the Panicks

Peninsula, 1965-8

The Panicks were born from the remnants of a country band called West Virginia Dude and the Mountain Dewers. Guitarists Bill Sobecki and Roger Everett had learned their trade from studying Cleveland legends like Tom King, Ritchie and the Fortunes, and Glenn Schwartz playing at the Dove lounge. Together with a singer - the Dude - and accordian player, the short lived Mountain Dewers were not quite meeting musical aspiritions. When the accordian player was killed in a truck accident, the group changed to rock-n-roll and became the Panics - in a Panic, as it were. A nightclub in Peninsula asked they to play a rock-n-roll set, but they needed a drummer. The band members tried some untrained bangin' and Roger Everett showed the most natural ability - so he moved to drums. Bob Dent (from Peninsula) joined on lead guitar and Bill Sobecki took on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Bob recruited his schoolmate Jim Pierce and the Panics were ready to rock. A stand up singer, Teddy G was added as well. Ted had been singing back to the vocal group era and provided a strong soulful style in the manner of James Brown. They acquired a manager, Don Fieldman, who had a contact with Ernie Malick at Akron Recording. They recorded two of Bill's originals, "Work" and "Treat Me Right". The band was a little loud for the studio so Don kept trying to tone down the sound - to the group's displeasure. When the 45 was released on ARC's house Dupree label, Don Fieldman had taken credit for the songs. Somehow they got wind of a band from the East Coast that had released an LP on Philips, so they stuck a 'k' on to their name and stickered over most of the 45s. The 45 got a little action, a few spins on WAKR, but was a disappointment to the band. Around this time (late '65/early '66) the group got serious and worked their way into the nightclub scene. The Panicks action plan was to get engagements at major showcase clubs like Salems in Akron, the 5th Quarter in Kent, and Boston Mills Ski lodge. The group often played six nights a week, eventually travelling to western PA and NE Indiana for gigs. The Panicks worked hard, often taping a nights' performance for review like a pro sports team. Sadly, these tapes were usually recorded over for the next show. One live tape from the 5th Quarter was carefully preserved by Bill Sobecki - until a cat got to it! The group added a short lived keyboard player named Katie Hendricks (not sure of the name). It was Katie who helped the group write down music charts and assisted in the recording of their second 45. The Panicks wore matching costumes, sometimes tailored suits and another look with Mod-styled ruffled shirts. When the Panicks played Salems, they were co-billed with "1000 lbs of Go-Go" which turned out to be several rather overweight women. Another road story came from Newark, OH where the first night of a two-week engagement nearly ended in a riot. The club mananger had stiffed the opening band, so they called up the local union head and soon had a union strongman on the scene. Meanwhile, the Panicks enjoined the crowd with a chant of "No pay, No Play"...until they did, and they did. The Panicks 2nd 45 "You're My Baby"/"Lots of Pretty Girls" was recorded at Cleveland Recording. The groups' current manager (replacing Fieldman) paid for the session and they appropriated the Dupree name, although there was no Akron Recording connection. The 45, while two covers, shows the group's tough, tight sound to better advantage than their debut. One of the Panicks' mainstays was the club at Boston Mills, an Alpine ski area between Cleveland and Akron. Boston Mills featured a 12 foot high stage with a huge drum riser. While playing at Boston Mills, they got a call from the 5th Quarter for a long engagement. At first they refused, out of loyalty to BM, but they ended up at the 5th Quarter and packed the house on Friday and Saturday, featuring their obscene treatment of "Louie Louie". At the peak of their game, the Panicks run was severly derailed when Bob Dent was drafted. Joe Walsh was alledged to have filled in and rumored to have played an overdubbed lead on the "You're My Baby" 45, but this has not been 'officially' confirmed. Shortly after, Roger Everett quit to persue a serious girlfriend. A couple guitarists were tried and a new drummer was found, but the chemistry was gone. The group broke up in early '68 - the situation hastened when most of the bands' equipment was stolen. Several fans pitched in to buy Bill Sobecki a new Vox 12 string guitar, but the Panick was over. The band members all went their separate ways. Bill Sobecki has played in country bands off and on over the years.