Now here’s a story that needs telling.
The problem is that I don’t know what that story is, nor can I find a decent lead on it. Here’s what I know for certain: Jonny Destry & Destiny released what I assume is their only album in 1980 on Millennium Records, which was distributed at that time by RCA. The title cut is a decent enough track that belongs somewhere between early Elvis Costello and Josie Cotton’s “Johnny Are You Queer?” on the new wave continuum. Let’s stick it just to the left of the Ravyns’ “Raised on the Radio,” that great “Brad washes his car” track from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Not bad, right? I mean, it’s not the greatest song ever recorded, but it’s not bad. At the very least it deserved a spin on Car Talk. Bonus cool points: The album includes a cover of Roxy Music’s “Dance Away” from the prior year’s Manifesto album.
But it doesn’t appear that things worked out too well for Jonny Destry & Destiny. One album and out — thanks and have a nice day. That might have had something to do with their label. Millennium was a bit of a weird label — kind of a catch all with no real identity. They had a big hit with Meco’s Moog synthesizer disco interpretation of the music from Star Wars, released an album by John Travolta’s younger brother, Joey, and were home to the Godz back when Millennium was still distributed by Casablanca. There were albums from Don McLean, ’60s holdover Tommy James, and Bruce Cockburn, too.
The label only lasted two years and nine albums after Destry, so I’ll take another wild guess here and say that they probably didn’t have the capital to promote this record or release another. Whatever money they had likely went toward promoting Franke and the Knockouts, who were the biggest act on the Millennium roster in its waning years.
And so Jonny Destry & Destiny’s destiny was the dollar bin and the charity shop. Drummer Ron Krasinski put together a pretty nice little career as a session man, provided he’s this Ron Krasinski. Bassist Paul Kamp might be a biofuel executive who moonlights as a guitarist in a Led Zeppelin tribute band. Guitarist Keith Steam? No idea. That’s probably a stage name, and the intergooglewebtubes isn’t giving up any Keith Steam secrets.
Destry seems to still be kicking around Southern California as a cross between a prop comic and a lounge act. His resume lists an impressive number of songs along with “better than average jokes.” Here’s a taste of his act:
So yeah, there’s a story here, and I want to know it. Jon Destry, Ron Krasinski, Paul Kamp, Keith Steam — get in touch.
Categories: From the Stacks