ST. PETERSBURG – In one week, over a dozen Tampa Bay area acts will come together to help raise money for cancer survivor and beloved area musician, Rocky Ruckman.
A veteran of the Tampa Bay music scene for over three decades, Ruckman was diagnosed with prostate cancer early last summer. Since his diagnoses, Ruckman has endured multiple health problems relating to his cancer. Due to this, Ruckman has been struggling with ongoing family financial issues, and has been left unable to perform in order to provide for his family.
On Sunday, June 29th, the Ringside Café will host the “Fight For Rocky At Ringside” benefit concert. Presented by Chitlin Circus Productions, the event will feature performances from The Greg Billings Band, Stormbringer, Lee Pons, T.C. Carr & Bolts of Blue, Sarasota Slim, Woody & The Woodtones, The Red X Band, Stone Soul, Shawn Brown, The Branson Welsh Band, The Donni Bennett Band, Hal Hammer Jr. & The Cross Creek Blues Band, and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. The show will conclude with an All-Star Jam hosted by Branson Welsh.
The benefit concert will also feature a silent auction on unique music memorabilia, as well as hourly raffle drawings.
Though not confirmed yet, it is also being planned for the event for a representative from the Tampa Bay Music Scene Historical Society to present Ruckman with his “Certificate of Nomination” from the Tampa Bay Music Hall of Fame as well.
About Rocky Ruckman:
Born on July 27th, 1952, and originally hailing from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Rocky Ruckman originally got his start in music in the Pittsburgh area as a vocalist and guitarist. Though his musical efforts were well received in the steal state, it wouldn’t be until his move to Florida where Ruckman would eventually make a huge impact on the Tampa Bay music scene.
Throughout the years that would follow, Ruckman would consistently inject the Tampa Bay area with a huge dose of his cutting-edge contemporary sound. Driven mainly by his spirited & powerful voice, aggressive guitar work, and always attacking the stage with a vengeance unlike anyone else, Ruckman soon earned the respect of fans, players and critics alike.
Between the early 80’s to the late 90’s, Ruckman would front several memorable, highly talked about, and successful club and concert rock bands in the Tampa Bay area. Among these bands were Monarch (1980-1982), Full Steam Eddy (1982-1983), Blanco (1983-1987), and Misspent Youth 1987-1988). However, the band that made the biggest impression, and the band that Ruckman is most remembered for is Rocky Ruckman & The Beat Heathens. During the bands tenure which lasted from 1988-1997, Rocky Ruckman & The Beat Heathens would consistently pack area venues with their huge following.
“I arrived just as the band hit the stage for their second set. The place was jam packed to capacity. I was really shocked that this band had drawn such a huge crowd and I was being humbled in the worst sort of way…. I barely had room to move through the crowd to where I could, at least see the band…. The versatility that Rocky Ruckman and the Beat Heathens showed during that one set was incredible” – Lee Ann Leach, Thrust Magazine Music Critic, 1992
Rocky Ruckman & The Beat Heathens had a sound all to their own that was ever present on their recordings. The band released 2 recordings including a 5-song EP early on, followed by their 1993 album, “It’s a Scary World Out There.”
“…Each and every member of the band is adept at many instruments and all of these are incorporated into a full bodied sound. You can’t even categorize what this band is doing musically. I heard bits and pieces of blues, rock, country, swing, bop, reggae, etc.” – Lee ann Leach, Thrust Magazine Music Critic, 1992
If you go:
The “Fight For Rocky At Ringside” concert will take place on Sunday, June 29th at the Ringside Café located at 16 2nd Street North in St. Petersburg. The show will start at 2:00pm and continue untill 2:00am. Admission to the event is free, though donations are both accepted and welcomed.
*Event organizers are still looking for stage equipment to use for back-line at the event. If you would like to donate the use of any equipment, please contact David Lee Maxwell at 727-565-6524 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Equipment needed is 1 bass amp, 2 guitar amps, and 1 versatile keyboard.
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