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Lee Rocker at Uptown Theatre, July 2007
|Birth name||Leon Drucker|
August 3, 1961|
Long Island, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Pop, rock, blues, rockabilly|
|Labels||33rd Street, AFM, Alligator|
|Associated acts||The Stray Cats|
He is the son of the classical clarinetists Stanley Drucker (the retired principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra) and Naomi Drucker. His sister Roseanne is a country music singer-songwriter. As a child, he played the cello and later learned bass guitar.
Drucker's school friends included James McDonnell and Brian Setzer. The three of them played together regularly and widened their musical interests to include the blues and rockabilly. Drucker also learned to play the double bass to incorporate the sounds of blues and rockabilly on the acoustic instrument. The three of them formed the group The Stray Cats in 1979. McDonnell took on the stage name of "Slim Jim Phantom", and Drucker devised his own stage name of "Lee Rocker". Rocker evolved his own style of slap-bass playing with the group.
Rocker and the Stray Cats sold nearly 10 million albums and garnered twenty three gold and platinum certified records worldwide, and made them a mainstay on MTV. In addition to Stray Cats, Lee Rocker and Phantom Rocker and Slick albums, Rocker has recorded or performed with Carl Perkins, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Keith Richards, John Fogerty, and Scotty Moore. Rocker was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1982, as was his father, they are the second father-son duo to be nominated for a Grammy in the same year. He considered to be an influential upright bassist in Rock n' Roll.
Rocker formed the band Phantom, Rocker & Slick and recorded two albums for EMI Records titled Phantom, Rocker and Slick and Cover Girl. The song "Men Without Shame" landing Rocker back on MTV and in the charts. For Black Top Records, Rocker released the albums Big Blue (1994) and Atomic Boogie Hour (1995). He has also recorded for Alligator Records.
He released the album, Bulletproof, in 2003. His other albums included Black Cat Bone, released in August 2007, which featured Brophy Dale on guitar and Jimmy Sage on drums. Buzz Campbell (Hot Rod Lincoln and Sha Na Na) joined the band three years ago, and gave a Gretsch guitar sound to the band. In 2011 Lee released an EP called "The Cover Sessions" which features cover versions of songs such as the John Lennon/Paul McCartney song "Come Together," Elton John's, "Honky Cat," and The Allman Brothers song "Ramblin Man." In addition to recording and touring, Rocker has hosted a radio show on XM Radio, called 'Rumble and Twang with Lee Rocker.' Lee Rocker joined the cast of the Broadway hit "Million Dollar Quartet" as bassist Clayton Perkins, the brother of Sun Records recording artist Carl Perkins in a twelve-show run from January 21 through 31, 2011. He topped off the show with a special encore performance with the cast and an appearance on New York Today. Rocker and his wife have been married since 1989.
Awards and honors
In 2013, Rocker received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bass Player magazine, and gave master classes in London and Los Angeles. He is a member of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Visionary Artist Award from the Laguna Beach Arts Council.
- Lee Rocker's Big Blue (1994)
- Atomic Boogie Hour (1995)
- No Cats (1998)
- Lee Rocker Live (1999)
- Blue Suede Nights (2001)
- Bulletproof (2003)
- Upright and Kickin' (2003)
- Burnin' Love: The Best of Lee Rocker (2004)
- The Curse of Rockabilly (2005)
- Racin' the Devil (2006)
- Black Cat Bone (2007)
- The Cover Sessions (2011)
- Night Train to Memphis (2012)
- Daniel J. Wakin (4 June 2009). "Ending a 60-Year Gig at the N.Y. Philharmonic". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "Million Dollar Quartet to Celebrate Lee Rocker With Stage Jam Session". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
- Thomas Staudter (2006-04-09). "Set This Idea to Music: A Stray Cat Has 9 Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-22.