Stray Cat set to rock this blues festWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re taking on Satan, you better have the bravado to back it up. Lee Rocker does and he packs a bass —a big bass. He leaves Lucifer in the dust on his latest disc, “Racin’ the Devil.”
“I really dug into this record and had a lot of fun making it,” he said from Chicago. “It’s a more diverse record — a lot of influences in there, from what I usually do back to the Stray Cats’ stuff to more what I call Americana.”
That driving sound of rockabilly, toe-tapping swing and smoldering blues is led by Rocker’s slap style on the upright bass. Guitarists Buzz Campbell and Brophy Dale twang it up, and Jimmy Sage keeps the beat on drums.
Rocker even revved up a blistering version of “Rock This Town”: “Well, put a quarter rock in that can/ But all it played was techno, man.”
“It was the last song for the record. I didn’t have any intention of going back and redoing anything,” Rocker said. “I was in the studio with Jimmy, playing with a feel, just a piece of music. I just started singing ‘Rock This Town’ to it. And we thought we were on to something and told the guitarists, ‘Get in here!’ ”
Three years ago, Rocker reunited with Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom to tour again as the Stray Cats.
“It was a lot of fun. We had grown up together, spent a big part of our lives together,” Rocker said. “It was the 25th anniversary, so we decided to go back to Europe — that’s where it really started for us. It was a blast. It was a bit like going back to your high school reunion.”
Rocker will roll into town to headline the Rock, Rhythm & Blues Festival July 29 at 8:30 p.m. at Promenade Park. The event starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7; children 12 and younger get in for free.
“I think it’s great to be doing these festivals,” Rocker said. “What I do has one foot in the blues in a way — all American music does. It’s a great fit, and I’m looking forward to being there.”
Toledo Rock, Rhythm & Blues Festival
Promenade Park, Saturday, July 29
2 p.m. JT & The Clouds
3 p.m. Maurice John, Vaughn Chicago, Blues Review
4 p.m. The Howl
5:30 p.m. Bryan Lee & The Blues Power Band
7 p.m. Marah
8:30 p.m. Lee Rocker