arts career, is a crap shoot. Rock and a Hard Place perfectly captures that sense of failed dreams, the ones that got away. I mean, if even having the hottest guy on the planet in your group doesn’t get you an English countryside mansion, whatcha gonna do?

It’s not the first time Depp has rejoined his old bandmates: The Kids played the first Witkin tribute in 2007. Witkin was a concert promoter who helped build the South Florida scene; her son Bruce was also in the Kids. The ’07 concert was caught by the Rock and a Hard Place filmmakers. Depp wears a vest, beret, and his instrument hanging low. Be still, my heart.

Rock ‘n’ roll, like any arts career, is a crap shoot. Rock and a Hard Place perfectly captures that sense of failed dreams, the ones that got away. I mean, if even having the hottest guy on the planet in your group doesn’t get you an English countryside mansion, whatcha gonna do?

1 Comment

Filed under Populism, Uncategorized

One response to “Johnny Gets His Guitar

  1. Johnny Depp along with Brad, Elvis and some other stars shooting close and far is still by far the sexiest man for over one decade!

    Like

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