1974 – present (42 years)
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States
Formed in the early 70's by the monstrous Crocus Behemoth (aka David Thomas), Rocket from the Tombs represented Cleveland's dying factories and urban wasteland just as the Detroit pre-punks had done in regards to their decaying city. After sometime, the group caught the eye of guitarist Peter Laughner. Laughner joined RFTT and along with bassist Craig Bell, drummer John Madansky, and guitarist Gene O'Connor, the lineup was solidified.
From the beginning, tensions ran heavily through the band as Behemoth's vocals were unlike anything heard before (save Captain Beefheart) and could only be tolerated by Laughner. What's more, RFTT had a thoroughly artistic approach to their music and Laughner and Behemoth, strongly influenced by Lou Reed and later Television, had an even more artistic direction they wanted the band to head in. This clashed with the other members' loud/fast ethos that fell more in the vein of the Electric Eels and the Stooges.
In late 1975 the group would split into two radically different beings. Laughner and Behemoth (now Thomas again) would form the highly artistic punk/experimental band Pere Ubu. Meanwhile, Gene O'Connor and John Madansky would change their names to Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz respectively. They in turn recruited a young man named Stiv Bators (born Steve Bator) who had once auditioned for RFTT as lead singer. Along with bassist Jeff Magnum (born Jeff Halmagy) and second guitarist Jimmy Zero (born William Wilden), these five raucous, bratty kids from the streets of Cleveland would form a fast paced, Stooges-inflected band called Frankenstein, later renamed the Dead Boys.
In 2003, The Day The Earth Met The Rocket From The Tombs, a combination of demos and radio recordings from 1975, was released. RFTT reunited in the new millenium and along with Richard Lloyd (Television) replacing the late Peter Laughner recorded a live album titled Rocket Redux.
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