The Rockets’ Articles

The Rockets AR Times Article: 2002

The following article appeared in the Arkansas Times in 2002, on the occasion of the Rockets being voted “Best Band” in the Arkansas Times Readers’ Poll for the 6th year in a row.

Rockets aren’t just about golden oldies anymore

June 14, 2002 by Jim Harris

Have you caught Arkansas’s favorite cover band lately? Is that really modern rock coming out of the Rockets’ amplifiers?

Yes, says the band’s business manager and one of two keyboardists, Phillip Wallace. The Rockets, who regularly win Arkansas Times readers’ vote as best band in Arkansas, aren’t just playing the oldies anymore.

“That’s our mainstay, classic rock, but we do stuff from today ­­Dave Matthews Band, Smash Mouth, Barenaked Ladies,” Wallace says. “Especially with the horn section, with the addition of them, that’s allowed us to go out and do a lot of R&B and funk ­­ Earth Wind and Fire, Ohio Players, Kool and the Gang, James Brown.”

When Johnny Roberts fronted the Rockets, you could count on mostly classic rock songs. When Roberts left the band in 2000, the Rockets added the horns ­­ Keni Reed, Charles McCollum and Clifford Hawkins – and added a new dimension. Hawkins even steps out and impersonates James Brown, dance moves and all. And any of seven Rockets will be the lead singer on a given song.

Davis Hendricks, who fronted the KSSN Bandits, joined the Rockets when Roberts left. The other members are guitarists Bill Ramsey and Jim Johnson, keyboardists Wallace and Joe Marchese, Lynn Fitzgerald on bass and Chuck Robertson on drums. All are professional businessmen by day, musicians at night.

“It’s a fun, multitalented group,” Wallace said. “Those guys have so many years of experience. Most of them have played with every major band this state has ever had.”

The Rockets mostly play private functions, weddings and large charity events, but you can catch them every so often at Anderson’s Cajun’s Wharf. “We like to step out every now and then and have a good time for ourselves like at Cajun’s. That’s what it comes down to is having a good time.”

© 2002, The Arkansas Times. Reproduced with kind permission.