Standing on a bass drum made Rocko Dorsey stand out to Gretsch Guitars, and as a result the instrument manufacturer has featured the Auburn-area performer on its website.
The Jan. 11 gretsch.com feature, "Wait, You Play Polka?!" was written by Dorsey, 34, of Scipio. Its title comes from the concert where he got Gretsch's attention: Subbing in on guitar with Verona stalwarts Fritz's Polka Band at the Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame. The polka audience stereotypes Dorsey, he wrote, but they tend to take him seriously once he gets on stage.
"When I jump on a chair or climb the drum kit during a mostly-senior-citizen-attended event to do my guitar solo, I can see Fritz grinning from ear to ear," Dorsey wrote.
Dorsey also wrote about his history with Gretsch. It began with his first Tennessee Rose model guitar, Rose, and includes a White Falcon, Grace, that he received as a wedding present from his wife.
That history made his feature on Gretsch's website all the more awesome, Dorsey said.
"It's a really big honor," he said. "That was the coolest thing that could possibly happen."
When he's not playing with polka bands, Dorsey performs solo, which he'll do Thursday at Parker's Grille & Tap House in Auburn and Friday at The Lakehouse Pub in Skaneateles. His sets combine covers and originals carrying a rock sound that leans toward pop, country or "whatever mood I'm in," he said.
Dorsey previously led a band, also named Rocko Dorsey, whose sound he described as "punkabilly." The band opened for Australia's The Living End, another punkabilly band, as well as OAR, Reel Big Fish and Eddie Money. It dissolved amicably after a little over a decade, Dorsey said.
Dorsey only performs sporadically, as his full-time focus is his wedding DJ business, RD Entertainment Services. But he's looking to start a new band that reflects what he's been performing lately.
"I'm not necessarily trying to be a rock star anymore. I'm at an age where I want to do what makes me happy," he said. "It would be cool to have every other song be a little different, especially for a guy who plays in a polka band one weekend and in a rock band the next."
Five questions with Rocko Dorsey
Q. What's your favorite song to play live?
A. I'd say right now it's "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel.
Q. What's the first concert you remember seeing?
A. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I don't even want to speculate on the year. It was in Rochester somewhere; it might have been RIT or Geneseo.
Q. Who's your biggest musical influence?
A. Probably The Beatles. Musically, they have everything and they're so diverse. I think that gets in your head when you're a kid.
Q. What's your "desert island" album?
A. It might have to be "Pinkerton" by Weezer.
Q. What's one venue you've always wanted to play but haven't had a chance to yet?
A. Probably Austin City Limits. It's a stage I've always wanted to get on.