Joey and Johnny of the Kids
My Johnny Depp stories…
Johnny was in a rival band called the Kids, a really good rock group that had a great vibe. Johnny was their main guitar player and I loved his sound. He had this red telecaster that I thought was really cool. A “girl” friend of our band who knew him told me that he was selling his guitar. I asked her for his number and that’s the first time I spoke to him over the phone. I could tell speaking to him that he was getting cold feet about selling the guitar so it never went anywhere and we didn’t speak for quite some time afterwards. Our band always resented the Kids because in truth they were a little more pop and did more dance covers than we did. So we built up this kind of resentment to them. Also they beat us in a battle of the bands contest hosted by radio station WSHE at the Agora Ballroom that I think we should have won. However fast forward a year or so and we are doing a week at the Agora and we are backstage. Johnny comes in with the girl that introduced us via telephone. I had seen the Kids play a few times and liked the band but couldn’t admit it to my band mates who had their own bag of jealousy toward the Kids. Johnny comes in to the dressing room, I can feel our band coping an attitude but Johnny sticks out his hand and says, “You guys are really great, I only wish we were doing what you guys are doing”. Talk about breaking the ice. I instantly liked Johnny a lot. The next time we spoke was in front of the Tree House Lounge in Hallandale. The Kids kind of owned that spot. Suarez and I were sitting on the hood of a car shooting the breeze when these drunk rednecks show up and ripped into Johnny who was seated between us. At the time Johnny was sporting a fifties style pompadour, very new wave. These assholes were letting him have it. Calling he fagot and all sorts of stuff. They gave Suarez and I a pass, probably because we looked like rockers but it was uncomfortable to say the least. After they left which seemed like hours I asked Johnny why he took that shit from those guys. He could have easily have gotten one of the bouncers who would have had fun kicking the shit out of those guys. Bouncers didn’t like the idea of people bulling their bands particularly at The Tree House. But Johnny to his credit said, “its no big deal”. I thought, wow, talk about turning the other cheek! Another story I have is that while going to the University of Miami I was studying classical guitar with a professor by the name of Glenn “something”. Sorry Glenn, I can’t remember your last name. Glenn liked rock-n-roll and would sometimes see ZTOYZ play and played with us every now and then. So one day I mentioned that the Kids would be playing at lunchtime at the UM. I wasn’t able to check out the band but Glenn was. The next time he saw me he raved about this guitar player. Now the Kids had two guitar players. The lead singer who played guitar player was also very good. Glenn was raving about him thinking he had the qualities to become a star. I agreed but then realized he wasn’t talking about Depp. I stopped him in his tracks and said, hey man, Johnny Depp is incredible, with his looks like that, that guy could be a movie star. Glenn told me I was crazy and that the other guitar player Joey was the talented one. The last time I had a conversation with Johnny was years ago at the Button South that used to be the Agora Ballroom. Johnny had just starred in Nightmare on Elm Street. I had seen it and couldn’t believe he had managed to get such a big role in a Hollywood movie. But that night in the Agora he was pessimistic. He told me that he was working on a Vietnam film that was running out of money and the Director was going to every studio trying to raise funds. He thought whatever opportunities he had, were now coming to a dead end and that it was basically over for him. About a year and half later I’m watching this amazing new war film called Platoon. That was the movie he was talking about. He had a juicy supporting role. Just his luck, soon after he landed 21 Jump Street and though mutual friends have said hello from time to time I’ve not seen him since. All I can say is that the few times I’ve hung with him he’s turned out to be one of the coolest people I’ve met.