Keyword
in
Collection
Date
to
Download Folder

0 items

Houston Breakthrough 1980-04
Pages 26 and 27
Citation
MLA
APA
Chicago/Turabian
Houston Breakthrough 1980-04 - Pages 26 and 27. April 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 11, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4490/show/4484.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(April 1980). Houston Breakthrough 1980-04 - Pages 26 and 27. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4490/show/4484

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1980-04 - Pages 26 and 27, April 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 11, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4490/show/4484.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

URL
Embed Image
Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough 1980-04
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date April 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 32 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Pages 26 and 27
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_559u.JPG
Transcript Doctor Rockit at the Second Office Club. Band members include (I - r) Kenny Blanchet (Scream in' Kenny Bobo), Steve Schmitz (Smitty), Rock Romano (Dr. Rockit), Rich Lay ton blues band and I knew that I could do it from the Cat's Pajamas. KP: Where did you get the name Doctor Rockit? RR: It was just something we made up on the back patio of Anderson Fair one night because we needed a name. There has been a great tradition of doctors in rock and roll history-Z?0cf0r John, Doctor Feelgood, Doctor Hook. KP: Didn't Doctor Bockit start with you and a drummer? RR: Steve Hunter. When I was still in the Natives, Steve Hunter played drums and I played bass behind Rocky Hill to start the Blue Wednesdays, which was an attempt by Anderson Fair and Rocky Hill to get a blues night going. I was looking for people to play the blues with. I had a bunch of real good songs and I was doing a single act. Then, I ran into this guy, Bob Fitz- Simons, from Cleveland, Ohio. He was down here with Terry Ross, who now heads up Terry and the Telephones. Bob and I hit a real close At the same time, I was going to jam with Mike Knutz and Kenneth Blanchet over at the Keg, which is a little dive in the Montrose area. It's a little dive, but it's been written up in Rolling Stone. Kenneth was playing bass for Michael. Kenneth and I hit a really strong note when I would go in and sit with them. It turned out that Kenneth and I and Bob FitzSimons and Steve Hunter got together. We had the core of a band and I wanted to play guitar in this band even though I had been playing bass for about 10 years. It was something that I wanted to do with the Smokin' Fitz and I wanted to play guitar with the Natives. In the original bands I did play guitar, but it always sounded better when I played bass. So, I finally got a bass player that sounded better than me. KP: When did you pick up Rich Layton, your harp player? RR: Rich called me when he got back from a vacation saying that Taxi Dancer was breaking up and he needed a band to go to. I kept him at arm's length for a while, because I had never heard him play except with Taxi Dancer and I did hear him play with Vince Bell. I liked him better when he played with Vince. I thought he lent a musical character to Vince's music that was almost like an orchestra. He still does that with Doctor Rockit. KP: Why did Steve Hunter leave the band? RR: Well, Steve had to leave because he had to make more money than we were making and everybody else had something going. I was painting signs and doing commercial art work to make an extra buck. KP: Isn't Bob FitzSimons a carpenter? RR: Right. He was doing other things to try to make money and actually everybody, including myself, was taking other gigs for the first three months that Doctor Bockit was together, which was the way it had to be because people had to make their own living. Rich already has a full- time job at a place called Media Works. Rich had time to devote to the band, but not as much money as Kenneth. Kenneth was ready to make his survival on it. That's not to say that Rich isn't involved. He really puts his heart and soul into the band and shows up for the rehearsals when he can. He's the one with the most limited time. Our new drummer, Smitty (Steve Schmitz), is in a position like that, too, because he's a carpenter all day long and still plays with the band. KP: Didn't Smitty tour a lot at one time? RR: He did and he doesn't want to tour right now. He wants to be in a band that plays several nights a week. He's playing with Doctor Bockit to have fun. That's the main thing that got everybody together. Kenneth was making a lot of money playing in disco bands all over the state. He played with Fever Tree and with Michael Knutz. He was in demand as a bass player, because he's so great. He didn't have to 26 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH and Bob FitzSimons. play with Doctor Bockit-nobody did. The important thing was the tunes and the dynamic way we could put them down. It isn't a nostalgia band. We were playing those songs just like they were on the radio now. We're playing songs that we learned a long time ago and we're rearranging them. Doctor Bockit is not a purist blues band. It draws from all phases of blues and rhythm and blues-from Marvin Gaye to Lightnm' Hopkins. Most blues bands will have a real stark format that works on the driving pumping thing. We can play about 150 different songs that aren't ours. We're in the middle of learning a lot of original stuff which is really going to be phase three of Doctor Bockit. KP: Will you eventually just do your own music? RR: Sure-I mean, I don't think we'll ever get away from playing rhythm and blues songs because we're taking on the character of a dance band now. Before Doctor Bockit got together, I was trying to put together the Bayou Bhythm and Blues Beview. I just wanted to be responsible for it. I was going to call it: Bock Bomano presents-The Bayou Bhythm and Blues Beview. This week featuring ... It ail stemmed out of going to some zydeco dances with a friend of mine, Clyde Woodward, from Galveston. He and Patty McQueen took me to some zydeco dances, which is cajun rhythm and blues music, you know, like Clifton Chenier and Marcel Degas and Rockin Doopsie and the Twisters. KP: Are these dances publicized? RR: They're not publicized so much, but they advertise on telephone poles with those classic big-block-letter-three-color posters and you won't believe it, they charge $3.50 to walk in the door. People are selling boudin and selling food and ribs. There must be six to seven hundred people in this gigantic auditorium. They're all between 16 and 60 years old. Most of them are in their forties and everyone is rockin' and dancin' to this pumpin' zydeco music. Well, I had a vision at that time. I saw a place to do what I had been trying to do for 10 or 15 years of putting a blues band together for people to dance to and, at the same time, I saw a way to maybe totally bypass the music industry, which has been a goal of mine ever since I dropped out. So, what I saw was a chance to charge $3.50 at the door for people to pack in there and dance and, somehow, someday, make a record and sell it to RCA and just eliminate all that crap. Anyway, I was moved by the blues festivals the last couple of years in Houston. I started seeking out the Thunderbirds and bands in Austin that were blues bands. I used to go and see Freddie King when I was 15 over on Dowl- ing Street. I used to talk to him backstage. He'd show me things. I didn't know him. After he made his big comeback with Leon Russell, I tried to talk to him and he would hardly talk to me. But that was the kind of thing that I was attracted to in music and the feeling that people want to dance to that music. KP: Most of the places that you're playing in don't have a dance floor, although people are making room and dancing. RR: Well, that's because of the limited nature of the politics that I wanted to be involved with in the clubs. The Bayou Bhythm and Blues Beview was going to bypass the clubs. It was going to bypass everything. KP: Is that what you were trying to do with the parties at your house? RR: No. My house was a mini version of that. We weren't booked anywhere for a couple of weekends. We had a real hard time getting booked the first weeks we were together. A couple of us were starving. I had the most to gain from what it looked like, because it was my band in the beginning. I deserved to starve so everybody else could make money. I had gotten commitments from everybody and got them not to book with other bands, except on very rare occasions, when they let me know early. In November, we had so many gigs and we were playing so many nights-and for so little money, I might add-that I forgot to book up December. I didn't really forget, I just had to sleep sometime. December is a great month for bands. All of a sudden, my drummer was getting booked up. I went through three different drummers in December trying to get someone who was willing to play the blues. About every six gigs, we were breaking in a new band. So there were a couple of weekends where we didn't have anything at all. It was terrible for the morale of any band trying to feel like they've got something going. I just said, "Well let's have a party at my house." I have a big old house in the Montrose. The party started about ten o'clock at night. About three or four hundred people came through my house. Not only did Doctor Bockit play, but Terry and the Telephones, the Hammer Ridge Mountain Boys, the Michael Knutz Band. Lucinda came by for a set. A band called Disco-nect (a new-wave band with tubas) showed up. We did it again two weeks later because we didn't have a gig. We played just for the love of wanting people to dance to us and to try to prove to people that we didn't want their money. We wanted their flying feet. The next time it was bigger. It was insane. Horn players from Ray Charles were in there jamming. We just threw two enormous dances which took me two days to clean up after. I can't do that anymore. But it proved to me that we could throw a big party. Scott Prescott, of the Urban Animals, picked up on what was happening real fast and in a way he undercut my efforts. KP: That's when the Urban Animals had their Winter Solstice Party? RR: Yes, starring all the same people that played at my two parties. So, in a sense, he blew my momentum in terms of me throwing a dance and Doctor Bockit making all the money so we could buy equipment instead of having to scuff along. The thing is, that it turned out great for Doctor Bockit. We probably didn't sound as clean because of the PA situation and the strange dungeon of a room on the bayou over there at the Theatre Showcase, but it was packed. That was the turn of the worm for Doctor Bockit-those two parties, and the Urban Animals party where a lot of people saw us in a context where they could dance. I still see a future for the Bayou Bhythm and Blues Beview, because since that party, the money that Doctor Bockit has been making and the number of times we're playing and the kind of clubs, the size of the club-it's all changing. It's getting a lot better. We're almost surviving. We're almost making about half a living now. KP: How big do you want to get? It seems that part of your appeal is your intimacy with the audience. If you start playing bigger places, won't the atmosphere change? RR: When you're playing a place like Anderson Fair, which is probably my favorite gig to be playing, there's not much room to move. We try to get our point across at bigger places, too. It's something that I learned over the last 10 years when I had to relate as a single artist and especially working with Herschel Berry. There's a communication that has to take place with the audience. In a big place, like Cooter's or Whisky River, there's room to move. We jump and dance and go wild when we get the space. There's a whole different element that takes over the band when we're not confined by a small space. We're a party band. We're playing music for people to dance to. I've heard some people call us New Wave because we play hard and we play rock and roll. I resented being called a rock and roll band at first, because I thought we were a blues band first. KP: Why would you resent being called a rock and roll band? RR: Because I wanted to be called a blues band. I wanted to tap that source of people who might consider blues and dancing together. I called it rhythm and blues because we really play rhythm and blues. Then we started calling it rockin' rhythm and blues so we could keep the rock and roll element as a part of our tag. I resented it because my band was starving to try to project an image to appeal to blues purists, blues dancers and people who just might be curious. Now, I feel like we're a rock and roll band, but we're a blues band, too. The same people keep coming back to see us and we keep converting new club crowds. I'm really excited about the future, because I've got two different people talking to me about recording money. We're going to have a record of some nature. I have a feeling that it's going to be half original and half music that we're playing on stage. KP: One weekend at Houlahan's, I saw your son, Steve, acting as emcee. Do you think he will continue introducing you? RR: As far as my music is concerned, Steve's involvement started when I was in the Smokin' Fitz. Steve and I were together. I was moving back to Houston and I was on the street, literally. A lot of my friends were letting me crash a couple of weeks at a time. It was summertime, so I wasn't worried about Steve being in school. Steve started hanging out with me at rehearsals. One day, he started dancing to all the Smokin' Fitz music. KP: How old was he then? RR: He was about five. The Smokin' Fitz music was really wierd. It had a lot of breaks and odd changes because it was a jazz band. Steve had some very expressive dancing worked out to it. I used to let him dance at certain places. Sometimes he'd dance for a couple of sets. He was part of what made the people think the band was so unusual. When we started playing liquor clubs, I didn't want him exposed to that constantly. It was real hard to break him away from it. When school starts, kids can't stay out too late. For a while, he had a band with my piano player called Due/ling Humans. Steve sings and co-writes the material with Bob FitzSimons. Sometimes he'll introduce the band and he'll be wearing a space helmet or he'll be disguised someway. One day, he was totally wrapped in aluminum foil and we played the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind as he approached the stage. He still gets to do that on some weekend nights when he doesn't have to go to school. And, I think it's time to pick him up from school now. APRIL 1980 27 ^