Bush Whacking

Rockabilly vet attacks White House in song about the war.

Former Stray Cat Lee Rocker swings into Cleveland tonight for a concert of twangy Americana rock pulled from his new album, Black Cat Bone. The lyrics on the 10-track disc both target the mundane (like sitting on a tour bus) and tackle the big issues, like the Iraq war. "Sold Us Down the River," needless to say, addresses the latter. "(It's) my little comment on the war," says the 46-year-old Rocker. "It's not something I make a habit of, but I thought the time was right."Rocker's on the road again after years of touring with the Stray Cats and other garage-rock bands. Put a bass in his hands and an audience in front of him, he says, and he and his quartet are ready to make your feet stomp to punk beats wrapped around roots-rock melodies. "The band right now is a well-tuned machine," says Rocker, who grew up on Long Island and now lives in London. "It's always a pleasure when there's a new record, then to be on the road and play 10 or 12 songs each night."The album also has "more sort of meat to the music," he says. "There are certain elements that always ring true — certain steel and grooves, twang guitar, stand-up bass. Beyond that, the rockabilly, as they call it, is not '50s music. But it's got certain elements that I loved, the textures of that rock 'n' roll." Rocker takes the stage at 9 tonight at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $15. Call 216-383-1124 or visit www.beachlandballroom.com.
Thu., Jan. 31, 9 p.m., 2008