Lee Rocker Of The Stray Cats Performed At The Higley Center For The Performing Arts In Gilbert, Arizona
Photos By Glenda S. Paradee
Lee Rocker performed at the Higley Center For The Performing Arts in Gilbert, Arizona on November 16, 2019.
Lee rocked the house down. It was an awesome show.
Lee Rocker made his mark singing, playing, standing on, spinning and rocking his giant upright bass in the legendary music group The Stray Cats. Grammy-nominated, The Stray Cats have sold nearly 10 million albums and garnered an astounding 23 gold and platinum certified records worldwide. Founded by Rocker, Brian Setzer, and Slim Jim Phantom, The Stray Cats remain a radio staple, were music video pioneers at the infancy of MTV, and repeatedly brought rockabilly music to the top of the charts. 2011 kicked off with Lee joining the cast of the Broadway's hit musical "Million Dollar Quartet." Rocker stepped into guest star for 12 performances in January. "Million Dollar Quartet" is inspired by the legendary recording session that took place Tuesday, December 4, 1956, in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The session was an impromptu jam session among Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and additional musicians. Rocker played the role of Carl Perkins' brother and bass player Jay Perkins. "The story is especially close to my heart," says Rocker, who was a close friend and musical collaborator of Carl Perkins up until his passing. 2011 also saw the release of "The Cover Sessions" EP. The Cover Sessions is a side project that Rocker has been worked on for 18 months, this record includes banjo's, harmonica's, dobro, mandolin, washboards and all types of folk American instruments. Lee put his Americana twist on classic 1970's radio hits such as the Lennon/Mc Cartney song "Come together", Elton John's, "Honkey Cat" and the Allman Brothers song "Ramblin Man". 2012 kicks into high gear with the release of "Night Train to Memphis" a disc of classic rockabilly done like only Lee Rocker can. Here's Lee's thoughts about his newest recording in his own words "Night Train to Memphis" is a record that I've wanted to make for a very long time, and like an album spinning on a turntable at 33 and a 3rd rpm's, this is my 33rd year of playing music. "Night Train to Memphis" is the soundtrack of my life. These songs are tattoo'd on my soul. Rockabilly music grabbed this kid from New York, and shook me, spun me round and rattled my brains. I was never the same again.
So at 16 years old I got myself an upright bass fiddle and I started a band. We would practise in my Dad's garage next to the Olds Delta 88. We would play until my fingers bled. I didn't mind one bit. The music hasn't released me yet and I know it never will. In the summer of 1980 the band moved to London and we called ourselves the "Stray Cats". I got to say its been one a hell of a trip. Over the years I devored everything I could about Rockabilly and I've played or recorded with the musical architects and pioneers, including Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Wanda Jackson, Levon Helm, as well as George Harison, Ringo Starr and others. The Mount Rushmore of Rock and Roll. Hey dreams do come true. The songs on "Night Train to Memphis" are classic's from the early days of rock with the "Stray Cat, Lee Rocker" stamp on them. I recorded this disc in a similar way as they did back at Sun Studio, the birthplace of rockabilly, relying on spirit, energy and passion, not on studio tricks and gimmicks. "Night Train to Memphis" takes me right where I want to be, and where I've always been happiest. Get on board!