If you're looking up Detroit in the Dictionary of Rock and Roll, look under "Bee."

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit WheelsAt 16, John (Johnny Bee) Badanjek (pronounced:buh-DAN-jek) was the drummer for the Motor City's premier rock and roll band, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. There he hammered out one of the three greatest drum breaks in the history of rock, according to Rolling Stone Magazine (On "Devil With A Blue Dress").

After the group disbanded in 1967, "Bee" toured and recorded with Edgar Winter, Alice Cooper, Dr. John, Bob Seger, Ronnie Montrose, Nils Lofgren and others, providing the backbeat for some of rock's legendary tracks.

Johnny BeeBut Johnny Bee's preeminent position in the nation's hard rock hall-of-fame was not won with sticks alone -- in 1972, he co-founded The Rockets as a showcase for his songwriting skills. He served in a dual role as drummer/lead vocalist until 1976 -- when they opted for a bluesier voice.

Bee's songs launched the group into national prominence, and proved his ability to score consistently on the nation's pop music charts ("Can't Sleep", "Turn Up the Radio","Takin' It Back").

In 1992, Bee toured Europe with Nils Lofgren and drummed on Nil's Rykodisc release, The Crooked Line. Bee recently toured and recorded with The Romantics and is spending much of his time working with his new band, Broken Toys writing and demo-ing new material.

Notable Facts:

  • Original/only drummer with Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels - 7 top-40 hits (including "Jenny Take a Ride", "Devil With a Blue Dress On") 4 gold LP's.
  • Played/recorded with Alice Cooper - including hit "Welcome To My Nightmare"
  • Played/recorded with Edgar Winter - including hit "Free Ride"
  • Played/recorded with Dr. John
  • Co-founded Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder - hit "Rock & Roll"
  • Co-founded The Rockets and wrote almost all the material for the 6 releases
  • Played/recorded with Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren
  • Played/recorded with Bob Seger
  • Played/recorded with Ronnie Montrose
  • Cover picture of, and the first interview in Bruce Springsteen's drummer Max Weinberg's book, "The Big Beat-Conversations with Rock's Great Drummers"
  • Ludwig Drums endorser - featured in book on the history of Ludwig Drums
  • Featured on Max Weinberg's 1994 3-CD Rhino release Let There Be Drums
  • Featured on Dr. John's 1994 Rhino release The Dr. John Anthology
  • Songwriter on Mary McGuire's newest C.D. Love Struck Featuring the Johnny Bee song: Songs Without Words.
  • Songwriter on Jennifer Westwood And The Handsome Devils new C.D. Greetings From This Town featuring the Johnny Bee song: Cowgirl Blues.
  • Played on Ted Nugents new C.D. Shut Up & Jam featuring Sammy Hagar on Frontiers Records
  • Played on Nils Lofgren's new 9 C.D. + DVD Face The Music on Concord/Fantasy Records.
  • D'Addario Pro-Mark Drumsticks