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Lee Rocker @ The Coach House – 07/10/2021 

If you are a music lover there is no doubt you are craving live music at this point in time and boy was there an incredible live show on Saturday night July 10 as Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats ROCKED the town of San Juan Capistrano with a capacity crowd at The Coach House. Fans were there early and very enthusiastic to be out and about at a live show after the Covid shutdown spanning the last 12+ months. 

Southern California Rockabilly veterans the Hot Rod Trio opened the show and played 40 minutes of upbeat, foot stompin music and were followed by another SoCal band Moonshine who fused Blues and Jazz with their Rockabilly sound and had Lee Rocker’s son on standup bass following in his Dad’s footsteps. 

At about 9:45pm the lights dimmed and a brief intro played on the video screens bookending the stage with footage of the Stray Cats from back in the beginning of their career then the band took the stage – drummer Larry Mitchell, Matt Jordan on piano and acclaimed guitarist Buzz Campbell then Rocker hit the stage, picked up his trusty stand-up bass and the night began with a trio of Stray Cats songs –  “Stray Cat Strut”, “Runaway Boys” followed by “Built for Speed”. 

Rocker welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming out to the show. In addition to being an absolute master on stand-up bass he also played acoustic guitar on a few songs as his son returned to the stage to play bass. The setlist represented Rocker’s full catalog and influences as he played several Stray Cats songs as well as his own solo material including cuts from his January 2021 release Gather Round all with a few covers sprinkled in for good measure. 

Rocker told the story of how Keith Richards showed up one night at the studio to record guitars for the Phantom, Rocker & Slick song “Men Without Shame” and how they indulged in “party favors” that Richards had brought with him all while photos of that night displayed on the video screens. Rocker’s son appeared once again at the end of the show to play guitar on the last song “Rock This Town” and the encore “Rockabilly Boogie”. Fans were seen dancing, singing, smiling and just having fun – probably the most fun in many months for most. As the song ended, Rocker simply stated, “It’s great to be back – Thank You” and left the stage. 

Lee Rocker ROCKED THIS TOWN (San Juan Capistrano) on this night – a master craftsman on the stand-up bass, natural entertainer and a first-class human  – don’t miss Lee Rocker when he hits your town. 

Set List: 

Stray Cat Strut | Runaway Boys | Built for Speed | Gather Round | That’s Alright Mama / Blue Moon | Honey Don’t | Miracle in Memphis | The Last Offline Lovers | Memphis Freeze | City of New Orleans | Ophelia | When Nothing is Going Right | Men Without Shame | Graceland Auction | I Won’t Stand In Your Way | Doghouse Shuffle | Bulletproof | Rumble in Brixton | Rock This Town | Rockabilly Boogie

- Chris Loomis

VINTAGE ROCK - Gather Round – New Studio Release Review 

When it comes to the Stray Cats, Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom probably get the most attention, but there’s also Lee Rocker spinning his giant upright bass on stage or in the videos. Aside from the Cats, Rocker has played with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and John Fogerty. In 1982, Rocker and his father Stanley Drucker (a classically trained clarinetist) received Grammy nominations — a familial honor that has only occurred twice in the history of the Grammys. For 2021, the prolific bassist unleashes a solo album called Gather Round. 

Featuring 10 no nonsense rockers, Rocker is joined by guitarist Buzz Campbell, drummer Larry Mitchell, and keyboardist Matt Jordan. The title track is a roiling upbeat slapper about “having a rockabilly soul” and getting on the road to prove it. Most of the songs on Gather Round were written by Rocker when he and his wife Deborah hit the states in an Airstream. The 20-state trip provided some introspection and lots of fun to the lyrics. 

“Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” is a delicious 50s jazz send-up, while “Pickin’ And Grinnin” comes off as an Elvis sound-alike with an overt political message. “When Nothing’s Going Right,” the album’s centerpiece, is a Rocker wrote for the Stray Cats’ 2019 album 40. The versions don’t stray too far from one another. Dressed as a 20s barrelhouse with what sounds like tap piano and banjo, Robbie Robertson’s “Ophelia” ends this collection. 

The whole album pretty much ends as it begins: Upbeat, punchy, and, at a running time of less than 30 minutes, unable to overstay its welcome. Inducted into the Bass Player Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, Lee Rocker merrily slaps his way into 2021 with Gather Round. 

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

HOUSTON PRESS - Lee Rocker Calls Out All Cool Cats to Gather Round 

Musicians have always written songs on the road as inspiration hits them during their travels. But Lee Rocker has taken it to another level, and during a pandemic. The man best known for plunking the fat strings of a standup acoustic bass for the Stray Cats penned most of the material for his new solo record Gather Round (Upright Records) during a six week road trip in 2020. 

He and his wife of 33 years, Deborah, jumped in their Airstream trailer and traveled from California to New York and back, a 6,000 mile journey that would take the couple through some 20 states. It was a way for the couple to somewhat escape from political, social, and medical disasters and uncertainty, and it also provide them time for introspection.

“We just hopped in and took off after the [pandemic hit], and it was an amazing journey during a horrible time. But looking back in a funny way, this record shows what I did this past year!” Rocker says from his Southern California home. 

“And we had to go about making it in a completely different way. There’s the ‘Let it Rip’ way where you and the band are all together and bounce ideas off each other, but I was in the studio alone. It was a meticulous process, and a solitary one.” 

When the Rockers returned to California, Lee wasted no time in booking a studio, played a lot of instruments himself, then collaborated with his regular band Buzz Campbell (guitar), Larry Mitchell (drums), and Matt Jordan (piano/organ), who sent the boss their parts recorded in their own homes or studios. It’s Lee Rocker’s first album of all original music since 2007’s Black Cat Bone. 

“The songs would just come to me at points, and once you get going, they come [more quickly],” Rocker says. “And with no concerts going on like they would be normally, everything just got turned upside down.” In fact, he says the last time he and his three band members were in the same room at the same time was back at the end of February 2020 at their last live gig, before the whole world went topsy-turvy and only science nerds knew the name of Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

Gather Round includes nine originals, along with a cover of The Band’s “Ophelia.” Stylistically and lyrically, there’s rockabilly rave up (“Gather Round”), slinky jazz (“Everybody Wants to Be a Cat”), shimmering love songs (“The Last Offline Lovers,” “Every Time I See You”), an instrumental (“A Dirty Martini”), and musical autobiography (“Dog House Shuffle”). But two songs stand out with a bit of a deeper meaning—albeit with wildly different themes. 

In “Pickin’ and Grinnin’” it’s not hard to figure out exactly what now Twitter-less leader Rocker had in mind in writing lyrics about a powerful person who “turns a flame into a fire.” Another stanza features a call back to a signature campaign promise as Rocker sings “I got to pose this question/’Cuz this ship is really sinking/I got to shout out loud/Are you sick of all this winning?” It’s a song that’s taken on even more resonance since the events in Washington, D.C. last week. 

“You know…I rarely get political with my music, but that’s a political song. This time, it’s different. And if I don’t raise my voice as an artist as to what I believe, then I’m part of the problem,” Rocker offers. “I believe we’re in a time now where things have got to change. We’ve gone absolutely the wrong way. My wife and I were on the trip and I’d read the newspaper and just get pissed off. And then read more, have some dirty martinis at each stop, and get more pissed off.”

On a lighter note, Rocker details his obsessive love of collecting all sorts of Elvis Presley memorabilia (as well as the fervent passions of other collectors) in “Graceland Auction.” The song was inspired by a hefty catalog that Rocker had from a 2019 Graceland auction of Elvis memorabilia. 

Asked to name the favorite piece in his own collection, Rocker says it’s an emerald ring that the King had given to one of his minions. “To me, Elvis was like Superman, and then there was the music. I loved it, and this was the last song I wrote for the record.” 

And was there one auction item that got away? Yes. And it involved Scotty Moore, Elvis’ original guitarist who Rocker not only knew personally, but frequently recorded and played with before Moore’s 2016 death at the age of 84. 

“They had Scotty’s gold Gibson guitar, and I really tried to get it. Scotty was such a dear friend,” Rocker says. He had to placate himself by purchasing one of 80 Scotty Moore gold commemorative models issued by Gibson, each signed by Moore. Rocker is proud to be in possession of serial number 5. Which doesn't mean he won’t try to track down number 1. 

As for his “other group” the Stray Cats, Rocker says they’re currently on a hiatus, having issued a reunion album (40) and embarked on a tour in 2019, that itself commemorated with a live album released last year called Rocked This Town, for which the Houston Press spoke with bandmate Slim Jim Phantom. Both records feature different versions of the Lee Rocker written and sung “When Nothing’s Going Right.” 

The Stray Cats were formed in 1979 by teenage friends from Long Island, New York Rocker, Phantom (drums), and Brian Setzer (vocals/guitar). And while they found a regional following, the trio found initial wide success only after relocating to England, whose audiences went nuts for their authentic retro rockabilly. 

Returning to the United States, they scored Top 10 hits with songs like “Stray Cat Strut,” “Rock This Town,” and “She’s Sexy + 17.” The stylish videos were also a ubiquitous presence on early MTV. The Stray Cats separated in the mid-‘80s, with Setzer eventually having the most successful solo career, and Rocker and Phantom forming another group with guitarist Earl Slick (Rocker took over lead vocals). Over the ensuing decades, they’ve continued to reunite for tours and new albums.

“We keep in touch and we’re a unique band, and we never close the door on anything because there’s no reason to,” Rocker says. “It’s a conversation between the three of us. There’s not a script. I mean, we knew each other when we were kids before we even thought about a band.” 

And while Rocker doesn’t have any particular standout memories of playing in Houston, there was one special date at one of Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnics. “We were outdoors and in the middle of the show and I started hearing this other instrument. It sounded good, but I didn’t know where it was coming from!” Rocker recalls. “Willie had just walked out and stage and decided to play along. So I take that as a huge compliment!” 

In 2021 though, Lee Rocker finds himself in a predicament faced by scores of other musicians across all genres: there’s a new album to promote, but no way to do so by playing shows on the road. And by his own admission, he’s not the type to do virtual or streaming performances. 

“I’m going to wait it out, but I’m an optimist. I think the majority of us will get through his, and I think we’ll be doing shows starting in September,” he says. “I sure hope we can do it as long as the world keeps spinning. And we get our vaccines!”

-

HOUSTON PRESS

https://www.houstonpress.com/music/things-to-do-listen-to-gather-round-by-lee-rocker-11526241

Sonic Perspectives - LEE ROCKER Talks “Gather Round” Solo Album: “I Love The Power of Music!” 

Lee Rocker, who is famously known as the bassist for The Stray Cats, will be releasing a new solo record “Gather Round,” on January 22nd via his label Upright Records. 

You can’t think of music in the 80s without thinking of the multi-platinum superstars, The Stray Cats, who sold 10 million albums and had 23 gold and platinum-certified records worldwide. Their music revolutionized a generation and set MTV on fire with such monster hits as “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut,” and “She’s Sexy + 17.” 

“Gather Round” marks the Grammy-nominated upright bass player, singer, and songwriter Lee Rocker‘s first record of original music since his 2007 release, “Black Cat Bone.” Many of the songs on this record were written while he crisscrossed the country with his wife and dog in their Airstream during the pandemic. It’s a Rockabilly joy ride of ten infectiously melodic songs that deliver a hefty dose of fun, positive vibes, and capture the true heart of Rock & Roll. From the full-tilt tempo of the title track “Gather Round” to the hauntingly beautiful “The Last Offline Lovers” to the mesmerizing instrumental “A Dirty Martini,” this record stays cranked with its driving rhythms, tasty guitar licks, and edgy vocals. Pre-order “Gather Round”here. 

Correspondent Robert Cavuoto spoke with Lee about the creation of “Gather Round,” his love of making music, and the importance of bending the rules in order to do your own thing! Continue reading for their full conversation. For more interviews and other daily content, make sure to follow Sonic Perspectives on Facebook, Flipboard and Twitter and  subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified about new content we publish on a daily basis.

I heard you wrote the songs for this record during the pandemic while on a 6,000-mile cross-country road trip with your wife to escape the world’s house arrest? If true, it sounded like quite the adventure. 

Yes, it was. The bulk of this record was done that way. We hit the road crisscrossing the country as we went from California to New York and then back again. I did a lot of thinking and writing as everyone has to deal with things in their own way. It was an isolating experience as it was just my wife and our Boston terrier. Yet at the same time, it was quite familiar as I’m used to being on tour going from place to place. It was a very comfortable situation, and it got me away from things. It was a fascinating time and trip. A lot of this record was written while in our Airstream. When I got back to California, I booked the studio that I’ve used over the years and started to record these songs. I played a lot of the instruments, not all of them by any means. I have a fantastic band with Buzz Campbell on guitar, Larry Mitchell on drums, and Matt Jordan on piano.As needed, I would have my guys recording at their home and sending me the tracks.

It’s different but not that different from how we would normally record. It was a little more time consuming and required some more communication. It’s always easier when you are right next to each other revising parts as needed. It required a lot of focus and attention to detail on my end. I love the process as it was like an inward journey. 

The record feels overwhelmingly positive, which I loved. Was it a challenge to keep it positive during these difficult times? 

In some ways, I wanted it to be positive as I love the power of music and positive music. The song “Gather Round” really is a happy song, and it’s directly about our trip. I know what’s going on out there, and I see it.It’s a little like raising my middle finger and holding it out that car window [laughing]. In a weird way, that’s what I think about with that song.  Another positive song was “Graceland Auction.” I’m a tremendous Elvisfan and collector. I get these catalogs where I get to bid on things. On my coffee table at home was a 2019 Graceland auction catalog; I had been looking all this time and now just thinking, that’s a song! That’s how the song came about. I tried to stay positive even on the political track. I’m not publically political very often as I like my music to be my music and not social media, but at times I have spoken my mind, and “Pickin’ and Grinnin‘” was definitely done for the time. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve certainly had enough! 

You talk about the power of music. I can only assume that is why you decided to release the album now to give everyone some feel-good music when they need it the most? 

Absolutely! It’s a time-consuming thing, but it’s what I do, and I love recording. I was attempting to put this out during 2020, but I couldn’t hit the mark. The physical and digital copies will be released on January 22nd. I was really trying to get it done, but I didn’t want to rush it where I wasn’t happy with everything. It just took a little more time to get it to that point. 

It doesn’t sound like you’re trying to recreate the past with this record, yet you are still giving the songs the same level of energy. How do you see it? 

It’s all about the energy! You put it on to tape or the file and hope it jumps out at the listener on the other side. This year we have all had to readjust how we do things; obviously, the touring has completely closed down, that was the reason to take this trip. From there, everything just fell together. I don’t try to compete with the past; I purposely try not to tread over the same ground constantly. This is an eclectic record; it’s Rockabilly, but some songs are more Rockabilly than others. I feel this is the most eclectic record I have done, but it all hangs together nicely. I wrote and recorded a lot more songs, which didn’t get used but got me to this point. I’m glad I was able to put the time in right now to do this.

Maybe in 2021, there will be some touring. I’m hopeful and optimistic! I’ve had a lot of things rescheduled to the second half of 2021, so I have my fingers crossed it will happen. 

You can’t fake the authenticity of what you do and your roots in Rockabilly. You and your band seem to live, breathe, and own it. Tell me about the importance of that? 

You have to give everything 110%. I haven’t done a record of original material in a long time. My last record was a live record called “Night Train to Memphis;” on there were many songs I love, but they weren’t mine; they were covers. Of course, I wrote a song or two, but this record is a collection of new songs. I wanted to do it right. It’s been 13 years since I have had this amount of new songs. In this bizarre, strange, and horrible year it took a pandemic to do it [laughing].

Songs like “The Last Offline Lovers” and “When Nothings Going Right” are two of my favorite songs and perfect examples of what you do best; can you share some insights into their creation? 

I wrote “The Last Offline Lovers” for my wife as we have been married for 32 years. I played every instrument on that song except for the drums. Everything is acoustic, and there isn’t an electric instrument on there.That was a very solitary track, and I really wanted to get in there to craft and map out every word. I wanted to put 110% into that song. The title came from a painting we bought called The Last Offline Lovers. It was a thing that stuck with me because that’s how we felt in the first place. 

“When Nothings Going Right” was written for the Stray Cats 40 record, which came out in 2019. This was the original version and was recorded before COVID. I played the song for the guys in The Stray Cats, and they loved it, so we cut it for that record. It’s the original, so it has that spark and direction I had for it. Of course, it changed a bit when Slim Jim Phantom and Brian Setzer put their stamp on it with. It sounded super on that record, and I like hearing the differences as to what flavors got added from the original. I think some long-term Stray Cat fans will like to hear what the nexus of that song was. 

I liked the original version because of the extra guitar nuances and drumming. 

Thanks, there are two guitars on there. It’s the same song, yet they are different. I’m always interested in that stuff, not just with my own music but hearing George Harrison‘s original demo compared to how the finished product turned out. Sometimes it’s one of those dilemmas, at least I think it’s a dilemma, you go into the studio very early in the process to put down a guide vocal. Not really thinking about things figuring you will sing the crap out of it like a 100 times later until it’s perfect. Sometimes you end up chasing that nonchalant version that you originally laid down.

I think that was the case with that song. 

Not to put you on the spot, which version do you prefer? 

Oh, I like them both! I’m fine with this version on “Gather Round” because it was the original out of the box. 

Can you share your thoughts on how The Stray Cats brought Rockabilly to the forefront as a music genre to kids in the 80s via MTV and how the scene has evolved? 

It’s alive and living in the underground where Rockabilly or Americana or whatever moniker you want to put on. It usually rears its head up every once in a while like it did with The Stray Cats giving us some major hits on the charts. It’s a rarity, but this music is part of the fabric, sound, and rhythms of American music.There are some new people playing it but not a tremendous amount. It’s fallen into some country artists as well as some artists who have played it all along. Willie Nelson and John Forgety play it, but I never hear them being referred to as Rockabilly artists. We got tagged with the name, which I’m fine with, and I love it, but there were many other people playing this type of music. Part of it was the music, and part of it came down to the visuals. We loved the style, look, and what goes along with it is just as cool. 

The Stray Cats sold 10 million albums had many gold and platinum albums; with numbers like that, how do you measure success now in this streaming and file-sharing environment. 

It’s just a whole another world. It’s a funny business with streaming. I just try to concentrate on making my music and giving it my best. I’m going back to the old school vinyl, which I’m really excited about. I’m just waiting for them to be finished. I love listening to music that way, as a collection or in a sequence. In streaming, so many people are just picking tracks. I’m glad they are listening to music at all. I try to enjoy the band’s intention of the whole collection. 

After 40 years, you are responsible for bringing a lot of classic American music into contemporary counter-culture. Is carrying that torch for Rockabilly something that you actively think about? 

Not really. It’s funny; it’s the music that I love and played for my entire life. It’s the rhythms that I feel and the language that I speak. I don’t think it’s necessarily 50s. There is Rockabilly in all of it to some portion or another. I don’t think that I have to keep Rockabilly alive; it’s just what comes out. There are people who are huge Rockabilly fans who want it to be just like it was in 1956. It’s great to listen to records from 1956, I do, but I like to listen to other things too. I just like to do my own thing with it. I’ve been so fortunate to work with everyone from Carl Perkins to Scotty Moore; so many people from that first generation of Rock & Roll.Through my friendships and conversations with them, I know they were always bending the rules while doing their own thing, which is what it is all about.

ABC NEWS RADIO ONLINE - Lee Rocker releasing new solo album, 'Gather Round,' in January 

Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker will release Gather Round, his first new solo album of original songs in over 13 years, on January 22. 

The 10-track collection, which you can pre-order now, is made up mostly of songs that Rocker wrote this year after the start of the pandemic, and also includes his 2019 single "Dog House Shuffle," a tribute to some of rock 'n' roll's early bass players. 

Lee explains that much of Gather Round was written while he and his wife "criss-crossed" the U.S. in their Airstream trailer. after the pandemic started. 

"We rolled through 20 states from north to south and from east to west," he notes. "In addition to the pandemic, the presidential election was raging. I wrote songs and music and drove 6,000 miles." 

Rocker adds, "It's been year filled with global disaster and uncertainty. It's also been a time of introspection and for me a time to reimagine how to record an album under these circumstances." 

When he returned to his home on Southern California, Rocker began recording the album, playing most of the instruments himself, along with tracks contributed remotely by his solo band members -- guitarist Buzz Campbell, drummer Larry Mitchell and keyboardist Matt Jordan. 

Besides "Dog House Shuffle," Rocker released another advance single from Gather Round, the politically themed "Pickin' and Grinnin'," in October, along with a companion video. 

"I wrote this song as my statement on [President] Trump and the dividing of this country which I love," Lee points out. "We all need to reside in the UNITED states of America." 

The Gather Round album also features Rocker's original solo version of "When Nothing's Going Right," a song he wrote that The Stray Cats recorded for their 2019 reunion album, 40. 

Here's Gather Round's full track list: 

"Gather Round" 
"Graceland Auction" 
"The Last Offline Lovers" 
"Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" 
"Pickin' and Grinnin'" 
"Every Time I See You" 
"A Dirty Martini" 
"When Nothing's Going Right" 
"Dog House Shuffle" 
"Ophelia"

-ABC NEWS RADIO ONLINE

http://abcnewsradioonline.com/music-news/2020/12/14/stray-cats-bassist-lee-rocker-releasing-new-solo-album-gathe.html

AMERICAN SONGWRITER - Legendary Straycat Lee Rocker Announces Release of New Solo Album 

Legendary upright bassist of The Stray Cats,  Lee Rocker, has announced the January 22 release of his new solo album Gather Round. It’s his first album of all-original music since 2007’s Black Cat Bone . 

The sizzling ten-track rockabilly album was produced by Rocker (vocal, string bass), who is joined by Buzz Campbell (guitar, backing vocal), Larry Mitchell (drums, percussion) and Matt Jordan (piano, organ). Two songs with videos—“Doghouse Shuffle” and “Pickin’ and Grinnin’”—are now available, with a third track/video due out ahead of the album’s release. 

“My wife Deborah and I hit the road in our Airstream and crisscrossed the country from California to New York and back,” shares Rocker. “We rolled through 20 states from north to south and from east to west. In addition to the pandemic, the presidential election was raging. I wrote songs and music and drove 6,000 miles. It’s been a year filled with global disaster and uncertainty. It’s also been a time of introspection and, for me, a time to reimagine how to record an album under these circumstances. 

“When we returned to Southern California,” he says, “I booked a studio to record in one day week for months. I played many of the instruments myself and had my band, Buzz Campbell, Larry Mitchell and Matt Jordan send me their tracks from remote home studios.”  

The opening track “Gather Round” powerfully gets the album rolling. “It’s a song of positivity, love, joy and happiness. When I wrote and now listen to the song, I feel like I’m raising my middle finger high in the air and waving it to 2020.”  

“`Graceland Auction,’” explains Rocker, “came about by my lifelong obsession with Presley. I’ve been a bit of a collector and have bid and bought various Elvis stuff. It makes me laugh and it makes me want to cry.”  

“The Last Offline Lovers” is a song he wrote for his wife Deborah: “We’ve been together for 32 years” he says, “and she has been my inspiration, love, and strength. All of the instruments on this are acoustic and I played all of them with the exception of the drums performed by Larry Mitchell.”  

Another album highlight is “When Nothing’s Going Right,” a song Rocker wrote that appears on the Stray Cats’ album last year, 40. “This is the original version I recorded before the Stray Cats’ version. I feel it has that spark of original fire.” 

Rocker looks toward brighter days on “Pickin’ and Grinnin.” “I wrote this song as my statement on Trump,” he says, “and the dividing of this country which I love. We all need to reside in the United States of America. Come together; gather round. I know that we all can’t agree on everything but we should be able to agree that we live in a democracy and that every four years we have an election that should be respected.”  

Rocker’s infectious party spirit is in full effect on “‘Dog House Shuffle.” “It’s just plain fun! It’s really my tribute to the original rocking bass players that have influenced me so much. These guys are in a way the unsung heroes of rockabilly and early rock. We’ve incorporated these players into the video.”  

Last year, in a multiple-page feature in Bass Player, Rocker was asked about his ability to come up with fresh rockabilly bass-lines. He said, “I’m still discovering things. I still have revelations: ‘How did I not think of this before?’ There are a lot of different rhythms and slaps, and different ways to walk your bass-lines. There’s only twelve notes but there’s an infinite number of ways to play them.” 

-American Songwriter

https://americansongwriter.com/legendary-straycat-lee-rocker-announces-release-of-new-solo-album/

Bass Magazine - Lee Rockers of The Stray Cats Announces Release of New Solo Album ‘Gather Round’ 

GATHER ROUND marks the Grammy-nominated upright bass player, singer and songwriter’s first album of all-original music since 2007’s Black Cat Bone (Alligator Records). The sizzling 10-track rockabilly album was produced by ROCKER (vocal, string bass), who is joined by Buzz Campbell (guitar, backing vocal), Larry Mitchell (drums, percussion) and Matt Jordan (piano, organ).Two songs with videos—“Doghouse Shuffle” and “Pickin’ and Grinnin’”—are now available, with a third track/video due out ahead of the album’s release. Pre-order the album HERE.  

Most of the songs on GATHER ROUND were written after the pandemic started. “My wife Deborah and I hit the road in our airstream and criss-crossed the country from California to New York and back,” shares ROCKER. “We rolled through 20 states from north to south and from east to west. In addition to the pandemic, the presidential election was raging. I wrote songs and music and drove 6,000 miles. It’s been year filled with global disaster and uncertainty. It’s also been a time of introspection and for me a time to reimagine how to record an album under these circumstances.  

“When we returned to Southern California,” he elaborates, “I booked a studio to record in one day week for months. I played many of the instruments myself and had my band, Buzz Campbell, Larry Mitchell and Matt Jordan send me their tracks from remote home studios.” 

Opening track “Gather Round” powerfully gets the album rolling.” It’s a song of positivity, of love, joy and happiness. When I wrote and now listen to the song, I feel like I’m raising my middle finger high in the air and waving it to 2020.” 

“Graceland Auction,” explains ROCKER, “came about by my lifelong obsession with Presley. I’ve been a bit of a collector and have bid and bought various Elvis stuff. “It makes me laugh and it makes me want to cry.” 

“The Last Offline Lovers” is a song “I wrote to my wife Deborah. We’ve been together for 32 years and she has been my inspiration, love, and strength. All of the instruments on this are acoustic and I played all of them with the exception of the drums performed by Larry Mitchell.” 

Another album highlight is “When Nothing’s Going Right,” a song ROCKER wrote that appears on the Stray Cats’ album last year, 40. “This is the original version I recorded before the Stray Cats’ version. I feel it has that spark of original fire.” 

ROCKER minces no words and looks to brighter day on “Pickin’ and Grinnin.” He says: “I wrote this song as my statement on Trump and the dividing of this country which I love. We all need to reside in the UNITED states of America. Come together gather round. I know that we all can’t agree on everything but we should be able to agree we live in a democracy and that every four years we have an election that should be respected.” 

ROCKER’s infectious party spirit is in full effect on “‘Dog House Shuffle.” “It’s just plain fun! It’s really my tribute to the original rocking bass players that have influenced me so much. These guys are in a way the unsung heroes of rockabilly and early rock. We’ve incorporated these players into the video.” 

Last year, ROCKER was asked about his ability to come up with fresh rockabilly bass-lines. He says: “I’m still discovering things. I still have revelations: ‘how did I not think of this before?’ There are a lot of different rhythms and slaps, and different ways to walk your bass-lines. There’s only 12 notes but there’s an infinite number of ways to play them.” 

The GATHER ROUND track listing is: 

1. Gather Round 

2. Graceland Auction 

3. The Last Offline Lovers 

4. Everybody Wants to be A Cat 

5. Pickin' and Grinnin' 

6. Every Time I See You 

7. A Dirty Martini 

8. When Nothing's Going Right 

9. Dog House Shuffle 

10. Ophelia 

About Lee Rocker: 

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. From the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine, to appearing on Saturday Night Live, to headlining music festivals and touring with the Rolling Stones, Lee Rocker has seen and done it all. In addition to The Stray Cats and the Rolling Stones, Rocker has toured and performed with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and John Fogerty. In 1982, Rocker and his father Stanley Drucker, (classical clarinetist) both received Grammy nominations; this was something that has only occurred twice in the history of the Grammy Awards. In 2012 Lee appeared on Broadway in the hit musical "Million Dollar Quartet" and in 2014 he was inducted into the Bass Player Hall of Fame. Rocker has received numerous honors for his contributions to music and the arts, including being inducted to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and he is a recipient of the Visionary Artist Award by the City of Laguna Beach California. Lee Rocker and his band look forward to touring again and performing Stray Cats hits including "Rock This Town," "Stray Cat Strut" and "Sexy and 17" as well as slamming renditions of songs from his many solo albums. 

Pre-Order the Album: Here 

-Bass Magazine

https://bassmagazine.com/artists/lee-rockers-of-the-stray-cats-announces-release-of-new-solo-album-gather-round

Newsday - Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats to release solo album 

Massapequa native Lee Rocker, of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame trio Stray Cats, is releasing his first solo album in more than a decade. 

The bass player's "Gather Round," on Upright Records, can be preordered for its Jan. 22 release, he announced Thursday. The 10-track "Gather Round," his first album of original music since 2007's "Black Cat Bone," was written mostly during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"My wife Deborah and I hit the road in our Airstream and crisscrossed the country from California to New York and back," Rocker, 59, born Leon Drucker, said in a statement. "We rolled through 20 states from north to south and from east to west. In addition to the pandemic, the presidential election was raging. I wrote songs and music and drove 6,000 miles. It's been a year filled with global disaster and uncertainty. It's also been a time of introspection and for me a time to re-imagine how to record an album under these circumstances." 

His band, consisting of Buzz Campbell, Larry Mitchell and Matt Jordan, "send me their tracks from remote home studios," he said.

-Newsday

https://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/lee-rocker-solo-album-1.50088043

Touring, Stray Cats History, and Live Release Announcement All On LifeMinute.tv  

 

The Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker! 

Grammy-nominated musician and Bass Player Hall of Famer 

Lee Rocker made his mark singing, playing, standing on, spinning and rocking his giant upright bass as a founding member (along with Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom), of the Grammy nominated music group The Stray Cats, who sold over 10 million albums, garnered 23 gold and platinum certified records, 

and were music video pioneers of the MTV.  The Stray Cat’s worldwide mega hits “Stray Cat Strut”, “Sexy and Seventeen” and “Rock this Town” have become a part of the fabric of rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has included “Rock this Town” as one of the 500 most important songs in rock. 

From the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine, to appearing on Saturday Night Live, to headlining the US Festival and touring with the Rolling Stones, Lee Rocker has seen and done it all.   In addition to The Stray Cats and the Rolling Stones, Rocker has toured and performed with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and John Fogerty.  In 1982 Rocker and his father Stanley Drucker, (classical clarinetist) both received Grammy nominations; this was something that has only occurred twice in the history of the Grammy Awards.  In 2012 Lee appeared on Broadway in the hit musical "Million Dollar Quartet" and in 2014 he was inducted into the Bass Player Hall of Fame. Rocker has received numerous honors for his contributions to music and the arts, including being inducted to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and he is a recipient of the Visionary Artist Award by the City of Laguna Beach California. In his concert performances, Lee Rocker rocks every town and leaves every audience on their feet and cheering. 

Lee Rocker has been consistently touring, recording and performing around the globe since 1980 and has cultivated a fanatically loyal following of rockers, rebels and all types of music lovers.   He is known for making his upright double bass appear as if it were a lightweight instrument as he spins, throws it in the air, catches and plays it on stages throughout the world.  His concert show is a time for him to tell stories about his days on the road and in the music business for the last 40 years – Sharing stories about his adventures!

Check out upcoming Stray Cats and Lee Rocker performances at leerocker.com/shows.

Tour Dates