Lee Rocker

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Lee Rocker
Lee Rocker at Uptown Theatre, July 2007
Lee Rocker at Uptown Theatre, July 2007
Background information
Birth nameLeon Drucker
Born (1961-08-03) August 3, 1961 (age 59)
Long Island, New York, U.S.
GenresPop, rock, blues, rockabilly
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsDouble bass
Years active1979–present
Labels33rd Street, AFM, Alligator
Associated actsStray Cats, Phantom, Rocker & Slick, Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom
Websitewww.leerocker.com

Lee Rocker (born Leon Drucker, August 3, 1961)[1] is an American double bass player. He is a member of the rockabilly revival band 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.[2] As a child, he played the cello and later learned bass guitar.

Biography[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Lee Rocker was born Leon Drucker in Massapequa, Long Island, New York, in 1961.[3] He is the son of classical clarinetists Stanley and Naomi Drucker. Stanley Drucker was the principal clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and played with Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland.[4] His sister Roseanne is a country music singer-songwriter.[5]

At age 12, Rocker picked up the electric bass[6] but quickly developed a preference for playing the double bass as his instrument of choice. He credits records by Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins for his new inclination "The slap bass on those records blew me away!" Rocker's favorite bass player is Willie Dixon.[5]

He married his wife Deborah in 1989.[7] She is the daughter of Gucci watchmaking pioneer, Severin Wunderman. In the fall of 2013, she launched her own eponymous fashion line.[8][9] They reside in Laguna Beach, California with their two children. Rocker is a fan of the Lakers and the Angels.[10]

Career[edit]

Drucker's school friends included James McDonnell and Brian Setzer.[11] 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 Stray Cats in 1979.[6] McDonnell took on the stage name of "Slim Jim Phantom", and Drucker devised his own stage name to "Lee Rocker". Rocker evolved his own style of slap-bass playing with the group.[12]

Rocker and Stray Cats sold nearly 10 million albums and garnered twenty three gold and platinum certified records worldwide, and made them a mainstay on MTV.[13][14][11] In addition to Stray Cats, Lee Rocker, and Phantom, Rocker & 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.[15] 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.[16][17] He is considered to be an influential upright bassist in rock and roll.[18]

Lee Rocker performing at Memphis International Rockabilly Festival, August 2015

Accompanied by Slim Jim Phantom and guitarist Earl Slick, Rocker formed the band Phantom, Rocker & Slick and recorded two albums for EMI Records titled Phantom, Rocker & Slick and Cover Girl. The song "Men Without Shame" landing Rocker back on MTV and in the charts.[19] For Black Top Records, Rocker released the albums Big Blue (1994) and Atomic Boogie Hour (1995). He has also recorded for Alligator Records.[20]

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.[12] Buzz Campbell (Hot Rod Lincoln and Sha Na Na) joined the band three years prior and gave them a Gretsch guitar sound. 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".[21] In addition to recording and touring, Rocker has hosted a radio show on KXFM, Rumble and Twang with Lee Rocker.[22] 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.[23]

Lee Rocker's latest band consists of Buzz Campbell (electric guitar & banjo), Larry Mitchel (drums), and Matthew Jordan (piano, harmonica, acoustic guitar).

The Low Road (2018–2019)[edit]

Lee's latest album The Low Road was recorded live with his four-piece band at Daryl's House in Pawling, NY (a listening room venue owned by Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates). Initially, it was released via physical prints of CD/DVDs & vinyl in December 2018. It was released via digital streaming on August 9, 2019

40 & reunion tour with Stray Cats (2018–2019)[edit]

After a ten-year hiatus from Stray Cats, Rocker reunited on stage with Setzer and Phantom in 2018 at the Viva Las Vegas Festival and a 2019 summer world tour was announced.[24] The Stray Cats released their tenth studio album 40 in May 2019.[25]

"Dog House Shuffle" (2019)[edit]

On October 29, 2019, Billboard.com premiered Rocker's latest single and music video for "Dog House Shuffle". In an interview with the magazine, Rocker said about the song: "It's a tribute in a lot of ways,... It's a song I wrote over the last couple of months. I was thinking about my career with 40 years of Stray Cats and all of that and thinking about the upright bass, which is what started this thing. It takes me back to the opening line of the song -- which is "Took me 'round the world and I changed my name/found a little fortune, found a little fame/Doin' the dog house shuffle" -- which is right out of my story. Dog House is what they call the upright bass, so it's a tribute to the bass itself and a lot of the players that I came up listening to." On October 30, 2019, "Dog House Shuffle" was officially released on all digital platforms.[26]

Awards and honors[edit]

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.

Discography[edit]

  • 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)
  • The Low Road (2019)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Lee Rocker Biography". AllMusic.com. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  2. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (4 June 2009). "Ending a 60-Year Gig at the N.Y. Philharmonic". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  3. ^ "This Cat Never Strayed". OC Weekly. Orange County, California. February 20, 2003. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (2009-06-04). "Stanley Drucker Ends a 60-Year Clarinet Gig". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b "Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker tells his story on for Bass Players Only". Forbassplayersonly.com. 2010-10-11. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Lee Rocker to play at Helsinki Hudson". Poughkeepsie Journal. New York. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  7. ^ Thomas Staudter (2006-04-09). "Set This Idea to Music: A Stray Cat Has 9 Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  8. ^ "Putting it all together". 2013-09-03.
  9. ^ "Drucker's Fall collection launch 'a dream come true'". 2013-09-24.
  10. ^ "Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker tells his story on for Bass Players Only". Forbassplayersonly.com. 2010-10-11. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Stray Cats Reunite, Return to Rockabilly". Chicago Tribune. Illinois. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Double-Bassist Lee Rocker Is Still Jamming and Touring". AXS. Archived from the original on 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  13. ^ "Stray Cats' Debut Album & the Rockabilly Revival". BestClassicBands.com. 2018-08-26. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Brian Setzer's Stray Cats to reunite for first show in 10 years". Consequence of Sound. 2018-01-04. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  16. ^ "Stray Cats". Grammy.com. 2019-06-04. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  17. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1982 - Grammy Award Winners 1982". AwardsAndShows.com. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  18. ^ "Lee Rocker Talks About the Stray Cats and Rockabilly's History". The Los Angeles Beat. 2017-09-08. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  19. ^ "Orange Coast Magazine". Emmis Communications. January 1986. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  20. ^ "Lee Rocker on Mountain Stage". NPR. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  21. ^ "Lee Rocker Releases the Cover Sessions EP". NoTreble.com. 2011-03-22. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  22. ^ "Lee Rocker's Rumble & Twang on KX 93.5". KXFM. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  23. ^ "Million Dollar Quartet to Celebrate Lee Rocker With Stage Jam Session". Broadway World. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  24. ^ Taylor Hamby (2018-08-17). "Stray Cats Strut Their Stuff For Two Reunion Shows in Costa Mesa". OC Weekly.
  25. ^ "The Stray Cats mark 40th anniversary with new album and tour". Consequence of Sound. 2019-03-07. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  26. ^ Graff, Gary (2019-10-29). "The Stray Cats' Lee Rocker Pays Homage to His Influences on 'Dog House Shuffle': Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-07-10.

External links[edit]