Written by Adam Troy (Sonic X)
“My Rock and Roll Journey” started in New Jersey somewhere in the late ‘70s at Resorts International Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
Growing up in the ‘70s in the Bronx, my mother always had music playing in our home. It wasn’t always the music I liked, but it was music, and it was a huge part of our lives. While my mother enjoyed the smooth stylings of R&B, jazz, disco and contemporary pop, I was a rocker.
KISS was the first rock band that I obsessed over. Because they were such an important part of my perception of what music was, I thought that there wasn’t any music outside of rock. That all changed one night in Atlantic City.
My mother had gotten tickets to a concert at Resorts International. She told me that I would be joining her at the concert (along with my aunt Valerie). Needless to say, I wasn’t amused (or interested) because it was not KISS. Little did I know that my life was forever going to change that night, and set me on the path I continue to travel today.
Upon arrival at the venue, I looked up at the marquee that read, in bold letters, “Teddy Pendergrass.” SERIOUSLY…not KISS?! I began to protest, to no avail. I protested as we were being escorted to our seats in the front row (my grandfather was a big shot at Resorts International). Just as we were seated, the lights went down, and everyone in the audience (including my very cool mom and me) began to LOSE our minds. The curtain dropped; the band fired up; the lights and sound immediately began to seduce my young senses. As the audience worked itself into a frenzy, I thought to myself…“WTF IS GOING ON?!” My mind was blown!
What I saw, heard and felt when Teddy Pendergrass took to the stage that night was something that I carry with me to this day. His white suit, sunglasses and gold chains were the very essence of rock and roll. As a singer today, I have come to understand the undeniable air that Pendergrass had about him, but my young mind didn’t quite know how to process what I was seeing (other than to get caught up in it). For two straight hours, Pendergrass captured everyone’s attention (including mine) with the way that he sang, carried himself and interacted with the audience. He was SO COOL!
His voice was smooth when it was required, stronger and raspy when he got worked up. I found myself transfixed. Pendergrass owned the audience, and I remember thinking at the tender age of 11 years old…..
“I WANT TO BE THAT GUY!”
“I WANT TO DO WHAT HE DOES!”
“I WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR!”
I didn’t know it at the time, but Teddy Pendergrass, an artist who was not part of a rock band, would set me on “My Rock and Roll Journey.”
Hang with me in the coming weeks and months as the chapters of “My Rock and Roll Journey” unfold, and I walk you through the highs and lows of my music and experiences.