The late Frank Rollock - 1939-2020 - A true Steelband Icon

Global -  In 1956, at the age of seventeen, this UK steelband icon and his brother Roy founded their own orchestra called Modernaires steelband. His brother, Roy aka Boo played in the famous Trinidad All Stars whom he greatly admired. In 1958, Roy migrated to the UK. Frank followed in 1959 and brought some pans with him and in February 1960, Roy, Frank and some friends took to the streets of Brixton to celebrate Carnival. Their actions were noted as the first time pan was played in Brixton Road and the initiation of the Brixton Carnival. In the late sixties, he played the sax with the Tony Morgan Road Show and the bass guitar with Rudy Jones and the Ambassadors, they toured Germany and played at most of the clubs in the West End.

Frank Rollock
Frank Rollock

He started teaching pan music in 1974 at the Kingsdale Secondary school which is now one of the many South London schools who have benefited from his musical talents. In conjunction with Audrey Dennett, the head of music for ILEA at the time, he was able to form the first ILEA School Steel Orchestra. In the meantime, his seven talented children developed their musical skills on a variety of brass and reed instruments and the family band; The Royaltys enjoyed great success. In 1974, they formed London All Stars and he has directed the band through many successes, including the UK’s first National Steel Band Festival Championship held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1985.

Frank Rollock, pictured at right

He has made untold contributions to the advancement of the Steel Band Movement in the UK. He co-founded the Steel Bands Association of Great Britain (SAGB) and the London Brotherhood of Steel (LBS) and held office in both organisations with unselfish distinction. Along with Randolph Baptiste (deceased) they formed the Pan Players Academy. In 1981, he founded the Brixton Arts Culture and Carnival Committee giving the wider community the opportunity to learn musical instruments and share in the Carnival heritage. He also conducted the first combinations of steel and voice and contemporary dance with Alma Henry staged in Britain. He was approached by Claire Holder to form the UK National Steel Orchestra with the assistance of Randolph 'Bull Bull' Baptiste which performed in Buckingham Palace for the Queen’ Elizabeth 11 Golden Jubilee in 2002. He is a founder member of the UK Steelpan Tuners Guild and the British Association of Steelbands.

It is with great sadness that the UK Steelpan Tuners Guild, the British Association of Steelbands and the global Steelband family offers their sincere condolences on the passing of Mr Frank ‘Mr Carnival’ Rollock on the 20th April 2020. May he Rest in Eternal Peace!  

London Allstars playing "Doh Back Back" by the Mighty Sparrow in the 1984 London Panorama
Remembering Frank Rollock ❤: When he played Pan, you could feel his passion, enjoyment and love for the instrument. The iconic grin says it all. This love and passion was so strong, that it transcended generations. Here he plays Sparrow's Doh Back Back in the 1984 UK Panorama alongside his children, great-grandchildren and LAS band members

Leave a comment in the WST forum

When Steel Talks shirts
now available!
Order yours now!!
When Steel Talks - T Shirt