August 08, 1983 12:00 PM

Red Rockers

These four musicians might be considered a born-again rock band, though not in the conventional sense. The Rockers started out in Algiers, La. in 1980 as a pure punk group called the Rat Finks. They were so punk they once refused to play a New Orleans club called Jimmy’s because it banned slam dancing. But a trip to California, as trips to California are wont to do, got the renamed band thinking differently. After a punkish debut on San Francisco’s progressive 415 label, the Rockers realized that if they recast themselves as “a fun dance band,” as bassist Darren Hill puts it, they would “reach more people.” Sure enough, the group is now one of three bands on a joint 415/Columbia Records label. What’s surprising, given the earmarks of a sellout their story bears, is that the Rockers are now dishing out some very credible tooth-and-nails rock. Ground-breaking? Hardly. But driving, brash, melodic, hard-headed, a touch idealistic—all the classic American rock attributes are present here. The Rockers may have cleaned up their act, but they haven’t sanitized it.

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