The Kids

(established 2006; last updated 7/10/16)

 
Johnny was a member of The Kids from late 1980 until their breakup in the summer of 1984.  He and his bandmates have reunited a number of times, most recently in 2008.
     The Kids is the main band that Johnny belonged to in the early 80's.  It is the one that moved from South Florida to LA in search of fame and fortune.

     The Kids started out as The Kydz, in mid 1978, as can be seen in this article saved by early member Gio Ardizzola:

rag mag

     An early lineup consisted of:
  • Bruce Witkin - bass, keyboards and lead vocals
  • Bill "Beano" Hanti - drums
  • Mitch Brownstein (aka Perry) - keyboards, guitar and some lead vocals
  • Gio (George) Ardizzola - lead guitar and some lead vocals
     Mitch Perry reminisces briefly about the early days of The Kids (before Johnny joined) in a 1986 Guitar Magazine article (left) and an undated Metal Mania article (right):

perry article   metal mania

    
Later incarnations of the band included guitarists (in rough chronological order) Marco Cocchiaro (who replaced Mitch), Joey Malone (who remained with the band for the duration), Cosmo, and George Mazzola, and keyboard player Larry Dermer.  Cocchiaro, Cosmo, Mazzola, and Dermer were no longer in the band by the time Johnny joined.  Here are a couple of early Kids mementos that pre-date Johnny's involvement:

marco 1   kids vinyl 1980   agora
(photo 1: early lineup of The Kids (l-r: Gio (George) Ardizolla, Beano Hanti, Bruce Witkin, Marco Cocchiaro (thanks to Marco and his dad);
photo 2: live recording from The Agora, July 27, 1980; photo 3: 1980 Agora ad showing The Kids playing August 27-30)



updated    By 1980, the Kids were an established band, making a big name for themselves in the South Florida music scene.  Johnny's ambition was to become a member.  In a radio interview with Steve Jones on Jonesy's Jukebox on June 27, 2016, Johnny divulged that after auditioning for The Kids, he became their lighting guy "for about a week." As he explained, this gave him a chance to learn the songs, after which he joined as lead guitarist in late 1980.  The lineup at this time was the most stable and successful incarnation of the band:
  • Bruce Witkin - bass and lead vocals
  • Johnny Depp - lead guitar
  • Joey Malone - guitar and background vocals
  • Bill "Beano" Hanti - drums
button   treehouse   treehouse2
   

       In various interviews, Johnny has recalled his very first Kids show being on the road in Atlanta, opening for Chuck Berry.  They opened for such major national acts as Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Pat Benatar, Iggy Pop, The B-52s, The Ramones, The Romantics, Modern English, and A Flock Of Seagulls.  They frequently played in venues such as The Treehouse, The Agora, Gusman Hall, and the Sunrise Musical Theatre.  In a 2007 radio interview promoting the Sheila Witkin Memorial Concert, they also mentioned having played at Summers On The Beach, Rock Cassino, The Candy Store, Sportatorium, The Playpen, and The Button South; the Rock And A Hard Place trailer features a brief radio ad for The Kids playing at the Level III in Miami.   Their sound was a new wave/pop blend, which Johnny has variously described as "somewhere between The Clash and U2"  or "U2 mixed with The Sex Pistols".

     Here is an interview that The Kids gave to Dana Elder of The Scarlet Bugle in late 1981 shortly after Johnny joined (though probably more than the 4 months that Beano estimated, based on the timing of other events).

kids interview 1   kids interview 2

     Johnny mentions The Kids in the January 24, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone:

Rolling Stone Kids

   The band recorded at least 5 demos.  Mention is made in an October 1981 issue of the Scarlet Bugle of recording sessions at Criteria Recording Studio:
 
criteria
which may have resulted in these recordings:
  • Tell Me What You Want 
  • Maybe Someday
  • Time To Explain 
  • Backstage Girl
  • I Wanna Be Me
kids jcard
Tell Me What You Want on YouTube (audio)
Time To Explain on YouTube (audio)
 


     I Wanna Be Me b/w Time To Explain was released on Aria records as a 7 inch single. Both songs were written by Bruce Witkin:
 
kids7in

     
I Don't Care and Time Is The Key were performed live on 10/17/81 and released on the K-102 Homegrown Rock Festival album:
homegrown front homegrown back

     Johnny is said to have written the following Kids songs, according to Randi Reisfeld's 1989 biography:
  • Everything I Need
  • Nothin' For Nothin'
  • Backdoor Girl [sic]
     (Note: A song titled Backstage Girl, which became a Kids live staple, was written by George Mazzola.  Either Reisfeld is wrong about both the song title and authorship of this song, or Backdoor Girl is a separate song.  Any information, corrections, or additions would be appreciated!)



     Johnny and Bruce did a little bit of modeling for the Ft. Lauderdale music magazine, the Scarlet Bugle, in 1981.  In particular, they would model clothes for the boutique Tres Chic, often along with store owner GiGi Fredy.  Here are some cool photo spreads from July, August, and October of 1981.  Thanks to Scarlet Bugle publisher Lauri Sims-Alaimo!
July 1981
1981 07 model1   July 1981 model 2

August 1981

aug model 6 
 Aug model 1   aug model 4   aug model 3   aug model 2   aug model 5

October 1981

bugle1   bugle2   bugle3   bugle4   bugle5   bugle6   bugle7



     On Dec. 1, 1983, the band moved to LA on the advice of promoter Don Ray, and had some modest success under the name Six Gun Method.  But competition was fierce, and between Johnny's  first acting role in A Nightmare On Elm Street, and other band members leaving LA, the band split up by July of 1984.  

     In May of 1985, possibly while Johnny was filming Private Resort  in  Florida, The Kids got together for a reunion show at the Button South in Hallandale.  Jimmy Gambone replaced Joey Malone on guitar for the show.
     Also in 1985, the song Time To Explain was included in the movie The Legend Of Billie Jean. This film was difficult to find for a long time but was finally released on Blu-ray in July of 2014.  The song plays on a car radio for about 15 seconds, about 13 minutes into the movie.  Here are screen captures from the scene in which it's included, and also the closing credits mention from the movie, as well as the Blu-ray package (click to enlarge):


legend 1   legend 2   credits   bj blu-ray

     Another Kids song, The Man That Knows Too Much, was used for a 1986 TV movie, The Brotherhood Of Justice (thanks Laurel).  Again, the song is played on a car radio at about the 5:15 point of the movie, and can be heard for about a half minute.  In this case, neither the opening nor closing credits include music credits (or The Kids).  This film is also hard to find on DVD but can be streamed at Amazon.com.

boj 1   boj 2   boj 3

     The Kids reunited in 1996, during Donnie Brasco filming in South Florida, and again in 2002, in LA.



     On January 28, 2007, Bruce, Joey, Beano and Johnny reunited once again for a special performance at the Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert in Pompano Beach, Florida.  
Sheila Witkin was a manager and driving force behind a number of the major bands that were playing in South Florida in the 70's and 80's.  Sheila passed away in 2006, and this concert was in tribute to her and also to raise money for charitable causes near and dear to Sheila's heart.  A young local band called Blank Tape began the proceedings, performing a great set, joined by Bruce Witkin's daughter Veronica.  After amazing sets by Charlie Pickett, Critical Mass, Z-Cars, Slyder, and Tight Squeeze (The Cichlids unfortunately had to bow out), as well as a special performance by Tomey Sellars and a video montage, The Kids took the stage and played a 2 hour set of both original songs and cover tunes.  Toward the end of the set they were joined by The Romantics and members of the other bands.  The highly successful event raised over $30,000 for the Dan Marino Foundation and the Sheila Witkin Foundation.  See the Photo Gallery for stage photos from the show.
     The show and the South Florida music scene on which it was based was the subject of a feature documentary called Rock And A Hard Place: Another Night At The Agora. The film had its World Premiere on April 12, 2008 at the Palm Beach International Film Festival and also screened in August in conjunction with the Ft. Lauderdale Int'l Film Fest.  Unfortunately, the film was never released in theaters or on DVD, and the official website is no longer online.  Check 
the Johnny Depp Rocks! Documentaries page in case of any updates.

YouTubes from the show:
Feb. 22, 2007 Rolling Stone
rs random notes
2007 misc. clipping
misc sw clipping
2007 Romanian article
romanian sw
Some scans from the 2007 show (click to enlarge)     

setlist1
Kids
setlist 1
setlist2Kids
setlist
cantbelieve
Can't Believe
lyrics
precious1
Precious Lyrics 1
precious2
Precious
Lyrics 2

prog0
Program
Cover
prog4
Program
Back
ticket

Ticket
kids1
Program:
Kids p. 1
kids2
Program:
Kids p. 2


More Information on the charities associated with the show:
     On August 22, 2008, Johnny, Joey, Bruce and Beano were interviewed on the Paul and Young Ron Morning Show on Miami's Big 105.9 FM radio station to promote a pair of shows for the Second Annual Sheila Witkin Memorial Concert on August 29 and 30, 2008.  The Kids headlined both nights.

Aug. 29 ticket   Aug 30 ticket

August 29 band lineup: Blank Tape, Charlie Pickett, Slyder, Tight Squeeze, The Romantics, and The Kids.  
The Kids' setlist (revised with many thanks to Natalie and the Johnny Depp Zone):  Make Up Your Mind / Time To Explain / You Only Wanna Be With Me / Can't Believe / Dungeon Of Love / Lonely / Nothing's For Nothing / Single Vision / Babe / The Man That Knows Too Much / Don’t Wait Up For Me / Precious / Be My Baby / (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding / Mystery Dance / Pipeline~Brand New Cadillac (featuring Vee Witkin) // "Sheila" (sung to the tune of Gloria; this song was a jam with all the other musicians on stage) )
(If anyone happened to snag the written setlist and could scan a copy for this site, it would be much appreciated!)
 
August 30 band lineup: The Combination (featuring members of Screaming Sneakers, Tar And The Nicoteens, and Roll-N-Pinz), Mad As Birds (featuring Debbie and Susan from The Cichlids), Critical Mass, The Reactions, Z-Cars, My Dolls (featuring Vee Witkin), and The Kids.  
The Kids' setlist (revised with many thanks to Natalie and the Zone):  Make Up Your Mind / Time To Explain / You Only Wanna Be With Me / Can't Believe / Lonely / Precious (may have been skipped) / Be My Baby / Got The Time / Single Vision / Don't Wait Up For Me / Dungeon of Love / Babe / From A Whisper To A Scream // encores with all the other musicians on stage: C'mon Everybody / "Sheila" (sung to the tune of Gloria) / Dizzy Miss Lizzy / Long Tall Sally (the last song was performed after Johnny had left the stage)
(If anyone happened to snag the written setlist and could scan a copy for this site, it would be much appreciated!)

     The concerts paid tribute to Sheila Witkin, as well as South Florida musicians Bruno Martinez and George Mazzola, who passed away recently.  George Mazzola was once a member of The Kids.  Some excellent memorabilia was auctioned off, including signed guitars and football jerseys, with proceeds going to the Dan Marino Foundation.

Some great articles and mentions of the 2008 shows:
October 2, 2008 Rolling Stone
 
rolling stone
November 2008 Spin
 
spin 1  spin 2
November 30, 2009 People
(Sexiest Man Alive issue)
People


Some scans from the 2008 Program:
program front
Program
Cover
program 2About
the Show
about sheila
About Sheila

word from Bruce
A word
from Bruce
The Kids
The Kids

2007 p.1
Mel T
p. 1
Mel T. p. 2
Mel T
p. 2
Mel T p. 3
Mel T
p. 3

rock hard place
Rock & A
Hard Place
program back
Program
Back

Bruno Martinez
Bruno
Martinez
In
Memory
Of

George Mazzola
George
Mazzola
 




     In about 2007 (or more probably late 2008/early 2009), Bruce Witkin and Joey Malone recorded a demo of a newly written song, God's Laughing.  Rumor had it that Johnny also laid down a guitar track, but this has not been confirmed.  You can listen to God's Laughing on Mike Evans Radio on Soundcloud.   This demo raises the possibility that The Kids are still open to the possibility of releasing more songs together someday.  Who knows if it will ever come to pass, but if it ever does, I'll be first in line!
     Meanwhile, The Kids did have one slight mini-reunion moment when all four Kids appeared on Chuck E. Weiss' song Boston Blackie.  Johnny and Beano played drums, Johnny played guitar, Bruce played bass, and Joey, Beano, Bruce and Johnny all contributed background vocals (along with Jack Depp and Starling Jenkins).  The song was released on Chuck's Red Beans And Weiss album on April 15, 2014.

RBAW boston blackie



Kidsography

     The following songs are known or thought to be part of The Kids' repertoire.  This is a work in progress and certainly not meant to be a comprehensive listing!  Any additions or corrections would be greatly appreciated!  

Originals:  
     These are songs that are known or thought to be Kids originals.  The list is taken from known or reported setlists, known demos, and anecdotes.  Some titles may be incorrect or incomplete.  The songs Time To Explain, Tell Me What You Want, The Man That Knows Too Much, and I Wanna Be Me have definitive songwriter credits to Bruce Witkin (the first three are in the US Copyright records and the last has the songwriter credit on the 7" single.
See the Johnny Depp Rocks! Bruce Witkin page for more info).  The songs Everything I Need, Nothin' For Nothin' [sic], Backdoor Girl [sic] are claimed in Randi Reisfeld's 1989 biography to be penned by Johnny Depp.  With these exceptions, there are currently no composer credits for most of these songs.  If any are discovered to be covers, the information will be corrected.
  • Babe
  • Backstage Girl  (aka Backdoor Girl [sic]??)
  • Can't Believe
  • Dungeon of Love
  • Everything I Need
  • God's Laughing
  • Gonna Love Ya
  • Good Times
  • I Can't Take You
  • I Don't Care
  • I Got You
  • I Wanna Be Me
  • I'll Forget You
  • Lonely
  • Maybe Someday (You’ll Come Back To Me)
  • Make Up Your Mind
  • My Time Has Come
  • Nothing's For Nothing
  • One Track Mind
  • Runaway
  • Say No More
  • Single Vision
  • Tell Me What You Want
  • The Man That Knows Too Much
  • Time Is The Key
  • Time To Explain
  • You Only Wanna Be With Me
Covers:
     These are covers that have been performed by The Kids, either back in the day or at the 2007-2008 Sheila Witkin benefits (or both!)  In parentheses are the musicians or bands that popularized the song (not necessarily the composer).
  • Be My Baby (The Ronettes)
  • Brand New Cadillac (The Clash)
  • C’mon Everybody  (Eddie Cochran)
  • Dizzy Miss Lizzy (The Beatles et al.)
  • Don't Wait Up For Me (The Beat)
  • From A Whisper To A Scream (Elvis Costello)
  • Glad All Over (The Dave Clark Five)
  • Gloria (modified to Sheila) (Them/Van Morrison)
  • Got The Time (Joe Jackson)
  • I Want You Back (Jackson 5)
  • I Will Follow (U2)
  • I’m The Man (Joe Jackson)
  • Long Tall Sally (Little Richard)
  • Money (That’s What I Want) (The Beatles et al.)
  • Mystery Dance (Elvis Costello)
  • No Matter What (Badfinger)
  • Pipeline (The Ventures et al.)
  • Precious (The Pretenders)
  • Radio, Radio (Elvis Costello)
  • Train In Vain (The Clash)
  • What I Like About You (The Romantics)
  • (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding (Nick Lowe, also Elvis Costello)



In 1989, 16 Magazine reporter Randi Reisfeld wrote an early biography of Johnny that included a history of The Kids
(thanks to Maggy!)

RR00  RR1  RR2  RR3  RR4  RR5

RR6  RR7  RR8  RR9  RR10  RR11

Here are some great vintage teen magazine articles about The Kids...
...And some other article excerpts describing The Kids
Here was a quiz question from the November 1988 Bop teen magazine:

1988 11 Bop quiz

In the 2013 "All About Johnny Depp: A to Z" People magazine article that ran in honor of Johnny's 50th Birthday, "K is for The Kids"

k is for kids




Six Gun Method

After moving to LA, The Kids changed their name to Six Gun Method.  

     However, they didn't stay together for very long after the move!
     To date, I have found citations for only two live gigs, both in March of 1984, in which the band was billed as Six Gun Method.  (Thanks to Mike from janesaddiction.org)  

6gunad   sasch

Johnny recalls the band opening for Billy Idol, The BusBoys, and The Romantics after the move to LA.  These shows would've had to have taken place in the first half or so of 1984.  Please contact me if you have any information, newspaper articles, flyers, or photos from this period!



Here are some other related sites:

Don't forget to check out these sections of Johnny Depp Rocks!
 


Have any corrections or additions?  Please e-mail at info@johnnydepprocks.com Photos would be especially appreciated!




Bands

home