Pan Rocks is the brainchild of heavy metal drummer turned internationally recognized steelpannist, Tracy Thornton. The idea is to have as many steelpannists as possible on stage performing Rock music. Tracy has always dreamed of hearing Rock Music (his first love) performed on the Steelpan (his second love) on a stage with reckless abandonment.
The show is based on Tracy’s steelpan Pan Rocks CDs, “Pan Rocks”, “Pan Rocks II…Pan Bangerz Ball” & “Pan Rocks lll…Ska Punk’d!” (released on his own label Steel Pandemic Records, llc) which pay tribute to your favorite Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk Rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Metallica, The Who, Jane’s Addiction, Black Sabbath , The Ramones, Green Day, Slayer and Nirvana just to name a few. So imagine a stage full of steelpannists rocking out those tunes, along with some of Tracy’s heavy rockin’ original compositions and you have “Pan Rocks”!
Since the first Pan Rocks concert in 2013, Tracy hasn’t slowed down. He has put on Pan Rocks themed concerts with University, High School and Community steel bands throughout the continental US, as well as performed in Hawaii, Trinidad & Tobago, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Mexico, Canada and throughout Europe. He has performed on stage with Greg Bissonette (Ringo Star, David Lee Roth), John Blackwell (Prince and Justin Timberlake), Ndugu Chancler (Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock) Stephen Perkin’s (Jane’s Addiction, Porno For Pyros) and he was chosen to put together a 75+ piece steel band to perform a showcase concert at PASIC 2015 in San Antonio, TX.
This past summer Pan Rocks took the next step in getting the steelpan instrument to the masses and went into Ocean Studios Burbank in Los Angeles, CA for the “Project LA” sessions. Over 25 steelpannists from all over the US & Canada came in to record with LA Rock Icons Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big/David Lee Roth), Tracii Guns (LA Guns) & Bruce Kulick (KISS/Grand Funk Railroad), all produced by Matt Starr (Mr. Big/Ace Frehley). The project was mixed by Smiley Sean (Tommy Lee) and mastered by Dave Collins (Metallica/Soundgarden/The Police). The groundbreaking project was recorded in 360 video and a documentary will be released in the near future of this first-of-its-kind recording session.
“Pan Rocks” soul purpose is to get people excited about the steelpan art form, while at the same time, show the world the possibilities, the capabilities and diversity this amazing gift to the world from Trinidad & Tobago has by introducing it into uncharted territories and musical genres such as Rock, Punk and Heavy Metal!
Before renowned steelpan artist Tracy Thornton entered the wonderful world of “Pan”, he was very busy being a head banging, stick twirling hard rock drummer who loved to slam dance.
Tracy was the heavy hitting timekeeper for bands such as Tipper Ghore, Soul Society and slammed percussion for highly acclaimed Toxic Popsickle. Tracy's bands toured up and down the US east coast, opening for bands like the Ramones, Pantera, Suicidal Tendencies, Wrathchild and Brittany Fox just to name a few. Playing venues like NYC’s infamous CBGB’s and Lalapalooza Festival 92. All of this before he even thought of Pan.
Since entering the steelpan world, Tracy has performed throughout the continental US, Hawaii, Japan, China, Mexico, Canada, Europe and throughout the Caribbean including many pilgrimages to the birthplace of pan, “Trinidad & Tobago” to perform in “Panorama” and “Carnival”. Tracy was the founder and leader of Been Caught Steelin’ and Sons Of Steel. During SOS’s run, they were the most touring steelband in the country and were lamented as the most exciting steelband in the country due to their highly energetic stage show and Tracy’s smokin’ compositions and arrangements.
Tracy is the founder and CEO of Steel Pandemic Records, LLC and his original and steelpan tribute cds have been sold worldwide. His “Pan For Punks…A Steelpan Tribute To The Ramones” project got him national attention. Tracy was featured in SPIN Magazine, NPR’s show “All Songs Considered”, was voted top 10 for 2006 best album by Global Rhythm Magazine and was given two thumbs up by founding member Tommy Ramone. Tracy was personally invited to open the “Joey Ramone Birthday Bash” in NYC in 2006 by Joey Ramone’s brother and show organizer Mickey Leigh. Tracy has gone on to perform at the “Bash” many times since.
Tracy’s original music has been featured in NCIS LA, Comedy Central’s hit show “Workaholics”, Trini Toon’s cartoon short “De Wild Meat Famalee” just to name a few.
Tracy’s roots in rock music and his love and passion for the steelpan artform have created an unlikely but powerfully blissful marriage. Add that with his exciting, unique and innovative sound with his engaging personality and you have a winning combination that is inspiring a whole new generation of pan players. Tracy has always wanted to gather as many pan players as possible to rock out and show the world that this amazing instrument from the Island of Trinidad and the rock music he grew up on are a natural fit.