Songs to sing, stories to share


By Marilyn Delk


Lee Rocker is a master musician who lives up to his name, rocking the place wherever he and his bass appear in a sparkling career spanning more than four decades. Best known as a member of the famed rockabilly band Stray Cats, Rocker has also performed with Carl Perkins, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Keith Richards, and John Fogerty, to name a few. Named one of the 100 greatest bassists of all time along with Sir Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, and Charles Mingus among others, Lee Rocker is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, and the Bass Player Hall of Fame. And he is set to re-join guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer and drummer Slim Jim Phantom when the Stray Cats undertake a recently-announced world tour this summer.

But before he takes off on that trip to entertainment capitals around the world, Lee Rocker will perform at St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville, Ohio! Yes, on Saturday, Feb. 24, you can take in a performance by this acclaimed musician who has plenty of songs to sing and play as well as fascinating stories to tell. The legendary performer says that the show is a concert, but with other elements where he talks about the songs and what they mean as well as what life on the road is like, sharing his memories as well as photographs, videos, and, of course, music.

Born Leon Drucker in Massapequa, Long Island, New York, Lee Rocker is the son of classical clarinetists Stanley and Naomi Drucker; his late father was the principal clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1982, Lee and his father were the second father-son duo ever nominated for a Grammy in the same year. Practicing in his family’s garage, Rocker joined forces with school friends James McDonnell, who later took on the stage name Slim Jim Phantom, and Brian Setzer to play gigs around New York; they formed the Stray Cats in 1979. And the rest is well-known history! Rocker says, “When we hit the stage together, it’s just electricity. It’s been that way from the start… . There’s this incredible thing that I can’t really define, but there’s just a certain kind of magic that’s there.” The legendary group has sold nearly 10 million albums and garnered twenty three gold and platinum records.

Following the immense world-wide success of their first records, the Stray Cats went their separate ways for a while, then re-united in 1988; the group split up again in 1992, but continue to periodically get back together to tour and record. In addition to continuing to record alone and with others, Rocker also formed the band Phantom, Rocker and Slick with fellow Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom and guitarist Earl Slick, which released several successful albums. He also has hosted a radio show, and in 2011 was a member of the cast of the Broadway hit Million Dollar Quartet.

Amazingly, even though this show was announced months ago, tickets remain available to see this renowned veteran performer who has sold out around the world. Very reasonably priced at $30 each (student tickets are half-price), I expected this rockabilly legend to sell out in Greenville long before now, so I scooped up my tickets and assured entry for my music-loving family to the performance many months ago. But surprisingly, many good seats remain one week before the show! You can get your tickets to this not-to-be-missed show by contacting Darke County Center for the Arts at 937-547-0908 or at Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the show. The performance begins at 7 p.m.

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