Who is RowdyAce?
I wish I had a dollar for every time I've had to answer that question, and then explain the twisted history of the band name...but here goes. First of all, RowdyAce is the name of the band, not a person, not even the person writing this blog. For the record, I have been called "Rowdy" by my friends for many years BECAUSE I've played in RowdyAce (that's me second from the right). The band is not called RowdyAce because of me (how vain would that be!?)
I joined "The" Rowdy Ace Band in circa 1991 as the drummer and began a journey that I could neither foresee or choose. The band was five people and very talented. Very quickly, one of the original (of only two) members left the band and that left the sole heir of the Rowdy Ace name to Jerry "JJ" Jenkins (far right in the attached picture). But back to the name...the band was actually started sometime in the 1980's in Amarillo, TX. The story goes that they had been playing as something else and decided they needed an "edgier" name. After many rounds of names and beer, whiskey and other assorted fun stuff, someone yelled "Call it The Rowdy Ace Band, you know after that guy on TV!" They were actually talking about the character played by Clint Eastwood on the television show Rawhide named Rowdy YATES, After the laughing and teasing died down, the name kind of fell off the brains of all involved as well. Until the next gig...
Legend has it that the lead singer and Guitar Player, Gene Smith stepped to the Mic, and said "Hi, we're the Rowdy Y....er Ace Band from Amarillo Texas". And the name was born.
In the 90's we choose to drop "The" and "Band" and just go with Rowdy Ace because there really wan't anybody named Rowdy or Ace or any combination in the band. But we did like the vibe the name brought with it, and we set out to live up to it. For the five years between 1991 and 1996, we did just that. We played all over the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico and Oklahoma and got as rowdy as we wanted to be. We were a mainstay in the big and small dancehalls of the time and played for more festivals and benefits than you can shake a stick at. We did our first opening show at the Amarillo Civic Center with Michael Martin Murphy and never looked back.
In 1996, I moved on to Dallas due to my job, but the band lived on in Amarillo for a few more years until other members moved off, or people went off to play with other bands. It was revived in Amarillo in the late 2000's with JJ Jenkins again at the wheel. While that was going on, I had moved out East, and was recording and playing solo as "RowdyAce" in and around the New York City / New Jersey / Pennsylvania area. The legend never stopped and I'd think that all those attached to the band from the 80's on still have a little rowdiness in their hearts.
So that brings us to today, here in the Northern Virginia Area. RowdyAce is now in the musical hands of me and two (or is it more?) new bearers of the legend. I neither selected the name, nor fought the proposal to use it. Not because it highlights me...far from it (that band is going to be called Tolbert's Trainwreck someday). The name has a history, and an expectation; this band is going to get a little rowdy, have lots of fun and make some great friends along the way.
A long time ago, then bass player, Charlie Hoss (middle of the attached picture) said in an interview..."we may not be the best band you'll hear, but we won't be outworked, and you won't have more fun than you will with us". I can live with that!
Mystery Solved....RowdyAce is the Band!
Hope to see y'all at a RowdyAce show soon!
-Todd "Rowdy" Tolbert