Mingo County native and musician Rocky Isaac, who is best known for recording with rock music icon Jimi Hendrix, died last month in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 73 due to complications from COVID-19.
Isaac was born Nov. 19, 1946, in Newtown, West Virginia, and spent his childhood in the small Mingo County community.
He attended old Red Jacket Junior High School and then went on to Matewan High School where he played in the bands at both schools. His family moved to Williamson the first semester of his senior year and then moved deep into the tough urban area of Washington, D.C., for his last semester in 1962.
Isaac was arguably one of the best drummers the D.C. area had ever produced. He played with some of Washington, D.C.’s finest bands, including The Fallen Angels, Roy Buchanan, Punky Meadows and The Cherry People.
In 1969 Rocky recorded “Crash Landing” with Jimi Hendrix and in total recorded 14 songs with the rock icon, with a total of four being released.
In an interview in 2017, Isaac told the Williamson Daily News that he first ran into Hendrix while playing with his band at a place called Steve Pauls’ Scene in New York City when his bands manager Al Marx talked with Hendrix who wanted Isaac to come “jam with him.”
Isaac, of course, obliged and was invited back for another recording session, where they recorded 14 total songs.
Eventually he hit the road and played in bands that warmed up for the great B.B. King, Ted Nugent and Edgar Winter at concerts in the early 1970s.
Isaac died June 15, and his final resting place is back in his home state in Ramsey, West Virginia, at the Liberty Baptist Cemetery on Lucas Road.
Isaac was preceded in death by his father, Raymond Alfred Isaac; and mother, Leatrice Jean Smith, both from Mingo County; and his brother, Phillip Gregory Isaac; and sister, Candace Elaine Isaac.
He is survived by a daughter, Jennifer Lynn Fleischer; and three sisters, Victoria Ann Chasen of La Mesa, California, Diana Isaac Rosendahl of Parkside, Pennsylvania, and Irma Isaac Pino of Victor, West Virginia; as well as two nephews and three nieces.