23. Rockshots & the Club scene in the 90s

Danny & Jenny Rampling

On the back of the House music explosion we decided to branch out a bit & mix things up a touch…

We started to bring Djs like Danny Rampling up from the south to play with us at Rockshots on a Thursday night.

He was totally running the London scene at the time, with the reputation of his ground breaking Club night Shoom.

This was a really bold move & the first time London Djs of that stature had ever played up in Newcastle.

We’d seen him spin when we were out in Ibiza & knew we simply had to bring him to play tunes up here.

We didn’t have to mess on with agents as our friend Martin knew Danny & his wife Jenny.

She managed him at the time & hooked us up for a fee of just £300.00

(Editor’s note: Yup kids, that’s how long ago this was..!)  & guess what – Total, utter roadblock..!

When we say roadblock, we mean it quite literally. The crowds wanting to get in that night were so vast, that they actually blocked the whole road.

So we worked with Danny & Jenny again & then went even harder at it…


Other Clubs & Djs drop by

Now we also looked to other UK Clubs, as similar House music scenes were now springing up in cities all over the country.

We would work with cool Clubs from other cities like G-Love from Liverpool, Love Ranch from London, Mark & Adrian from Luv-Dup & loads more, bringing outside talent & tunes into Newcastle’s Underground Club scene, in an attempt to make it even more fun.

We worked with loads of really good local talent too, giving those all important first Dj breaks to young guys (as we all were back then.. Ha!).

Guys like Steven Dunn, Tony Dalgleish, Mike Hawkeye & Raj Pannu, to name just a few of the many great young Djs who all helped make Rockers as great as it was.


The after hours scene

Here is one of the big, after hours tunes, that we’d all be listening to in different locations, all over the city, once the Club finished at 2 am on a Friday mornings.

The Club was so mad you had to make a point of going somewhere to chill afterwards or you’d never get off to kip.

Kinda sums up the lot of us & how we rolled, way back then…


Here come the Black Americans

We were so successful it was sick, so we began branching out further, bringing top Black, USA House music legends, like Tony Humphries & the Robert Owens to play deeper, more soulful House sets at our Thursday night too.

These were the absolute heyday of Thursday Rockshots – brilliant, brilliant times.

So brilliant, that it felt like every kid for miles around had become totally immersed in the Underground Club lifestyle.


The end is nigh…

By now the ecstasy tsunami had a proper hold on the city. Other Clubs began to switch on to House Music & we started to see people like charvers, coming into Clubs for the first time.

The pills had taught them to dance, but it was the pills, not the music that led them.

It was here, it all started to kind of diverge away, from where we were headed with our dream of our own Club.

The good times kept rolling on, then suddenly it seemed like overnight, Clubbing had turned into a national industry.

Our Sound of Music Thursday night at Rockshots was listed as one of the top 10 Club nights in the country, by the dance media.

We could feel the bubble was about to burst though, as the people listing us had never even been to the Club before..!

The Clubland media scene was now really just a complete con, only interested in selling adverts to what had now become a mass market. Don’t believe the hype – The end was nigh.

That scene was great fun, but living that kinda lifestyle took its toll on a whole generation of clubbers.


The Legacy of Rockshots

Rockshots kept rolling & got madder & madder until our activities there quite literally imploded in the mid 90s.

Lucky for us they did, as by that time we had turned a major corner (see below) & were totally re focusing our groove.

Rockers eventually shut after the Police got a proper hard on for Adrian & seemed to hound the life out of him.

The Club was then converted into flats /offices & almost overnight, the biggest single catalyst in creating what you know as modern Newcastle’s Club & Gay cultures – was gone.

What a great run we had though, we did 8 years that properly (& literally) flew by!

Rockshots was a truly epic, decadent & liberating institution, that absolutely shaped night life this City & it is still sorely missed by us all.

We are truly proud to have been so closely associated with it, for so many years, during such an insane & significant time period, in the development of modern music, Club culture & the city of Newcastle itself.