Dublin rockabilly band The Rockets are set to record and release a debut EP in late April or early May 2013.
If you’ve attended Liverpool’s annual International Beatles Festival over the past four years, then chances are you’ve encountered The Rockets. If you’ve been to one of their live sets, you’re unlikely to forget them.
The band (known in the U.K. as The Dublin Rockets) have been blowing Beatles audiences off their feet each August with blistering sets of classic – and some rarer – 1950s rock and roll and R&B. Beatles Week – literally a week-long festival of Beatles music – produces some particularly diverse acts, each one having the week of their lives performing their particular brand of Beatles classics and Beatles roots covers from the 1950s. The talent on show can range range from the bad to the good and to great and the downright hilarious, but it’s rarely dull.
In a recent interview between Rockets bassist Shaggy Healy and this writer, Healy explains why the band have been so popular at Beatles Week: “The reason we have been going down so well over the past few years is that we avoid Beatles songs completely, we tap into that wild and formative period of The Beatles career: the Hamburg days.
“Everyone wants to relive the wild leather days when a five-piece Beatles tore up stages, urinated off balconies, drank crates of ale, got into knife fights and were deported for arson. All while The Rolling Stones were studying jazz and economics!”
Of course, that’s somewhat simplifying the paths of both bands, but what Healy is referring to is the carefree period of self exploration and innocence the group lost when they signed with Brian Epstein and became stars. “People relate to that, and they want to see The Beatles as they may have looked and sounded in Europe’s red light capital in 1960″, Healy concludes.
The Rockets have similar backgrounds themselves of course. Influenced by bands like The Clash and the 1950s-esque Stiff Records scene of the late 1970s, The Rockets are drawn from a who’s who of Irish punk and new wave bands such as Puppy Love Bomb, The Cherry Brogues, The Josephs and rock bands such as Eva Dallas, Ely Styles & The Kansas Hawks, and O.C.B.
With that background it’s hardly surprising the band have started to write original material.
“This was all started up as a bit of fun, an outlet, a chance to play some roots rock [and] roll and get paid doing it. But once we got going we realised how much fun it was to write original material which reflected these influences”, Healy explains further.
The Rockets’ debut EP is set to be released in May 2013 after the group secured a funding package from the Irish Government’s Arts and Gaeltacht body, fundit.ie.
Healy and the band are clearly supporters of the crowd funding craze: “It’s a great opportunity and a very worthy body. Anyone with an artistic project can reach out to fans and appreciators to fund the creation of their projects, and each contribution reaps a reward from the artist. On our package you can help fund the project and get anything from a copy of the CD to a production credit on the sleeve and even a private gig in your own living room!”. That’s rock and roll.
Details of the band’s project, including band demos can be followed at http://www.fundit.ie. The band will play a show celebrating the (as yet untitled) EP’s release in the spring.
There’ll be good rockin’ that night.
Photo credit: Paul O’Connor 2013