On odd occasions in darkened corners of Bath’s less salubrious hostelries one might come across gentlemen of a certain age reminiscing about the long gone but fondly remembered Rocky Ricketts. Or to give the band its full title, Rocky Ricketts and the Jet Pilots of Jive Not Forgetting the Lovely Rockettes.
Bath’s finest ever rock band, Rocky Ricketts was an outrageous spoof that mocked the grandiose posturing of its more famous contemporaries in the seventies. So close was its parody to the genuine article that it tended to tour real rock venues both in the UK and in Holland. Thus it was often pared with headline bands the members of which were not always aware that their support that evening was undermining them by sending them up something rotten.
One band with a string of number one hits who did get it and who were in fact great fans, solved the problem of frequently being upstaged by the Rocky Show’s antics by resorting to always going on first. Pretty unheard of in the annals of rock history, don’t you think?
I played Rocky’s manager Vince, by the way, and I would signal the start of the show by coming on and ostentatiously disinfecting the spoof rock star’s microphone. Merely a couple of years ago the self same thing happened for real when I had to make an announcement (as myself) at a big rock gig and was roundly chided by the sound crew for even considering breathing on so-and-so’s mike. And believe it or not, out came the Wet Wipes!
Later, Rocky had another incarnation in the form of P.G.Trips which poked similar fun at psychodelia. Again, it was as good as the real thing but with tongue planted firmly in cheek
I was reminded of this while watching a Top of the Pops television compilation from the seventies this week. There, posing away on the bongos as part of a mega group (which shall remain anonymous) was a guy who back then suddenly realised halfway through our show that he might possibly be the subject of our satire. The audience were in fake rapture, but glancing into the wings I was somewhat alarmed to see the one-time mega-star attempting to throttle our stage manager!
So much for peace and love, man!