Gerry Seader rocked The Villages for 21 years but had to stop rolling due to a shutdown caused by the Coronavirus. But the leader of Rocky and the Rollers has some good news and hope for the future.
“Right now we’re all frustrated but I want the people in The Villages to know they will see us again and we will rock and roll together once more,” Seader said.
Rocky this month started a new website and said the band has been nominated for a prestigious music hall of fame. But these are trying times for the group.
Rocky and the Rollers returned from playing their Caribbean cruise on March 1. Then they played a few more dates but have been out of work ever since.
“It’s tough on the guys in the band, and it’s tough on me – I’ve been playing music for 42 years and never had more than a week off,” said Seader, who recently moved from The Villages to Yankeetown.
“We’re musicians, we can’t go file for unemployment,” he said. “We’re all frustrated but like everybody else, we have to deal with it.”
One way Rocky is coping without banging the drums in concert is growing a beard.
“I’m not shaving it off until we get back on stage,” he said, looking like a mellow Jerry Garcia.
The Rollers may not play live, but they have found a home on the internet to stay in touch with their huge Villages’ following and raise money for band members. The group includes singer Al Morse, along with Bruce Wallace, Al Layton, Pat Gallo, Bruce Nardi, Steve Faulkner and Rick Abbott.
Seader, along with his announcer/assistant producer DJ Al Brady, created a pay web site at http://rockysrockincruises.com/vip-green-room/. Those who join can see Rocky interview such musical performers as Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, Gary Puckett, Gary U.S. Bonds, Jay Siegel of the Tokens and Peggy March, who had the original hit titled “I Will Follow Him.”
“I’m doing OK, but I wanted to do something for the guys in the band,” Seader said. His segment is called “Behind the Music.”
In addition to the interviews with Rocky, the website allows Villages rock historian Brady to present an hour of music, trivia and background on the artists and the songs. It’s called “Rock’N’Roll Palace.”
Until the COVID-19 crisis hit, Rocky and the Rollers were riding high. Seader said the group has been nominated to The East Coast Music Hall of Fame. The list of previous inductees includes such stars as Neil Sedaka, Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon, Connie Francis, Dionne Warwick and Tony Orlando.
This year’s inductees are expected to be announced later this month, and Rocky is hoping to be among them.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “You have to be voted in by your peers. It would mean a lot to me.”
Rocky and the Rollers also are scheduled to return to Las Vegas in October.
“Last year, for the first time, we headlined the South Point Hotel and Casino on the Strip,” Rocky said. “We played there before, but never as a headliner. It was a thrill.”
He added a bigger thrill was seeing the band’s picture portrayed on a billboard on the Strip near the hotel.
“That got us all pumped up,” Rocky said. “We killed them. It was a great show and they asked us back.”
Rocky and the Rollers also hosts two popular annual cruises and he is hopeful that in 2021, the February and summer cruises will happen.
“If they can figure out a way to make it safe, we will be there,” Rocky said.
For now, though, he would be just as happy playing the town squares in The Villages.
“No band has done it any longer than we have,” Rocky said. “We were supposed to play our 21st anniversary show in The Villages in April. We missed out on it and it hurt.”
Rocky has spent the last two months with his wife, Nikki, in Yankeetown. He loves to sail his boat and live the quiet life in a rural setting.
“It’s pretty quiet around here, and when you’re out rocking and rolling, you need a little peace and quiet,” he said.
For now, though, he can’t wait to pound those drums, plug in the amps and play “Runaround Sue” for the Villagers once more.
“Tell the people in The Villages to stay safe, be smart and keep on rocking,” he said. “Sooner or later, we will be there with them.”