Friday, October 24, 2008



Our first show as The Dangers was about two weeks into our existence. It was a fly by the seat of your pants club that would only be open for another month, but to the band, it was the big time. There was a five-foot tall sheet of bulletin board paper proclaiming The Dangers! The Reactors! And Friends! We soon learned that And Friends meant there were only two bands likely to show up.

But there were plenty of folks there for a punk place in San Berdoo! The Reactors were a great hardcore band with a bass player who looked like a Mexican George Harrison, a tough punk girl singing named Dash and a very intense guitar player named Tony Bramel, who would later write many Dangers songs with Chris. The Dangers went on and Bob was very drunk. On the first song, he fell off the right hand side of the stage knocking over the PA, which crashed on to the head of a happy dancing girl with a chain in her nose. She got back up and so did Bob and the set continued. The same girl fell again when Chris hopped off the stage on Costello’s Mystery Dance, clipping her pretty good, but she was the hearty type. What a sport! A great start! Show biz!

We played all our covers real fast, twice as fast as they should be. Chris sang The Police “Message in a Bottle” and looked at Johnny who looked at the list and shrugged. No more songs! So, he threw in “Take Her Away,” the earnest pop tune. The audience whooped it up and was just as happy. We went to Johnny’s “Older Women’s Boy.” Big applause. So, onto another Chris song, “ The Girl is Alright.” Midway through the song, Johnny and Chris exchanged a raised eyebrow look, and nod. If our songs went over as well as the covers, if the audience liked this new stuff so much, we could never be a cover band again. So be it! We did end that night with a cover song to fill in the last 20 minutes of the set... The Modern Lovers “Roadrunner.” Chris ran around the stage, made fun of the band, especially Johnny’s perfect hair, and rolled on the floor, like he was having an attack. This was the best night of our lives. We gathered at Denny’s and reveled in our new future. It was like popping out of a music box never to be pushed back in.

Friday, October 17, 2008



Damn. So many great names sprang from the punk era. It felt like all the best were taken: The Clash, The Jam, The Damned, Christian Bubbly Death! We met the next day to practice again and settle on a name as Randy had found a new club that wanted bands for the next week. We just called out names in the kitchen, bad names like The Livers. There was a litany of bad names from Riverside bands at that time, URBAN SPRAWL, NOSTALGIC SANTA, DIRTY DIRT AND THE DIRTS… We did not want to live in shame! So we felt thrilled with the first choice, The Outsiders, like the novel, Bob reminded. It took two days to figure out that The Outsiders was taken. Chris found The Outsiders single in his 7th shoebox of 45's (“Time Won't Let Me”). A great song so it was quickly was added to the repertory. Johnny sang that, as he did most of the Dangers vocals early on. Still, no band name and a gig in 4 days.

Back at the practice living room, the night before the first gig at MY PLACE OR YOURS in San Bernardino, Bob came up with “The Dangers.” All agreed it was not as powerful as The Clash, but had a poppy ring. It rang true. Hemmingway might pick a simple name like The Dangers. He would never have come up with URBAN SPRAWL, telegraphing the whole story. And maybe we didn’t need a fighting name, just a warning.

This is an early key point about the band. Although emerging from the LA punk wave with grand punks like X leading the way, The Dangers always felt ties first to pop, to melody, and then to the energy beneath. Chris handed around a mix tape interlacing The Buzzcocks’ SINGLES GOING STEADY, and The Beach Boys PET SOUNDS, and early Dangers practices felt channeled through Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album. Beauty and struggle. A sad story wrapped in strong melody. That was our dream. The Dangers never felt compelled to sound tough, and that made them stand out. They were plenty rough around the edges.

In Chris’ kitchen they became we. Facing a huge American flag hung over the stove to cover up hundreds of little nails Chris had hammered like a he-man through paneling and his paper-thin bedroom wall, THE DANGERS toasted the new band.

“Gentlemen,” Randy said, “I give you The Dangers.”

“Long Live The Dangers in the U.S.A” Bob said.

“And this wall,” Johnny chimed in.

Sunday, October 5, 2008



The Dangers started in 1979 when Bob Kjorvestad convinced a childhood friend, Chris LeRoy, to come to a jam session at a meat locker in Grand Terrace. California. On that night Bob on guitar, Chris on guitar played with Randy Abraham on drums. It was eerie, and smelled like a smokehouse but the energy was palpable enough to make two decisions: This band thing was a good idea and neither Bob nor Chris could handle lead guitar.

Bob wrote out a 3x5 ad looking for a guitar player who liked The Clash, Costello, The Beatles, and Tom Petty. He placed it at Liers Music in San Bernardino that next afternoon. Johnny Hickman was living in Redlands and stopped by Liers to check out some guitars, saw the ad and called.

The first meeting/practice was at Chris LeRoy’s railroad car skinny apartment in Loma Linda. Johnny guessed the tall guy was Bob from the gruff phone call and the tall styrofoam of beer he was holding. Chris was much shorter and quiet until they sat down to acoustic guitars. Their first song was The Beatles “ I Should Have Known Better.”

By the end of the afternoon, Chris showed Johnny one of his own compositions, “Take Her Away,” and Johnny revealed his tune, “Other Woman’s Boy. Back to electrics they played these and Costello’s Mystery Dance and Petty’s “American Girl.” It was obvious. It happens with any good band who might get great; the chemistry was pulsing, the harmonies instant and intuitive, all power, all passion. All there and they knew it.

The Dangers in 1979 were:
Johnny Hickman/ Vocals, Lead Guitar
Chris LeRoy/ Farfisa Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Bob Kjorvestad/ Bass, Vocals
Randy Abraham: Drums



THE DANGERS: dedication
This is the story of THE DANGERS, a seminal pop band from Southern California, whose members went on to form Cracker, The BellRays and The Hickman-Dalton Gang. This blog will follow the history of the band up to their present day recording and legendary performances.  Check out THE DANGERS and join the ride...

The Dangers are:
Chris LeRoy: Guitars, keyboards and vocals
Pammy Faragher: Vocals
Mike Geoghegan: Guitars, and vocals
Mac McFuzz: Bass
Ralph Torres: Piano and Organ
Brad Vaughn: Drums

Below is the lyrics to Dedication from the original Dangers SongBook. What neat penmanship!

Johnny Hickman; Guitar and vocals
Bob Vennum: Guitars, bass and vocals
Tim Loughlin: Bass
Lisa Kekaula: Vocals 
Keith Hawkins: Bass
Ian Peterson: Drums
Tony Fate: Guitar and bass
Art Schindele: Drums
Chad Villareal: Drums
Matt Kjorvestad: Drums
Craig The Saint Goldsberry: Bass