Johnny Tonite Is Coming Home

In the late 1970’s in every town, punk rock ignited local music scenes. There was garage rock before but this was different –  you didn’t have to follow the rules.  LA and NYC weren’t the only places this sprouted up although they may have been the initial seeds. In South Florida you had The Reactions, The Cichlids, The Eat, The Screaming Sneakers and more. Those were the bands whose seeds sowed the next harvest. Bands blossomed everywhere, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Dania. There was some radio support, a monthly music magazine culture, record stores participating… it was a grand time.

The Spanish Dogs were a breeding ground of talent that came out of this time. Ruby Cadillac, Mike Kennedy, Mike Chatham, Pete Moss, and Randy Ruffner. They released a few EP’s including the iconic “Don’t Sweat The Petty Things,” a few cassettes and a full length titled “Mongol Le Gan.” Their sound was pop, punk, new wave and then some. After the break up, out of the ashes Ruffner, Chatham and eventually Moss and Rich DeFinis, formed Stan Still Dance Band. These two bands were active between 1981-1985.

Randy Ruffner was the thread between these bands and after the break up of Stan Still Dance Band Randy carried on in the short lived The Resistance and also River of Souls/ Cowhead. By then the 1990s came around and Randy formed Johnny Tonite with Pete Moss and the help of others. Adding Rob DiAco solidified the band.

From 1991 until 2007 Johnny Tonite put out two cassettes,

“The Savage Ones” and “Live Tonight,” and two CDs, “Time of Arson” and “Liberty For Sale.” In 1997 they took the hardest hit when we lost Pete Moss. From 1991-1997 they played often and gave it their all. A good solid rock band with great lyrics and dedication to the songs. Randy was such a good lyricist and still is. He eventually moved away to North Carolina 15 years ago to raise a family. In 2019 Randy played as JR Junior in North Carolina and then in 2020 during Covid, he came down and spent the summer on the west coast of Florida recording in Rob’s “Shed” studio and they made the “A Butterfly Hits The Windshield” record.

Well, as the years continue to pass by it’s time for a homecoming – time for Johnny Tonite to be heard again in its own backyard. Those in the old scene were contacted and Rob and Randy have formed a band to play these songs one more time. Special guest appearances seem a shoo-in and maybe, just maybe, Randy will be crowned Homecoming King.

Johnny Tonite is coming home at My Mama’s Books Records and Cafe, 218 East Dania Beach Blvd on Saturday, October 28. Show is from 1-6pm with support from Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers plus DJ Skidmark. FREE!

DJ Skidmark set 1-3

Johnny Tonite acoustic 3-4pm

Pookiesmackers 4-5pm

Johnny Tonite electric 5-6pm

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Steven Toth

Steven Monroe Toth is Mr. Entertainment. Observer of the art and music world plus Florida living.