Rocky Ricketts

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!

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10 Responses to Rocky Ricketts

  1. Colin and Frances Mansfield says:

    hi Ralph, we would love a picture of the famous Rocky Ricketts. Hope you are well,
    love Frances and Colin MansfieldX

  2. Colonel Wildtrousers says:

    As an impressionable 19 year old I spent the New Years eve in 1975 at Baths pavilion dance hall to see what I had been realisable informed was the worlds best R&R band. Having missed The Who at the same venue a few years earlier….. I knew I could not let this chance pass me by.

    Every NY Eve I wonder if I will live long enough to experience a better NY eve experience…..nothing has come close, the music, the tinned vegetables, the Mecca of R&R Bath Pavilion.

    I’ve been the proud owner of the vinyl recording that keeps the best NY eve experience alive for many years, word gets out that I own this pressing and the requests to make copy still keep rolling in……ok they don’t keep rolling but from time to time someone will ask to borrow the LP.

    Does the original master disc still exist? Is not time to reissue this master piece?
    I think so…….my copy, like me”… almost worn out.

  3. Ralph Oswick says:

    Sorry Colonel, I’ve been off air for a while with various debilitating aches and pains. I have forwarded your message to Rocky himself, now retired and living in Frome where all the old rock stars retire. Sorry, that’s Bruton isn’t it. I think he has the last remaining copy of the LP, all the others having been melted down to make shellac varnish to sell to Walcot Street furniture restorers.

  4. Al Buck says:

    I was lucky enough to witness a gig by Rocky Ricketts and the Jet Pilots of Jive etc. at Essex University in the ’70s. Since then, I have been trying to find some trace of them on the internet (hoping for a fuzzy hand-held video, or an audio download) to no avail. I would happily pay for anything that may have been recorded (however unprofessionally) as they made such a lasting impression on me, by their personality, musicianship, stagecraft and humour.
    Surely Rocky is not so infirm and elderly to not be able put something together to earn a bit of pension? Please???? Many fans would be absolutely delighted.

    • Ralph Oswick says:

      There is a whole section about Rocky in the new Bath Arts Workshop 50th Anniversary book published by Tangent Press! Loads of great photos. Bath Arts Workshop, Counter Culture in the 1970’s

      • Al Buck says:

        Brilliant! Thanks, Ralph.
        It was such a great work of art/event/creation, it left a lifelong impression.
        I’ll be buying a copy.
        Up to anything these days?

      • Ralph Oswick says:

        Mainly concentrating on getting used to my new knee but normally I would be helping Bath Comedy Festival by applying for grants and thinking up stunts.

      • Colonel Wildtrousers says:

        Al… if you enjoyed RR and events curated by BAW during the 70’s the 50th Anniversary Book Ralph mentions is a must read……Californian Beat poets performing in Twerton – now if that hasn’t aroused your curiosity what will. A fascinating chronicle (pun intended) of those times and insight to ‘where are they now’.

      • Al Buck says:

        Thanks all for your help and comments – I have ordered the book.
        I’m so happy I could bite the head off a robin.

      • Colonel Wildtrousers says:

        Glad my comment was of help Al…..alas, I am distressed that such joy might manifest itself in the decapitation of a Robin!

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