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Harpo De Roma resurrects Rogue Rage

One by one, Harpo De Roma carefully selected members for his rock-blues project from the local musicians playing at his weekly jam at the Trophy Club. "Harpo was organizing these jam sessions at the Trophy Club, and he would have the oppor-tunity to listen to a lot of different bands," says pianist Bill Eckart, one of the chosen. "It became clear there was different levels of musicianship, and Harpo was watching."

Of the musicians, De Roma, a harp player, selected five for his newly resurrected band Rogue Rage, including drummer Sandy Ficca, guitarist Eric Heuschele, Eckart and bassist Rick Bolz. Drummer Jeff Schrick frequently fills in for Ficca, who is often on tour.

"We're all products of the '60s music scene predominantly," says Eckart. "We're baby boomers who grew up with rock 'n' roll."

Heuschele will be moving to Albuquerque, N.M., but before he does, Rogue Rage will perform one last gig with the guitarist at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at The Brick in Central Point.

Following the gig on Saturday, talented Ashland guitarist Joe Diehl will replace Heuschele in the band.

Two years ago Rogue Rage featured a different lineup, but after the band broke up in November 2009, De Roma trademarked the band name and started looking for new players.

"These musicians are something else," says De Roma. "The other guys were really good players, but it doesn't get better than Eric, Sandy, Rick and Bill. They are all top-notch professionals."

Members of the new Rogue Rage boast an impressive resume.

Heuschele has shared the stage with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, Firefall and Black Oak Arkansas.

Bolz is recognized as being one of the original members of the 1960s psychedelic band Neighb'rhood Childr'n.

Eckart has played with numerous artists, including Al Stewart, Larry Carlton, Joe Porcaro, Jimmie Haskell and Spike Jones Jr. He also worked as a session musician for famed producer David Rubinson, contributing tracks for The Chambers Brothers and Pointer Sisters, whom he introduced to Rubinson.

De Roma recorded with Rolling Stones' keyboardist Chuck Leavell and Jimi Hendrix's drummer Buddy Miles in his album "Halfway to Cleveland."

Diehl began playing professionally at age 17 with bands such as Tower of Power, Chicago and Average White Band. He now plays with blues artist Karen Lovely.

In 1984, Ficca was offered the drum seat in the rock band Firefall, with whom he continues to play.

De Roma recalls with amusement his first meeting with Ficca. He turned to him and said: "I toured with Buddy Miles; who the hell are you?"

"He (Ficca) just smiled and told me who he was," says De Roma. "At the time, I didn't know his name or the name of Firefall or anything."

Ficca recently founded Use Your Gift, an organization bent on offering individual mentorship to aspiring performing artists. For more information, see www.useyourgift.org.

Rogue Rage plays a variety of Southern rock, originals and hits by Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield, The Allman Brothers, Charlie Musselwhite, The J. Geils Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"This is the first band I've been with that the first time we played 'Free Bird' we nailed it," says De Roma.

See www.myspace.com/roguerageblues or call De Roma at 541-773-3649.

Rick Bolz, left, Harpo DeRoma, front left, Jeff Schrick, front right, Sandy Ficca, back left, Joe Diehl, with guitar, and Bill Eckart, right, are Rogue Rage's most recent lineup. - Photo by Jamie Lusch