The Ramrods were formed in mid-1977 by singer Mark Norton, guitarist Peter James, bassist Dave Hanna, and drummer Robert Mulrooney.
The Ramrods first gig was on the day after Elvis died, August 17th, 1977, inside the basement of an apartment building on East Grand Boulevard near Jefferson dubbed the “Concord Castle”.
The Ramrods were notable for tight songs and frontman Mark Norton’s confrontational stage presence. One show, at a place in Madison Heights called the Velvet Hammer, lead to a fight when Norton made a remark from the stage about a biker’s girlfriend. Another incident, involving damage to ceiling tiles, got Norton beat up and bounced out of the Red Carpet. At the same time, bass player Dave Hanna said guitarist Peter James would often show up to gigs without gear, in what can only be described as some form of self-sabotage, including when the band was offered an opportunity to play a gig in New York for Danny Fields (then the manager of The Ramones and former Elektra label rep who signed the MC5 & The Stooges).
After The Ramrods fell apart, by early 1978, Norton started a new band with Hanna as well as members of The Traitors – Steve McGuire and Craig Peters – called The 27. Hanna later joined The Boners. Mulrooney would be become a member of several well regarded bands in the scene including Coldcock, The Sillies, The Mutants, and, later, Bootsey X and The Lovemasters when he moved out from behind the drum kit to become a frontman. Peter James started a band with Nikki Corvette called Nikki and The Corvettes (aka Nikki Corvette and The Convertibles)
In 2008, Don Was invited The Ramrods to play his super session of legendary Detroit musicians as part of the Concert of Colors at Orchestra Hall.
The band was also captured in the studio for the first time in about 30 years in 2008 by Don Was.