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we got five years, what a surprise
rocko dorsey ends; or, why parting is such sweet sorrow
by jeffrey d. walker

When Rocko and Dave told me they were moving to Nashville, I knew it would be hard. I wished them the best of luck, of course; but knowing I was not going to follow meant that my stint as the bass player for Rocko Dorsey was over.

Since their announcement, through our last show in September, and up to their departure last week, I've crossed a wave of emotions. In Shakespeare's, "Romeo and Juliet", Juliet describes parting from Romeo as "such sweet sorrow." This phrase succinctly captures the feeling of pain when something cherished is reaching its conclusion, evoking a recollection of why that something is, in fact, cherished. I think that 80's rock band, Cinderella, explained this feeling perfectly when they sang their hit, "Don't know what you got (till it's gone)".

Prior to answering the Craigslist ad which brought me to Rocko Dorsey in 2005, I had been unrelentingly gigging with all sorts of original rock bands in my spare time for almost ten years. I could have had no idea that I would end up staying on with these brothers from Upstate, New York for five-straight-years, longer than I'd stayed with any previous band; but, as David Bowie said, "We got five years, what a surprise."

And in those five years, I tracked my first full-length studio album, was in my first music video, gigged in 11 different states, opened for labels acts like OAR, Reel Big Fish, The Living End, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, New Model Army, and made multiple television and radio appearances.

The scale of what we did leaves me dumbstruck when I think of it. Perhaps, "Thunderstruck", as AC/DC would say. Like, The Living End show at Philadelphia's TLA; I recall seeing our name on the big marquee, and seeing the packed room just before we took the stage. We were just before a band on the Columbia Records label, and were astonished when we were cheered as they were booed (Philadelphia may be host to the most brutally honest crowds that exist). I think about people who drove across state lines in order to come see us again; who then gleefully invited us into their home when we passed through their town; who came back again and again, transforming from fans into true friends.

And at the same time as I relish our victories, I realize the distance that we still had to cross to reach real fame and fortune. The list of aforementioned bands we opened for are all are real touring acts, but they are far from, say, Radiohead level. Or Coldplay. Or Lady Gaga. What I mean to say is, there are levels of true musical success. And while during my tenure with Rocko Dorsey, we reached some heights I never dreamed were really attainable, we still only rose a modest distance between the ground and where the true stars reside. In context, the breadth of what it really takes to get there is much more staggering. David Allen Coe summed it up in The Ride, when he said, "Cause if you're big-star bound, let me warn you it's a long, hard ride."

But though Rocko and Dave will continue that ride in Nashville, my part in that trip now concluded, we still have one trick left up our collective sleeves: A&E's new series, "Strange Days with Bob Saget", which is currently set to premiere on November 30th at 10PM ET / PT, with back-to-back episodes, will briefly feature Rocko Dorsey in Episode 5, as the band playing the Toga Party. This was filmed back in the spring, and it's funny now that this, arguably our biggest accomplishment of all time, will not air until long after we split. But as PM Dawn said, "That's the way it goes, I guess."

But just because my ride with Rocko and Dave has ended, history and odds say that I'll saddle up with some other project before too long and see where that ride takes me. We may have no more chance at success that did Don Quixote challenging the windmill. But if the odds of achieving fame frequently stopped most musicians, I can only imagine the crap we'd be listening to right now.


A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.

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tracey kelley
11.15.10 @ 8:02a

Aw, dude. I'm sorry. You guys were tight.

jael mchenry
11.15.10 @ 11:18a

You guys rocked, for serious. Guess from now you'll just rock separately, and your message at the end is dead-on. Rockers keep rocking.

jeffrey walker
11.17.10 @ 2:16p

Official news from A&E website:

What we were told was "episode 5" is now "episode 3"


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