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The electro-alien intergalactic disco of Rockets
09.29.2017
08:19 am
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Rockets.
 
Okay, all you adventurous Dangerous Minds readers—come take a ride with me to early 1970s Paris to witness the birth of “space rock” band Rockets. As this post does not include any herbal cerebral enhancement other than the words I’ve written about Rockets and the out-of-sight images of the band dressed up like disco versions of KISS’ Ace Frehley, you might want to take a moment to enhance your perception before continuing with a lil’ “entertainment insurance.” Of course, this is merely a recommendation and should not be taken seriously (yes it should) as I don’t advocate the use of drugs, alcohol or other party favors (yes I do) to help one fully appreciate a visual/auditory experience such as this. Half-assed disclaimers out of the way, let’s learn more about France’s electro-extraterrestrials, Rockets.

In the early 70s, the band was playing bars sans space gear and calling themselves “Crystal” until sometime later in the mid-70s when they decided to change it to “Rocket Men,” known also as “Rocketters” (and then Rockets). Not to be confused with long-time Detroit rock band the Rockets, Rockets went all in with their kooky outer-space look with all five members painting their skin silver and decked out in futuristic-looking spacesuits. Their live shows were as spectacular as you might imagine a gig by a bunch of French disco-loving aliens would be. And more. There were of course lasers, vocoders (a type of “talking synthesizer” that modulates speech) and Rockets vocalist Christian Le Bartz would often regale the audience by spraying them with sparks and smoke that spewed from a sort of cannon gun while he robotically marched around on stage.

So what about the music of Rockets? Well, it’s pretty groovy if you dig Krautrock, DEVO and disco (because, who doesn’t), and for a short time the band was very commercially successful. After releasing their first self-titled album in 1976, Rockets would start making a name for themselves thanks to their live shows and their notorious television appearances. Their second album, On the Road Again,  sent Rockets touring across the world including stops in the U.S. for the first time. In 1979 they released Plasteroid, which sold over 200,000 copies in Italy alone. The follow-up to Plasteriod, 1980’s Galaxy would eclipse this achievement by selling over a million copies worldwide. Despite this success, by 1983 the group began to dissolve starting with the departure of Le Bartz and drummer Alain Groetzinger. Bassist Gerard L’Her would say farewell a year later in 1984.

Far-out footage of Rockets performing numbers from Galaxy and On the Road Again is posted below as well as some surreal photos of the band in their intergalactic getups from back in the day.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.29.2017
08:19 am
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‘Are we not hommes?’: We are Les Rockets!
02.08.2013
04:34 pm
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From one space rocker to another. French band Les Rockets cover Sweden’s The Spotniks’ “Last Space Train,” keeping it all in the cosmic family. The track appeared on Les Rockets self-titled debut album released in 1976.

Versions of this clip have floated around YouTube for a while, but this one is of exceptional quality.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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02.08.2013
04:34 pm
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Stryx: Italian TV Disco madness with Amanda Lear, Grace Jones, Patty Pravo & more
03.10.2011
08:27 am
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In my post about Rockets the other day, I mentioned the Italian TV program Stryx. Here’s some more bizarro music performance clips from the show, in its own particular late 70s batshit/fierce style. They really don’t make ‘em like this anymore! According to Wikipedia:

Stryx thematically referred to Hell, devils and underworld. The scenography featured elements resembling Middle Ages-like gloomy castles and caves… The show caused many controversies in more conservative societies, mainly because of its devilish theme and referring to underworld as well as exposing nudity. Due to numerous protests the show was taken off the broadcast and the production of following episodes was cancelled.

So in these videos, all of which are worth watching, we get two huge gay disco icons in the one clip (Amanda Lear & Grace Jones), Patty Pravo giving Gaga a run for her Illuminati wage packet, Mia Martini getting burnt at the stake in a fabulous glittery dress, and some more of those amazing Rockets. My favourite clip is Gal Costa performing “Relance” - it’s quite subdued for Stryx (apart from the dozen or so extras who are lying still at the front of the stage) but is carried by Costa’s no bullshit performance and the incredible gypsy funk of the track itself. But first let’s start with Grace and Amanda:
 
Grace Jones (introduced by Amanda Lear) - Fame
 

 
After the jump, more Grace Jones, Amanda Lear, Patty Pravo, Gal Costa, Mia Martini and Rockets…

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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03.10.2011
08:27 am
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Sound of SIlver(heads): Rockets on Italian TV 1978
03.06.2011
07:49 pm
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Here’s a great clip of the French space/rock/sci-fi/disco outfit Rockets performing their biggest hit, a cover of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again” on the Italian TV show Stryx in 1978. Rockets combined the electronic pulse of Eurodisco with the driving power of classic 70’s rock. Terry Miller, author of the blog post quoted below, sums Rockets up perfectly: “Imagine Gino Soccio mixed with ZZ Top. Interstellar Rock!” It’s camp and fun, if not a little scary due to the matching bald-heads-and silver-skin look, and just how seriously they are taking it.
 
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Like Giorgio Moroder, Rockets had been around for quite a while before finding international success on the first wave of European disco in the late Seventies, even managing to sign to the hallowed Salsoul Records in the States for one album . Although it’s fair to say they were a novelty act, that didn’t stop them from having some seriously bitchin’ tunes. Their front man Zeus B Held went on to produce a number of well known European acts in the 80s, including Nina Hagen and Gina X Performance. From The Stranger’s Line Out blog (by Miller):

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.

I’ll be posting more from Stryx in the near future, but unfortunately most of the footage does not look or sound as clear as this clip.
 
Rockets - “On The Road Again”
 

 
Rockets -“Space Rock”
 

 
Rockets - “Future Woman”
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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03.06.2011
07:49 pm
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