Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
JOHNNY AND THE HURRICANES
Instrumental rock'n'roll combo of late '50s-60s led by saxophonist Johnny Paris (b John Pocisk, '40, Walbridge OH); incl. Paul Tesluk, organ; Lionel "Butch' Mattice, bass; Tony Kaye, drums; Dave Yorko, guitar. First known as the Orbits; recorded with rockabilly Mack Vickery; to Detroit backing hopeful singers but local enterpreneurs Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik (later Del Shannon's manager) signed band instead. First disc "Crossfire' for managers' Twirl label was reverb-laden dance number which seemed exciting at the time, written by pianist T.J. Fowler; leased to Warwick it reached no. 23 USA '59. Drummer Don Staczek replaced Kaye for "Red River Rock', an adaptation of trad. "Red River Valley' (no. 5 USA, 3 UK); it was Tesluk's rinky- dink Hammond organ rather than Paris's rasping, imitation R&B sax that made it distinctive. Formula of rocking old tunes accounted for most of the nine chart entries '59-61 in USA, except for another Fowler original "Rockin' Goose', on which Paris honked. "Beatnik Fly' was Burl Ives' "Blue Tail Fly', "Revival' was "When The Saints Go Marching In', "Reveille' was the army bugle call, etc. Micahnik and Balk handled leasing arrangements and claimed composer credit for out-of-copyright material (as Ira Mack and Tom King). Band split late '61 due to tour fatigue, alleged dissatisfaction with management; hits had dried up anyway. Paris went to Europe, settled in Hamburg; played in Beatle era there, later made Live At The Star Club '65 for his own Atila label, toured with new Hurricanes '70s, into '80s.