Good Riddance To The Copper Rocket

The venue was dingy and they cheated the bands that performed there.

By Patrick Jude

We all knew this would inevitably come. It appears as though Maitland’s hole in the wall venue, The Copper Rocket, is making its grand exit. Much of the room was torn out and packed into a moving truck earlier this week, according to Orlando Weekly.

Rumors have it that the building will be renovated into a coffee shop under new ownership.

I can’t tell you how many friends have told me they’ve had trouble receiving payment after playing a gig, or had to suffer buffoonery in another form from the management and staff at The Copper Rocket.

These aren’t exactly uncommon traits in most Orlando venues, giving bands a hard time and all, but The Copper Rocket exemplified them more so than just about any other place in town.

The venue was dingy. For whatever reason, the stage was at the bottom end of a “C” shaped room, and, needless to say, the sound quality just wasn’t there. The smell of the place, coming from the kitchen, was the only redeeming quality. Unfortunately, speaking from experience, the smell didn’t match the taste.

The Copper Rocket’s owner, Selman, notoriously threw a Facebook fit after not receiving an award in Orlando Weekly’s annual “Best Of” – which is really just a popularity contest comparable to high school superlatives. Nonetheless, Selman was PISSED. He even went out of his way to create a petition.

Something about stopping Weekly, or recounting votes; nobody paid much attention aside from publically lambasting the quickly deleted Facebook post with screenshots.

After this episode, The Copper Rocket put on their business pants. Following the closing of Orlando’s longtime free loving hippie joint, Red Lion Pub, Selman offered to begin hosting their famous weekly event Twisted Tuesday at his joint – what a swell guy. Unfortunately for The Copper Rocket, it didn’t jive nearly as well. The relocated Twisted Tuesday came to a halt. To Selman’s dismay the event moved itself over to St. Matthews Tavern on Mills, where it is now, again, held weekly.

Honestly, the lion’s share of Orlando venues blow, but none blew quite as hard as The Copper Rocket. Ticket prices have rose up into the $10 and $12 range at a lot of music joints, making them far less accessible for the everyday show-goer. Worse than the lack of accessibility, is the fact most of the door fee doesn’t even go back to the bands in some cases.

Orlando bands should firmly set their prices, and cease playing at venues that simply capitalize on their labor and audience. Remember, those venues would be empty without the bands and their fans that spend egregious amounts for overpriced drinks.

I remember feeling a distinct disappointment after the closing of The Peacock Room, and absolutely after the activity halt of The Space. It’s sad to say, but I actually feel better knowing there will be one less place for bands to play in Orlando.

A living room would be a better place to perform than The Copper Rocket ever was.

Currently Reading – The Shining by Stephen King


Born and raised in Orlando, and Socialist to the core, Patrick Jude graduated from The University Of Central Florida in 2015. He currently holds a B.A. in English Literature, as well as an A.A. in Jazz Performance from Valencia College. Jude is heavily tattooed, abstains from alcohol and is an avid Packers fan.