Born on July 27th, 1952, and originally hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rocky Ruckman originally got his start in music in the Pittsburgh area as a vocalist and guitarist. Though his musical efforts were well received in the "steal state," it wouldn't be until his move to Florida where Ruckman would eventually make a huge impact on the Tampa Bay music scene.

Throughout the years that would follow, Ruckman would consistently inject the Tampa Bay area with a huge dose of his cutting-edge contemporary sound. Driven mainly by his spirited & powerful voice, aggressive guitar work, and always attacking the stage with a vengeance unlike anyone else, Ruckman soon earned the respect of fans, colleagues, and critics alike.

Between the early 80's to the late 90's, Ruckman would front several memorable, highly talked about, and successful club and concert rock bands in the Tampa Bay area. Among these bands were Monarch (1980-1982), Full Steam Eddy (1982-1983), Blanco (1983-1987), and Misspent Youth (1987-1988). However, the band that made the biggest impression, and the band that Ruckman became most remembered for is Rocky Ruckman & The Beat Heathens. During the bands tenure which lasted from 1988-1997, Rocky Ruckman & The Beat Heathens would consistently pack area venues with their huge following.

“I arrived just as the band hit the stage for their second set. The place was jam packed to capacity. I was really shocked that this band had drawn such a huge crowd and I was being humbled in the worst sort of way.... I barely had room to move through the crowd to where I could, at least see the band.... The versatility that Rocky Ruckman and the Beat Heathens showed during that one set was incredible”

- Lee Ann Leach, Thrust Magazine Music Critic, 1992

Rocky Ruckman & The Beat Heathens had a sound all to their own that was ever present on their recordings. The band released 2 recordings including a 5-song EP early on, followed by their 1993 album, “It’s a Scary World Out There.”

“...Each and every member of the band is adept at many instruments and all of these are incorporated into a full bodied sound. You can't even categorize what this band is doing musically. I heard bits and pieces of blues, rock, country, swing, bop, reggae, etc.”

- Lee Ann Leach, Thrust Magazine Music Critic, 1992

Ruckman was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the early summer of 2013. Following his initial diagnoses, Ruckman started enduring multiple health problems relating to his cancer.

On June 29th, 2014, A benefit concert, “Fight For Rocky At Ringside,” was held for Ruckman at the Ringside Café in St. Petersburg. The event drew a packed house that included Ruckman's family, friends, fans, and colleagues, all showing their support, love, and respect for the local music veteran. At the event, Ruckman was presented with his official nomination into the Tampa Bay Music Hall of Fame. 

Ruckman passed away on April 16th, 2015 at the age of 62.

 Rocky Ruckman & the Beat Heathens

5-song EP

Rocky Ruckman & the Beat Heathens

It's a Scary World Out There (1993)

 

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