Rocco, Rock On! 



ROCCO, ROCK ON!
1962-2009

Rocco embodied the pure spirit of rock-n-roll:
Reckless, outrageous, devout, dead-on-the-money.

His performances could scare and charm you all at once.
 
On guitar, he could make one note sound mean and sweet.
And, like all good friends, he could do the same in life.

He was a mad, wild rocker, and a loving person.

He was a bull in a china shop.
He was also the china shop.

Last time he came to Steel Bridge,
he rode the Greyhound from Rochester, NY.
This time, he'll ride the Mystery Train
from the great beyond.

Forever, we'll proudly carry his spirit forward
in our minds, hearts and music.

Starting in 2009, our fifth year of Steel Bridge,
and continuing for as long as guitars have strings,
an annual night of rock at the Red Room
will henceforth be known as "Rocco, Rock On!"

Stalk the Steel Bridge website for more details as they emerge!

xo,p
 

6 Comments

  • City Newspaper

    City Newspaper

    By Frank De Blase Paulie Rocco was guitarzan, a git-tar slingin' wildman from the jungles of upstate New York. He was the fire in the Firebird and played like no one I've ever heard. He was rock 'n' roll's banshee wail, but most of all he was my friend. We shared laughs, shed tears, shook our money makers, shattered eardrums, shot the moon, and played the blues. I will miss him unbelievably. Rocco and I played our last show together on earth March 7, 2009, at The German House warming up the stage for Rocco's hero, Johnny Winter, before a crowd of about 800. As The White Devils we usually played sitting down, but we hit the first chord and Rocco was out of his seat like he'd been fired from a cannon. He was absolutely on fire, working from the very edge of the stage, his copper pipe slide notes slithering and sailing about the joint as he prowled the stage with that big Cheshire grin. He mesmerized the crowd with his playing and his flexible antics. I swear he was double jointed everywhere. We ended the set with a mass of feedback and mayhem after finishing a new tune called "Life And Times." And that show --- that last show --- pretty much summed up the life and times of Paulie Rocco; a man who lived loud and played loud, a man who lived hard and played hard, a man who was a gentleman and a gentle man who lived and breathed music. Despite Rocco's boundless energy and unparalleled talent, he was haunted by a dark side. Rocco struggled with depression. Music was his only salvation from this affliction. He was an extremely proud man and frequently resisted help. But when it came to encouraging or helping others, refusing him was out of the question. When Parkinson's disease threatened to take my guitar from me, Rocco knew music was my only salvation as well. He was there showing me new, easier tunings and seeing through my façade of acceptance. He knew I had to keep playing and he kept the band going when I despaired. I did the same for him. Playing with Rocco is the best thing I've ever done musically. Everything had song potential. Rocco and I wrote songs from everyday experiences, especially things we'd say or pick up in random everyday conversations. While teasing me about whether or not my wife-to-be would say yes or no at our wedding, we wrote "My Maybe." "Hollywood" came together after we equated writing your name in the dirt of a car's rear window as a poor man's version of putting your hand's in cement along the walk of fame. The day Rocco died, I had minor surgery on my eye. As I sat on the edge of my bed that night with my guitar, tears mixed with blood rolled down my face. The light bulb went off in my head and I got excited before I realized that I was going to have to write "Bloody Tears" by myself now. Rocco left this world a better place, and me a better, albeit brokenhearted, man.
    By Frank De Blase

    Paulie Rocco was guitarzan, a git-tar slingin' wildman from the jungles of upstate New York. He was the fire in the Firebird and played like no one I've ever heard. He was rock 'n' roll's banshee wail, but most of all he was my friend. We shared laughs, shed tears, shook our money makers, shattered eardrums, shot the moon, and played the blues. I will miss him unbelievably.

    Rocco and I played our last show together on earth March 7, 2009, at The German House warming up the stage for Rocco's hero, Johnny Winter, before a crowd of about 800. As The White Devils we usually played sitting down, but we hit the first chord and Rocco was out of his seat like he'd been fired from a cannon. He was absolutely on fire, working from the very edge of the stage, his copper pipe slide notes slithering and sailing about the joint as he prowled the stage with that big Cheshire grin. He mesmerized the crowd with his playing and his flexible antics. I swear he was double jointed everywhere. We ended the set with a mass of feedback and mayhem after finishing a new tune called "Life And Times." And that show --- that last show --- pretty much summed up the life and times of Paulie Rocco; a man who lived loud and played loud, a man who lived hard and played hard, a man who was a gentleman and a gentle man who lived and breathed music.

    Despite Rocco's boundless energy and unparalleled talent, he was haunted by a dark side. Rocco struggled with depression. Music was his only salvation from this affliction. He was an extremely proud man and frequently resisted help. But when it came to encouraging or helping others, refusing him was out of the question.

    When Parkinson's disease threatened to take my guitar from me, Rocco knew music was my only salvation as well. He was there showing me new, easier tunings and seeing through my façade of acceptance. He knew I had to keep playing and he kept the band going when I despaired. I did the same for him. Playing with Rocco is the best thing I've ever done musically.

    Everything had song potential. Rocco and I wrote songs from everyday experiences, especially things we'd say or pick up in random everyday conversations. While teasing me about whether or not my wife-to-be would say yes or no at our wedding, we wrote "My Maybe." "Hollywood" came together after we equated writing your name in the dirt of a car's rear window as a poor man's version of putting your hand's in cement along the walk of fame.

    The day Rocco died, I had minor surgery on my eye. As I sat on the edge of my bed that night with my guitar, tears mixed with blood rolled down my face. The light bulb went off in my head and I got excited before I realized that I was going to have to write "Bloody Tears" by myself now.

    Rocco left this world a better place, and me a better, albeit brokenhearted, man.
  • Bruce Reaves

    Bruce Reaves

    Thanks for posting this tribute to Rocco. He was one of a kind and an amazing talent. He will forever be missed and loved.
    Thanks for posting this tribute to Rocco. He was one of a kind and an amazing talent. He
    will forever be missed and loved.
  • Steely

    Steely

    When one thinks of a 79 year old bridge being a "Monument to those who served" one thinks of the many from past generations who served in a time of need. Big word: Need. Those volunteers and their families provided something more from their hearts and talents for the benefit of all of us. Yet, this memorial is written today, in the present tense, about Rocco. His Spirit embodies his generation. A generation who also use their hearts and talents for something more in a time of need. Except the need had never before been this large. Never before had a generation had to seriously consider the Harbor without its Steel Bridge. And do something about it. Rocco not only understood that this was about much more than a Bridge, but showed us how it is done. He stepped forward, strong and sure and stayed right there. Solid. Unquestionable passion and dedication in action. In so doing Rocco brought balance to the need right away and inspiration to his family of friends forever. A very quick and sure leg up to ride on. To ROCK on. Steel Bridge remains in her Harbor with Rocco at heart. In honor, with gratitude and love to him, as you can see each time she reaches her earthbound form to salute his ever larger Spirit. There will always be bridges for you where ever you may roam, Rocco. Especially this Steel Bridge.
    When one thinks of a 79 year old bridge being a "Monument to those who served" one thinks of the many from past generations who served in a time of need. Big word: Need. Those volunteers and their families provided something more from their hearts and talents for the benefit of all of us.

    Yet, this memorial is written today, in the present tense, about Rocco. His Spirit embodies his generation. A generation who also use their hearts and talents for something more in a time of need. Except the need had never before been this large. Never before had a generation had to seriously consider the Harbor without its Steel Bridge. And do something about it. Rocco not only understood that this was about much more than a Bridge, but showed us how it is done. He stepped forward, strong and sure and stayed right there. Solid. Unquestionable passion and dedication in action.
    In so doing Rocco brought balance to the need right away and inspiration to his family of friends forever. A very quick and sure leg up to ride on. To ROCK on. Steel Bridge remains in her Harbor with Rocco at heart. In honor, with gratitude and love to him, as you can see each time she reaches her earthbound form to salute his ever larger Spirit. There will always be bridges for you where ever you may roam, Rocco. Especially this Steel Bridge.
  • layne sterling

    layne sterling

    as songwriters in the SBSF 2009 construction zone gather, at maybe this very moment, for the first time, i have just come upon this page for the first time. pat, i had, and still have, smiling tears as i read what you so eloquently wrote to honour rocco. whenever i see someone playing a firebird i think of rocco. he appeared to be a timeless firebrand of music. our music. what we live for. legend stuff. i am so happy that there is a 'rocco rock on' stage. if i were physically in sturgeon bay this week that's where i would be. i'll be there in spirit and, hopefully, encounter rocco along the way.
    as songwriters in the SBSF 2009 construction zone gather, at maybe this very moment,
    for
    the first time, i have just come upon this page for the first time.
    pat, i had, and still have, smiling tears as i read what you so eloquently wrote to honour
    rocco.
    whenever i see someone playing a firebird i think of rocco.
    he appeared to be a timeless firebrand of music. our music. what we live for. legend
    stuff.
    i am so happy that there is a 'rocco rock on' stage. if i were physically in sturgeon bay
    this
    week that's where i would be. i'll be there in spirit and, hopefully, encounter rocco
    along
    the way.


  • Kim Manning

    Kim Manning

    Rocco- I miss your spirit and talent- May we play together in the skies love and light
    Rocco- I miss your spirit and talent- May we play together in the skies
    love and light
  • dan riley

    dan riley

    I introduced Rocco and stood backstage watching. Who IS this guy? His soaring, screaming guitar told of pain and glory. He was a monster. Could this be the same quiet and humble man I had just met? He stood proud and sang proud and left his indelible mark on all. Over the years I had the privilege of getting to know this beautiful man for what he was and always will be... a pure, shining spirit of rock and roll. Rock On, Rocco!
    I introduced Rocco and stood backstage watching. Who IS this guy? His soaring, screaming guitar told of pain and glory. He was a monster. Could this be the same quiet and humble man I had just met? He stood proud and sang proud and left his indelible mark on all. Over the years I had the privilege of getting to know this beautiful man for what he was and always will be... a pure, shining spirit of rock and roll. Rock On, Rocco!