Feature Column
Exclusive to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame

Column #28 - published December 5, 1999


Johnny, Noah, Eli, Jimmy - Ronny below
(Photo by Laurie Weiser)

Almost two years ago while attending Rockabilly Nite at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Las Vegas Rockin' Daddy Doug Tresher gave me a CD of some unknown band called Johnny and the Blades. I was expecting this disk to be good, like so many others I receive almost every week.

During the last two years bands must have sent me over 100 CDs. Almost all are good, but that's the problem, good is not good enough, what I mean is that it's good for one or two plays, and then it's put away in the closet. This one was different, it was much better than good!! I played this one many many times, a rare situation for a new band!

The Blades: Johnny, Noah
Jimmy, Eli

Johnny Kellen's voice was the big surprise here: it was reminiscent of Mac Curtis, Carl Perkins and Phil Alvin, all wrapped into one, but yet with its own very unique stylings! A truly soulful American voice, certainly among the Top Ten pipes in the Rockabilly field today.

Several months later the boys were booked at the Hard Rock Cafe, and below is the post which I sent to the Rockabilly List on January 8, 1998:

"Last nite, wow!!! A phenomenal evening!! The VOICE, very strong, very greasy, very exciting, slightly reminiscent of Carl Perkins, but yet unique, was all there, all powerful, and coming thru loud and clear thanx to the high quality sound system.

What chills! The standup bass player (Jimmy Kolodziej) among the best I've ever seen both visually and musically. And their material, mostly originals, top notch! A superior performance by a superior singer with a tuff rockin' band and excellent original material. NEVER MISS THESE GUYS!!!"

Eli, Johnny, Noah, Jimmy

Incidentally the guys are:
Johnny Kellen - Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Jimmy Kolodziej - Upright Bass
Eli Rinek - Drums
Noah Gietka - Lead Guitar


It was at that time that plans were made to record Johnny at Rollin' Rock.

By then only DRAGSTRIP77 had already recorded here, and Johnny and the Blades were supposed to be next. But then there was one delay after the other, and in the meantime superb cds were recorded for Rollin' Rock Records by NARVEL FELTS, MACK STEVENS, RIP CARSON & THE TWILIGHT TRIO, THE ROLLIN' ROCKS, and BILL HALEY'S ORIGINAL COMETS, scheduled for release on December 13, by the way.

I almost felt that the Johnny and The Blades project would never happen, but finally, almost two years later, the boys rolled into Vegas town the night of November 29!!

And, in spite of having driven 14-16 hours straight, they were able to slap down seven solid rockers. Almost all were done in one take. Another eight songs were recorded the next day.

Johnny Kellen recording at Rollin' Rock

When you have a singer of the quality of Johnny Kellen, the main question you have to wonder about is where does one find musicians who are good enough to do him justice? Well, I don't know where he found them, but Johnny has FOUND them!!! -- Bass, drums, guitar, Jimmy, Eli, and Noah, all awesome cats, the top of the crop!

The Blades are all extremely friendly cats, and real gentlemen, and it was a pleasure having them record for Rollin' Rock!!

After all recordings were finished, Texas Mike and MayBee Baby, of Kats Like Us, organized a show for them at Legends Lounge which was broadcast live over the Internet. This show had the best attendance since Mack Stevens ripped it up several months ago.

The new CD will be called, "Let's Make Vegas Tonite", on Rollin' Rock CD-104.

Johnny doing Rockabilly Nite organized by Kats Like Us at Legends Lounge.

Upcoming Rollin' Rock Records
Year 2000 recording schedule:

ORIGINAL COMETS -- end of January
CHOP TOPS -- mid year
ALVIS WAYNE -- mid year
ORVILLE NASH -- September

Always Rollin' The Rock,
Rockin' Ronny Weiser

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