Saturday, December 20, 2014

from page 59 of Greg Haynes' THE HEEEY BABY DAYS OF BEACH MUSIC~
REMEMBRANCE: Memories of a Roadie by Rodger Johnson

My musical career started by listening to rock-and-roll music by Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis in the 1950s, and I began to want to be a part of the music scene. I was in school with Dean Daughtry, a musician who could play the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. This impressed me very much. Dean and I became best of friends and played together in bands around Kinston, Alabama. I played drums, while Dean played piano. Once we won first place in district, and fifth place in a state contest.

I met Roy Orbison in 1962 and became a fan of his right away. Later on, I met Roy Orbison's band, the Candymen, when they came to a club in Dothan, Alabama, where we were playing. I wanted to travel and be a part of what they were doing. Mike Martin, Roy Orbison's road manager, was being drafted into the service. I met with Roy and his band and asked for Mike's job. Later, John Rainey Adkins, who was leader of the band, called me and told me that if I wanted the job to come to Auburn, Alabama, where they were doing a concert in early 1965.

At Auburn, I met with Roy and his father, O.L., and the band. I wanted to know when I could start. Roy said, "Tonight." I told him that I did not bring the things I would need on the road. Roy said,"Rodger, there is nothing you will need that you can't get here on the road."

I started that night. After the show in Auburn, we all loaded up in Roy's Dodge motor home and drove to Houston, Texas, for a show the next night, then to Dallas, Dayton, Ohio, Miami, and on, and on to the next city doing shows.

This was a dream come true, working with Roy and his band, the Candymen. In three years, I worked in all 50 states and all provinces of Canada. While working with Roy, "OH, PRETTY WOMAN" was No. 1 all over America and around the world. I was road manager for the top bill on all shows we did. My job was to take care of all the needs on the road for Roy Orbison and the Candymen.

We did shows with all the top acts of rock-and-roll - the Beatles, Neil Diamond, Billy Joe Royal, the Newbeats, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others.

When the keyboard player for the Candymen, Bobby Peterson, was drafted, me and some members of he band who knew of Dean's talent went to bat to try to get my friend Dean Daughtry the job as a member of the band.

It was a dream to be working with Dean as a lifelong friend and touring the country with the greatest act of the time. We were just kids from Kinston, Alabama. WHAT A LIFE!

Roy Orbison was the nicest, kindest, and gentlest person there has ever been to work with and for. Thanks for the many years of memories. I hope that what we did and the music we gave had a happy effect on your life.