'Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's'
'Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's' ' during the past 10 years, has performed their brand of zany nostalgia and fast-paced medleys for millions of people in the U.S. Their national TY. appearances such as 'Real People', 'P.M. Magazine, 'PBS Birthday Show, 'Atlanta Superstation w/Bill Tush', and the' Bob Hope Telethon" have reached countries all over the world.
'Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's' has performed with such notables as Dick Clark, Wolfman Jack, James Brown, The Pointer Sisters, Statler Bros., Dotty West, Peaches and Herb, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ricky Nelson, John Lee Hooker, The Diamonds, Danny and the Juniors, Roy Head, Wyatt Earp (Hugh O'Brien), and believe it or not, Marlon Perkins of T.V's 'Wild Kingdom'.
'Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's' has performed alongside Shirley Jones, Lisa Hartman, Bob Hope, and Kathryn Crosby, for functions and T.V. Shows benefitting The Epilesy Foundation, United Way, MD, MS, West Texas Rehab Center, Houston Ballet, Zachary Scott Theater, Stehlim Cancer Foundation,. 1979 Pepsi Challenge w/Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, Texas Respiratory Therapy, and The Endangered Wildlife Fund Raiser.
'Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's' perform arrangements from such greats as Glenn Miller, The Beach Boys, Diana Ross, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Platters, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, The Beatles and their own original songs. The group has an uncanny ability to delight any and every audience for which they perform. JD and the Rocket 88's have two LP's and five singles under their belt, with more on the drawing board.
'Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's' have been celebrated by many publications: Esquire Magazine, Atlanta Journal, New York Times, Houston Post, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Austin AmericanStatesman, Daily Texan, and Singles Magazine. 'JD and the 88's' remind me of Sid Caesar's version of rock and roll in the '50's - The Haircuts. They offer the humor for those who've always suspected rock and roll was pretty funny . . . and for those who didn't, their music is serious and true to it's firm." Dallas Morning News
'Isn't it time you made a date with an 88.'
Donna Menthol is an extraordinary singer with a rich mezzo-soprano voice and a sophisticated style of delivery. The Herald describes Donna Menthol as "a powerful singer who has many theories about the voice and its relationship to the inner soul." A veteran jazz and rhythm and blues singer, Donna was introduced to music by her mother and brother and has been singing and performing for enthusiastic audiences since she was seven. Donna has performed from her home town of New York, to the west coast and throughout the southwest.
Classically trained, Donna is a versatile performer who "makes things happen" on stage. Her vocal range glides gracefully through the upper registers of "Angel Eyes," and growls through the funky "Chuck E's In Love." Her stage appearance is compared with Barbara Streisand and Chaka Kahn, but Donna has a unique quality that is all her own; once heard, it will never be mistaken or forgotten. John Scarborough, Jazz Gitic for the Houston Chronicle, has said that Donna Menthol "...is the best vocalist to hit Houston since Roseanna Vitro. " In the Austin American Statesman, she was referred to as "Cool Menthol. " The Statesman also reports that "while many jazz singers have spent their time in the small club scene, Donna has taken the high road and her music reflects it. Donna is the consummate cabaret performer, always stylish and professional, and musically interesting. " Her act includes everything from torch ballads to up-tempo funk, all done with immaculate taste. A devoted fan wrote, "She is the Bette Midler of the 90's! Her singing blends strength with gentle muses, all of which comes from a massively caring heart!"
Donna's recording experiences include radio and television jingles for advertising companies, video tapes for public television, and original compositions for other artists. She has also been featured on several occasions on KUT's "Face the Music" radio show.
Donna's performances include many fund-raisers and gala openings for such renowned artists as The Lettermen and Dionne Warwick. Her repertoire includes four decades of jazz, Latin, samba, blues, ballads, and the best in contemporary, popular and funk music. She maintains a busy teaching schedule in addition to live performance, offering dynamic vocal workshops and private coaching to singers.
Wow. I saw the group, saw they were from Texas, and was curious
about it, as I don't get to hear much Texas a cappella. All I have to say
is that if these guys don't at least make a rim at doing a cappella professionally,
it will be an incredible loss to the a cappella community. What struck me
first is their innovation. Vocal and body percussion is nothing new in a cappella,
but the way they integrated it was like nothing I ever heard. They said in
their liner notes that the musical group Stomp! was one of their influences,
and it shows. The whole group uses vocal percussion, chest slaps, foot stomps,
anything that gets their sound across. And it presents a wide and varied mixture
of sounds to work from, deeply heightening their experience. Their song selections
work very well for them. Their tightest stuff were the two Bobby McFerrin
numbers ... incredibly put together. I wonder out loud where they got their
version of In Your Eyes, which has an extended intro before it goes into the
song most people know. They also seem to be movie buffs ... most songs that
aren't covers of a cappella sources come from movies... In Your Eyes from
Say Anything, When Doves Cry from Purple Rain, BOTH Day-O and Jump in the
Line from Beetlejuice, and You Can Leave Your Hat On from both 9 1/2 Weeks
and The Full Monty. BUY THIS. The liner notes say they all go to U. of Texas
at Austin, but their sound and production value shows they have a potential
future professionally. Well worth the money.
- Review by Shawn Pearce from the Recorded A Cappella Review Board
"SCHRODINGER'S CAT - The contemporary/urban/hip hop/soul
group that has it all goin'on .... a little bit sexy, a little bit nasty,
and a lot hip. An emphasis on vocal percussion (ahern... that's *body* percussion
- J.P.) drives the arrangements, and the group recognizes Bobby McFerrin as
a primary inspiration, covering two McFerrin originals: "All I Want"
and "Yes, You." "In Your Eyes" has an extended intro vamp
before it breaks into the familiar chorus; "Sexual Healing" bumps
and grinds, a rhythmically complex performance that enhances the vocal, without
overpowering it. "Jump In The Line," with its rapid 2/4 syncopation,
is a reflection of the many facets of the Texan music scene, encompassing
Tejano, Spanish and Latin influences. "Lonesome Road" is a fitting
closing track: delivered almost as a church hymn, the group gradually opens
up the arrangement, accenting the final verse with tasty passing chords and
allowing the melody to soar."
-Review from Primarily A Cappella
"The first thing you'll notice is the percussion - vocal
as well as body slaps, claps, stomps and more. Then you notice the singing,
which is terrific, too. This group does covers that are either true to the
originals, complete with the passion many groups lack in covers, or they create
their own fire with a unique take. Their "Yes, You" is sensual,
"Jump In The Line" will get your hips swaying, and "When Doves
Cry" blazes - wow! "In Your Eyes" is much [more] true to the
worldbeat-esque version Peter Gabriel often does than the straight pop version
many groups cover, and the passion of the song just flows from these guys.
It's not all hard-hitting percussion-oriented tunes, though - the album ends
on a version of "That Lonesome Road" that is smooth and soulful.
This is a group to watch!"
- Review from Mainely A Cappella