You know his name. And surely you remember how he swung and threw his upright double bass guitar as if it were a well-worn basketball. But mostly we all know Grammy-nominated Lee Rocker for his iconic contributions to 80s rockabilly pioneers the Stray Cats. Rocker, along with fellow Cats Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom, singlehandedly revived rockabilly music for a new wave audience. Along the way, Rocker and the Cats sold more than 10 million albums and produced three classic hits – “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut,” and “(She’s) Sexy + 17.”
Yet the everlasting Rocker, born Leon Drucker on Long Island, never catnapped on his laurels. Since the Stray Cats heyday, Rocker has released more than a dozen solo albums. His latest offering, 2021’s Gather Round, is proof positive that wink-and-nod rockabilly doesn’t go out of style. Over the course of 10 tunes, Rocker cranks up the energy on choice cuts such as “Dog House Shuffle,” “A Dirty Martini,” “Pickin’ and Grinnin’,” “Ophelia,” and the rollicking title track.
That means that in concert Rocker and his band bring you the best of both worlds. Does he perform those Stray Cats staples? You bet he does. Does he heat up the joint with lots of solo material? Oh yeah. Does he still swing and throw that classic upright bass? For sure. Don’t miss Rocker onstage June 18 at 7pm at The Rochester Opera House, 31 Wakefield Street in Rochester, NH. Tickets are $32-$36; all ages are welcome. To purchase tickets, click here.
“I’ve had the honor and privilege of playing my upright bass and singing my songs all over the world – from New York to Paris, from Texas to Tupelo, and everywhere in between,” says Lee. “I got to say this Lee Rocker Band is the best in the business, they’re virtuoso musicians who deliver every night. They are masters of this uniquely American music. I’m truly proud and grateful to bring my band to every stage in every town and city.”
At a very youthful 61, Rocker has strutted his way through a lifetime’s worth of defining moments. He’s appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, been a musical guest on Saturday Night Live, toured with the legendary Rolling Stones, and recorded and performed with luminaries such as Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Carl Perkins, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and John Fogerty. He’s been on Broadway (“Million Dollar Quartet”) and the Grammy Awards, where in 1982 he was nominated the same year that his father Stanley Drucker, a classical clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, also received a nod. That father-and-son nomination feat has only happened twice in the history of the Grammy Awards.
Among Rocker’s many accolades, both solo and with the Stray Cats, are inductions into the Bass Player Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the Visionary Artist Award by his home city of Laguna Beach, California. In 2022, Rocker snagged a spot in Bass Player Magazine’s 100 Greatest Bassists of all time. Who was also on that list? Legendary names such as Sir Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, Charles Mingus, and Ron Carter. That’s lofty company.
A couple other cool moments are worth mentioning – both of which happened in 2021. Rocker performed at the Library of Congress and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s Luncheon. Also, music from his critically acclaimed Gather Round was choreographed and performed as a rock ballet by New York City’s world-renowned Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
“I started the Stray Cats in my dad’s garage on Long Island, New York in 1979, by 1980 we were touring the world,” remembers Lee. “Everything changed, it was like being shot out of a cannon. In a few short months we had The Rolling Stones, The Who, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, and the best of rock royalty at our concerts. Like magic Stray Cats music has the power to get people on their feet, put a smile on their faces, and just feel great.”
That’s a lot of history, talent, and effortless cool that Lee Rocker brings to a concert stage. Don’t miss this Cat at one his shows in 2023. And be sure to holler loudly when he works his double upright bass into a frenzy.
For tickets, visit www.rochesteroperahouse.com.