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Interview with the Rocking Dudes

by Jake Silverman
November 20, 2011

Those of you who have been keeping up with my coverage of the Rocking Dudes in the club updates may have noticed that up until now I have made no mention whatsoever of their actual names, except for the one time that I speculated about the moniker of their sporadic bass player -- Mark? I'm still not so sure about that one. In any case, they have been bass-player-less for the last year or two, so that's pretty much a moot point.

You should know that my refusal to mention their names has been no accident, but rather totally intentional. And you should also keep in mind that I have not been trying to preserve their anonymity by concealing their names from our website viewers. Instead, my indifference towards the group has been so profound that I haven't even been able to remember their names, even though I've heard them many times over the years.

Quite frankly, I never had any intention of interviewing the Rocking Dudes. However, this is not to say that they are entirely uninteresting. They did indeed make some interesting efforts to be organic farmers for a brief period, but, sadly, that particular project seems to have petered out, and now the garden plot that they had initially cleared -- this was apparently done for free by a second cousin who lives nearby and has his own tractor and plow – is completely overgrown with weeds that are at least fifteen feet high.

But I've been assured that as far as the organic part goes, they were completely successful. They didn't spend a single red cent on any hazardous pesticides or synthetic fertilizer for their short-lived garden. No, Mother Nature was allowed to reign supreme in that garden. Too bad they never actually got around to planting any seeds in it. I was looking forward to those rocking rutabagas they had promised me. Oops, there I go again.

You may recall that our beer-guzzler-in-residence, our staunchest and firmest supporter of retail alcohol sales, Bert, is probably the number one fan of the Rocking Dudes. He has been a constant presence at their concerts, always cheering them on, forever offering raucous applause and shouts of encouragement at the end of their completely predictable instrumental jams. When nobody else was out there in the audience listening to them, Bert was there.

So, given Bert's unparalleled dedication to the group, I can't say that I was entirely surprised when he drunkenly stumbled up to me one night, and asked me why I hadn't yet done an interview with the Rocking Dudes. I replied that I didn't think they were quite interesting enough to interview.

Well, considering the person who had asked me the question, that wasn't a very tactful response, to say the least. Bert was outraged, and while the Rocking Dudes were taking a break during their set, Bert grabbed the microphone and went off on an inebriated harangue for ten minutes, during which time he insulted me and my website, and explained at great length why the Rocking Dudes were infinitely better than any band that has ever come in to Uncle Steve's, except maybe for Mobius Trip, which, according to Bert, was a tie. He then challenged me to interview the Rocking Dudes, and derisively remarked that maybe I haven't interviewed them yet because I'm afraid that I just couldn't handle it.

I actually agreed with that last particular observation, but not for the reasons that Bert imagined in his delusion. No, I was not concerned that the Rocking Dudes would make me look like a fool if I were to interview them, but rather worried that our interview would be so boring that it would make anyone who read it fall fast asleep after only two or three questions. Because, quite frankly, their music pretty much puts me to sleep, so why would an interview be any different?

Still, I must admit that when Bert threatened to stop buying beer at Uncle Steve’s if I didn’t interview the band, he most definitely got my attention. I consulted with Norm on the matter, and he just rolled his eyes and said, come on, Jake, you can humor Bert a little there, what’s the worst thing that can happen? After some serious reflection, I realized that the worst thing that could happen would be to lose Bert as a customer.

So, I made up my mind to do the interview in spite of my own grave misgivings. After one of their recent shows, I went up to the three members of the band (rhythm guitar, lead guitar, and drums) and asked them when we might do an interview.

They seemed to be surprised that I had even approached them at all, since over the years, I could probably write down everything we’ve ever said to each other on one side of a sheet of paper, and pretty much all of it would be stuff like: “You’re going on after Admiral Porkliver,” or “You got an extra guitar cable handy, looks like this one has a short.”

The lead guitar player just looked me right in the eye and said, “I’ve read what you’ve written about us on your website and I don’t particularly like it.” Then, they packed up their stuff, stepped offstage and walked out the door without saying another word. So, I figured, so much for that, I have my excuse the next time I see Bert.

I told Bert what happened, but he remained firm in his conviction that I must interview the band, and promised me to swear that I wouldn’t make them look bad when I do it. I told him, hey, whatever they say, that’s what I’ll put on the website, if they look bad it’ll be because of what they themselves say to me, and in any case, they don’t want to interview with me anyway. But he said he’d have a word with them.

Well, the next thing I know, I get a call on my cell from Bert, who says, come on over to my sister’s apartment, I’ve got the guys over here, and we’ve all had a few and they’ve loosened up a good bit, and they’re ready to take the plunge. So, I grabbed my digital recorder and got in my car. I figured, what the hell, let’s just get this over with once and for all.

So, here you have the interview. Surprisingly, it didn’t turn out half so bad, and it was kind of nice to get to know the guys a little better. But don’t let that make you think I have any more respect for their music than I did before.

Jake: Okay, it’s recording now. Uh, I haven’t actually prepared any questions for this interview. This is just kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing, if you know what I’m saying. Anyway, I figure that the best way for us to get started is for me to ask you your names.

Bob: You’re kidding me, right?

Jake: Uh, no, not kidding at all, nope.

Frank: He’s not kidding, man. He really honestly doesn’t know our names. Jeez.

Bert: Jake, how many times have you heard their names? I mean, please, come on, Jake! How many years? You’ve got to be joking.

Jake: No, uh, sorry to say, actually, I’m not. They all kind of mix together in my head, you know. I’ve heard their names, sure, but I was never really sure which name referred to whom, you know.

Tom: Drums, the name is Tom.

Jake: Thanks, Tom.

Tom: That’s Bob, lead guitar, and Frank, rhythm guitar.

Jake: Thanks, thanks again.

Bob: You know -- this is so insulting, just, just so totally pathetic. You know what? That’s it. I’m not doing this. Bert -- thanks for the brewskis. It’s been a good visit, but I’ll be taking off now.

Bert: Come on, Bob, sure, he’s a jerk, but come on, think of your fans. Do it for them, Bob. For the fans, Bob.

Bob: For the fans.

Bert: That’s right.

Bob: Okay. Alright, then. Whatever. Proceed.

Jake: So, great, I’ve got your names -- that’s a nice start.

Bob: What’s your name?

Jake: Jake.

Bob: Oh, really? Gee, Jake. I didn’t know that until now.

Bert: Touché, Bob. Touché big time.

Jake: So, tell me how you guys got started playing together.

Bob: Well, I’m the leader of the group. I’m kind of the nucleus of the whole Rocking Dudes scene. You see, I’m the one who mastered all of the blues scales, which is why I’m on lead guitar. I’m telling you, and I mean it, nobody has studied Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton leads quite like I have. Nobody. I know them backwards and forwards.

Bert: It’s totally true!

Jake: Bert -- thanks for your input, but this interview is with the band, not with you.

Bert: Whoa! Kind of sensitive there, aren’t we?

Jake: So, Bob, tell us how you put the band together.

Bob: It wasn’t a conscious or deliberate thing, you know. I mean, me and Frank, we’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve been jamming together ever since we first picked up our guitars.

Frank: We go way back. I mean, we were in grade school together.

Bob: Kind of like John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Frank: Exactly.

Tom: So, as their drummer, I was kind of like Ringo. I was the later addition after they’d already established themselves.

Frank: Right, but Tom’s no outsider. We’re a cohesive unit. Like the three musketeers. All for one and one for all.

Jake: What about your bass player?

Bob: Well, we’re like the Doors in a way -- we don’t need a bass player.

Frank: But we take it a step further, we don’t need a singer either.

Jake: But you did have a bass player for a while, if I remember correctly.

Tom: We’re not working with that guy anymore.

Frank: Nah, it’s over with him. Never again. No way.

Jake: His name was Mark, right?

Bob: Look, can we move on to another question? Do you mind?

Jake: Sounds like a sore spot with you guys.

Bob: Hey, dude. I repeat myself. Next question, okay?

Jake: Uh, alright. Um, so, how did you come up with the name Rocking Dudes?

Bob: We thought long and hard about that one. We came up with a list, didn’t we?

Tom: You and Frank came up with the names, I wrote them down.

Frank: Yeah, there were like almost 100 different names we were looking at.

Jake: So, who chose the winner from the list?

Bob: Oh, it didn’t work that way at all. We didn’t use any of the ones on the list. But I came pretty close to choosing the name Blues Players. I think that one could have worked for us.

Frank: Nah, you see what happened was, Bob’s girlfriend at the time, Jennifer, at our concerts she kept yelling out, alright, rocking the house dudes, rocking the house! And I was, like, we’re the house rocking dudes, maybe that could be the name for the band!

Bob: So, Jennifer said, that’s what you’ll be, the House Rocking Dudes.

Bert: But then, Jennifer dumped Bob. Dumped him like an atom bomb. Like a ten ton load of pig manure. I mean, there was blood on the floor.

Bob: Bert, I love you, man, I really do, but shut your frigging pie hole, alright? Just shut it.

Frank: We kind of liked the name, but after all it was his ex’s idea, you know, so we modified it, so like when we’re famous and have a whole lot of money, she can’t sue us and say that she gets a percentage of our earnings or anything, since she came up with the name for our band.

Bob: Right, because Rocking Dudes is a different name. It’s not the same. Am I right or what?

Jake: Uh, yeah. Sounds to me like a pretty watertight argument.

Tom: A little detail like that could end up being very important on down the road. You just never know about those things.

Jake: So, you’ve already mentioned Hendrix and Clapton as big influences on your playing.

Bob: Yeah, but you know what, Jake? Sure, the influences are there, of course, but all of our songs are totally original.

Jake: Well, I’m not so convinced, really. I mean, to me, it seems like you’ve borrowed pretty heavily from a number of popular tunes. In fact, I’d say that you’ve pretty much lifted all of your licks from established guitar players. If you cut a CD of your stuff and tried to sell it, I’ll bet you that you’d have a slew of copyright infringement cases on your hands.

Bob: Jake, I’ve been meaning to tell you this for a long time, and now I have my chance. Look here, you have no idea what you’re talking about. You like to think you’re a music critic. I believe that Stoughton Finney of Admiral Porkliver said it best when he wrote that you have no taste in music and that your opinion means nothing.

Jake: But I’m not even getting into how good or how bad I think your music is. I just said that I thought you’d get sued for copyright violation. I mean, those are two different things, am I right?

Frank: I don’t know. Like, maybe if you have to ask yourself that question, you don’t really know. Know what I’m saying, man?

Bob: Got any more questions, Jake? Anything else?

Jake: No, not really, actually.

Bob: Well, alright then. Want a beer?

Jake: Sure, thanks, why not. Let me turn this thing off.

Thus ended my interview with the band. I’ll be sure to refer back to it from time to time when I need to remember their names. I can’t actually recommend that you go to Uncle Steve’s to hear these guys, unless you like the equivalent of live blues elevator music without bass guitar. But if you like to come to Uncle Steve’s to drink beer, don’t let these guys stop you from dropping by. We need the revenue generated from your drinking. Remember, it’s for a very good cause, because without Uncle Steve’s, the Bratwurst live music scene just wouldn’t be the same.

"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...