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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rockets - On The Road Again

posted by on June 26 at 10:55 AM

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Last Week one of my favorite blogs, Best Foot Forward, offered Space Rock by Rockets for everyone to download. But they didn’t offer much more info about the group, so here’s a brief history.

In 1972 producer Claude Lemoine produced a single called Future Woman for a band called Crystal. With the single’s poularity the band decided to change it’s name and look, so in 1974 they became The Rocket Men (or Rocketters in France). They shaved their heads, wore matching “space age” outfits and painted themselves with silver make-up. They didn’t quite have the formula right though, unitl 1976 when they changed their name to Rockets. They did a dancier, spacier remake of thier hit Future Woman which brought them, once again, popularity throughout Europe. It didn’t hurt that their live shows were full of lasers, smoke, exploding cannons of fire and a tripped out light show.

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In 1976 they released their self titled album which brought them to the attention of America’s premier disco label, Salsoul. Salsoul signed them onto their offshoot label Tom ‘n’ Jerry Records for Rockets only american album, On The Road Again.

The first side of this album is amazing! The Canned Heat cover, On The Road Again, lays down the blues/funk in a propulsive chugging mix by Tom Moulton. Vocoder lyrics and talk box guitar riffs accentuate the feel of aliens out on a road trip. Surreal and special. Then there’s the instrumental break down in the b-side hit Space Rock. Also mixed by Tom Moulton, this tripped out guitar inflected synth song never fails to get an ass or two shaking. Imagine Gino Soccio mixed with ZZ Top. Interstellar Rock!

The band consisted of Zeus B. Held on Vocoder, Christian Le Bartz on Vocals, “Little” G. L’Her on Bass, Alain Maratrat on Guitars and Synths, Fabrice Quagliotti on Syths and Alain Groetzinger on Drums.

Zeus B. Held would eventually go on to record a couple of sick solo albums then become Europe’s uber-producer of the ‘80’s, producing the likes of Gina X and Nina Hagen.

Producer Claude Lemoine would go on to produce on of the early ‘90’s biggest throw-away dance hits, Jordy’s Durr Durr D’etre Baby! with Rockets band member Maratrat.

Fabrice Quagliotti would join New Wave band Sal Solo in the ‘80’s.

The second side of On The Road Again, is a kinda space-y new age-ish effort, which doesn’t have as much spark or soul as the first side, so I’ll just ignore it.

But you should definately grab this little piece of French Disco/Rock history by the samples at my blog, here!

RSS icon Comments

1

Wow, this is really great. Thanks for sharing these tracks. Something about the chugging, epic space bluesy-ness of it makes me think this is what Hawkwind would've sounded like if they had decided to go disco.

The keyboardist for the Finnish avant-rock band Circle has a side-project called Itavayla which sounds kind of similar, though they're a little more on the rock side.

Also, I wonder if these guys ever considered suing the Blue Man Group for stealing their look.

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