Johnny Blitz

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Johnny Blitz
Birth name John Madansky
Origin Cleveland, Ohio
Genres Proto-punk, punk
Instruments Drums
Associated acts Rocket From The Tombs, The Dead Boys, Slaughterhouse, The Tribe, Raw Dog, The Highschool Hookers, Smash the Hammer

John Madansky, known as Johnny Blitz,[1] is a punk rock drummer from Cleveland, Ohio, best known as being a member of the bands The Dead Boys and Rocket From The Tombs.[2] With the Dead Boys he helped pioneer the punk rock sound, look and attitude of the mid to late 1970s.

He is not to be confused with Bryan Adams 1983-84 tour keyboarder Johnny 'Blitz' Hannah.

Early career[edit]

Johnny Blitz met Cheetah Chrome though a classified ad, and together went on to play small gigs in short-lived bands.[3] In early 1975, Blitz and Chrome were recruited to Rocket From the Tombs. The band broke up within the year. After the break up, Blitz and Chrome teamed up with singer Stiv Bators, rhythm guitarist Jimmy Zero, and bassist Jeff Magnum to form a band called Frankenstein. Eventually, the band renamed themselves Dead Boys and recruited James Sliman to be their manager.

A Boston Globe retrospective described a Dead Boys concert with Blitz on drums:

"The first time I saw Stiv Bators and his band, the Dead Boys, was at the Rat in 1976, with about 50 other people. At one point, the bare-chested Bators stuck his head inside the kick drum as drummer Johnny Blitz played. Bators followed by jumping to his feet and slashing his chest with a broken bottle."

Jim Sullivan, The Boston Globe (Boston, MA), June 7, 1990 [4]

During his time with the Dead Boys, Blitz and a group of friends were in New York's Lower East Side when they became involved in an altercation with a separate group. During the altercation, Blitz was stabbed 17 times. The injury caused him to be hospitalized for months.

Subsequent career[edit]

After leaving the Dead Boys and New York City in 1980, Johny Blitz moved to Toronto with his wife "B Girl" Lucasta Ross. He joined up with singer/guitarist/songwriter Leo DeLyon (né Leonard Nieberg) and bassist Tommy "Gun" Keating from power punk trio The Blitz (unrelated to Johnny's stage name). Blitz and DeLyon later formed a band called Slaughterhouse with Mark Crosley on bass. The band played Toronto's top clubs and concert venues with a large fan following that guaranteed a packed audience at every gig. Slaughterhouse and Cheetah Chrome's band, Cheetah Chrome and Skells, headlined on Saturday, August 6, 1983 at New York City's CBGB. Dead Boys bassist Jeff Magnum came to the show to see his old bandmates. Later that night, Magnum joined Chrome and Blitz on-stage to play some Dead Boys song's for the show's encore.

After Blitz and wife Lucasta Ross split, he remarried and fathered three boys. Blitz and DeLyon went on to form The Tribe with keyboard player Polly Gruen and bassist Tommy "Gun" Keating. Together, The Tribe recorded originals that were a little more mainstream. After taking a few years off to focus on family, Blitz, DeLyon, and Keating regrouped back to their power punk three-piece hardcore roots to form Raw Dog. Over their twenty-five years together as band mates, the group co-wrote and arranged all original material. They recorded a number of unreleased songs at Comfort Sound and Metalworks studios. These songs included "In From the Cold", "I Like Girls", "Television Religion", "Call of the Wild", "Anxiety", "Kill 'Em All", and many more.

Blitz returned to Cleveland for the Dead Boys reunion gig in 2004 at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom. The reunion included a question-and-answer session at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The reunited Dead Boys also performed at CBGB in 2005. Blitz and DeLyon went their separate ways in 2007. Between 2007 and 2011, Blitz continued as a drummer in a number of rock outfits including The Highschool Hookers (2007-2008). Johnny Blitz still actively plays, writes, and arranges with his band Smash the Hammer.


  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. The Great Rock Discography, 7th Edition. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2004. 1159.
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. The Great Indie Discography, 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2003. 82.
  3. ^
  4. ^

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