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The Rocky Athas Group

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Buddy Miles first discovered Rocky Athas’ inventive guitar playing in the late 1970’s when Rocky’s band Lightning opened for Miles Express. Rocky had already been named as one of the original “Texas Tornadoes”. It would be two years before Stevie Ray Vaughan, would receive this honor. You can open the pages of Stevie Ray Soul To Soul, by Kerri Leigh and read Rocky’s recollection of childhood memories that he and Stevie Ray Vaughan shared. They were schoolmates and friends growing up in the Dallas suburb of Oak Cliff, Texas.

By age 23, Rocky Athas was honored as one of Texas’ Ten Best guitarists as an inductee to BUDDY Magazine’s TexasTornadoes. He holds this honor with such noted guitarists as ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Eric Johnson, Bugs Henderson, Johnny Winter, John Nitzinger, and Jimmy Vaughan. Athas grew up playing neighborhood gigs with childhood pal Stevie Ray Vaughan, and shortly thereafter flip-flopped headliner chores in a series of shows with another friend, Eric Johnson. No Less than Billy Gibbons, Pantera’s “Dime-Bag” Darrell Abbott, and the New Bohemians’ Kenny Withrow are long-time admirers of the Oak Cliff guitarist.

Rocky wasn’t only recognized by Texas musicians, the English rock band “Thin Lizzy” wrote the song ‘Cocky Rocky” after hearing Rocky play one night at “Mother Blues”, a local Dallas club. Queen guitarist Brian May was also on hand for those performances and was so floored by Rocky’s finger tapping style that he incorporated it on the next Queen album. May later revealed that it was the guitarist from Mother Blues who first introduced him to this style, well before Eddie Van Halen became known for this.

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