Bobby Sky

Greg Shaw’s fanzine and the emerging L.A. scene had a tremendous affect on Titan's Mark Prellberg and Tom Sorrells. Even while going broke releasing 45s, the two remained ravenous record collectors, scouring the ads and classifieds in search of the Next Big Nothing. Consider their awe then, when it turned out that local boy Dean Klevatt had somehow wiggled his way into the web of Kim Fowley, Los Angeles’s self-described “Moron/Genius outlaw rock & roll Superman.” Klevatt had left town six years prior after glimpsing a photo of Bowie as Ziggy, inspired not only to give up his training as a classical pianist but to spontaneously pick up and leave for London. After Klevatt kicked and was kicked around, Decca issued “The Story Of My Life” b/w “Don’t Hurt Molly” in 1974 to deafening disinterest. Dejected but nowhere near ready to return to the Midwest, Klevatt settled in Smog City after a stint in Arizona and began auditioning for bands. While he didn’t make the cut for glam-punksters the Quick, manager and guru Fowley put him on the payroll. Though uncredited, Klevatt provided keyboards on the first Runaways album, as well as a number of other Fowley productions, before finally having a chewed bone thrown his way. Continuing a recent trend that had produced the nom de plumes Tommy Rock and Baby Roulette, the nefarious Fowley transformed Dean Klevatt into Bobby Sky and began hunting for a record deal. But, as for Rock and Roulette before him, the sky was not the limit.

Regardless, Sky kept his pseudonym and took a job as a staff songwriter at Chappell Music. In early 1977, demos of “Radio City,” “The Water,” and “Rock n' Roll Song” began to leak out into the world, presenting an opportunity in Toronto. Following a failed deal with Polydor, the crestfallen Sky returned home at the end of 1978. He laid low for the winter before being introduced to Prellberg by a mutual friend, but it wasn’t long before Sky’s demos were in the possession of Kansas City’s only underground rock label. Surf-nut Sorrells fell immediately in love with “The Water,” a rock n’ roll spiritual that—with three part harmonies and straight-up-the-fretboard progression—lifted equally from the Kinks and the Beach Boys. For the flip, they chose “Radio City,” a nod to Sky’s love of AM bubblegum co-written with Fowley. The single was put on the program for spring 1979 but hit a snag when the “Radio City” master tape got lost in the mail between Toronto and Kansas City. With the Secrets* 45 monopolizing their attention and the second Charlson 45 in the dream stage, Titan shelved the single and moved on. That they didn’t fast forward “The Water” tape is perplexing, as “Rock n’ Roll Song” was there for the taking. Frustrated, Bobby Sky headed back to New York where he quickly abandoned his pop roots to join Lene Lovich’s synth wave.

Bobby Sky Appears on: