The Rockets were formed in 1972 by former Mitch Ryder<http://mitchryder.de/> &The Detroit Wheels members Johnny "Bee" Bandajek <http://www.johnny-bee.com/> andJim McCarty. Vocals and drums were handled by Bandajek, McCarty was on leadguitar, John Fraga was on bass and Marc Marcano was on keyboards. Johnny Beewas the driving force and primary songwriter for the Rockets. In 1976 theyenlisted veteran singer Dave Gilbert to front the band with an unmistakeablegrit in his voice and confident swagger that let everyone know the Rockets wereready for stardom.
The Rockets thought they had performed for theirlast two shows at Pine Knob (now known as DTE Energy Music Theatre <http://www.palacenet.com/index.cfm?category=2>) near Detroit on August 28th & 29th, 1983. The band splintered and themembers all went their separate ways. Bandajek, McCarty and the rest went on toother projects. Gilbert played in a couple of short-lived local bands but hislifelong abuse of drugs and alcohol and other personal problems had taken itstoll. Former rock star David Gilbert was 49 when he died of cirrhosis in 2001.
Immediately fans began reminiscing and comparingthe raucous, blistering, no-frills club dates to the early days of the Rockets.The crowds grew and local clubs could barely contain the sold out shows. Theband became the hottest ticket in town and was continually being asked to playmore and more Rockets songs. Fans were venturing from upstate New York, LosAngeles, Dayton, Chicago and Alpena, just hear their Rockets favorites.
In early 2010 at the Detroit Music Awards <http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2010/04/16/entertainment/doc4bc64dc6e9c83777151640.txt>, Johnny Bee and Jim McCarty were given a Lifetime Achievement award which wasfollowed by a performance of Rockets songs. Fans, media, and other industryprofessionals all asked, "why don't you just call the band the Rockets?" Soonafter the show the band changed the name, added keyboardist Danny Taylor andthe Rockets were refueled.
On July 2, 2010, nearly 27 years after their lastconcert, 10,000 fans filled the streets of Mt. Clemens, Mi to see the debut ofthe newly formed Rockets.
By August the Rockets emulsified the audience atPine Knob while opening for old tourmates The J. Geils Band. Comments made inseveral publications around town touted the Rockets - J. Geils Band show as the"best of the summer".