KRMG In-Depth: The passing of “Doc Roc,” Tulsa neurosurgeon and Cain’s Ballroom owner

Dr. James Rodgers, owner of Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa (photo courtesy: Facebook)

TULSA — The neurosurgeon and music lover who happened to see a news story about a crumbling, yet historic, music venue in Tulsa and decided to buy it has died.

Dr. James Rodgers, AKA “Doc Roc,” died Wednesday at the age of 71 after succumbing to a rare form of cancer.

[Hear our KRMG In-Depth story with Chad Rodgers HERE]

He and his family made the decision to buy Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa just over twenty years ago, despite the fact that only one of them had even set foot inside.

His son Chad Rodgers related the story to our KRMG reporter Thursday.

“He went out on a limb. He’d never been in the place,” he said. “even though having grown up in Tulsa... We went in and looked at it on a Tuesday, and bought it on a Thursday,” though at the time the well-known venue was badly in need of repair.

The Rodgers family went to work restoring the building, as well as Cain’s international reputation as a top-notch musical venue.

Acts ranging from Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys to the Sex Pistols have played there, along with Metallica, U2, and of course local legends like J.J. Cale and Leon Russell.

Chad Rodgers tells KRMG his family is “holding up,” though he’s particularly upset that his dad didn’t live long enough to see Cain’s celebrate its centennial, which will occur next year.

“What kills me the most is that he won’t be here when Cain’s turns 100 next year,” he said. “We’ve been talking about these amazing celebrations in 2024. And unfortunately he won’t be here, but there’ll be many (celebrations) in his honor.”

Services are pending, and Chad said they’ll also hold a celebration of Dr. Rodgers’ life at Cain’s in the near future, which will be open to the public.





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