On the Record with Randy
Country singer Randy Rogers was recently nice enough to invite me to come see him tape a video for his new CD Just a Matter of Time at Houston Studios. There was mix-up and I thought the invitation also included lunch. It didn't. I was pretty shocked about not getting to eat and I wrote a (hopefully) funny article called "Slamburgers, the Care and Feeding of Reporters," that talked about how I couldn't pay attention to Randy during the interview because I was so hungry.
Olivia Flores Alvarez: What's it like trying to translate the music you created for the stage into a music video?
Randy Rogers: What you do is you try to take what you do live and keep that same feel to it. You try to look as natural as you would be if you didn't haven anyone watching you, if you were just singing in your shower rocking out.
I'm doing a video here today and so today is a pretty cool day in the life of the Randy Rogers Band. I grew up watching CMT and MTV and now I'm actually getting to be a part of that, so that's exciting.
It used to be you could have a hit single and successful tour, but now you also have to have a hit video and a bestselling ringtone. A musician's job is getting bigger and bigger, isn't it?
Rogers: I think the medium has changed over the years, dramatically. And the scary thing is that it's probably going to change even more. I got signed this last year to my first major label and when I was reading my contract, there were so many pages that had to do with the future of music. What if CDs are obsolete in the next ten years? What if there's some brand new way to communicate that we haven't even thought of yet?
Most country stars write at least some of their music. Tell me about how country music demands so much more from you than other genres, as a singer and a showman, but also as a musician and a songwriter.
Rogers: I think country music does demand a lot, much more than most other genres. Even with modern country music, which is further away from roots music, even that demands that you sing and write and play an instrument. In other genres, you can get by being absolutely beautiful and singing just okay. But country music, and I hope it continues to, really tries to stay centered on the music itself.
Country stars are always on the road. How many shows do you play a year?
Rogers: For six years now, we've played about 250- 260 shows a year.
You make my job really hard because there isn't one label that I can stick on your music and just say, "Randy is this, Randy is that." Some of that, I'm sure, is very purposeful and a reflection of how talented the band is that you can go in all these different directions. But what do we call you?
Rogers: I think it's weird to try to categorize any kind of music. It's just music. The five of us [in the Randy Rogers Band] really share everything, the money and the [creative duties]. And since all of us come from very different backgrounds, it makes a raw sound of the band doing country ass songs in not such a country ass way. That's the best way that I can define it, really.
I couldn't be rock and roll if I tried. I sound like a hick, I write songs about drinking, loving, losing, and leaving. The rest of the band pushes the envelope a little bit, and creates this edge to what might not be there without them. We wouldn't have any kind of edge if it was left up to me. All the songs would sound sappy, very country and western. But what we've created are country and western songs for a rock band.
And that's not taking anything away from the guys in the band, because they can play country circles around your ass, but that's not what they choose to do. So we end up with a blend, of country - progressive music that hopefully will make a change, hopefully make a difference.
I see you still being billed as the Randy Rogers Band. Next year am I going to see you billed as Randy Rogers and his Band, and then just Randy Rogers? Are you going to play Diana Ross and chunk the Supremes after a while?
Rogers: We're blood brothers. We really are. All the tears, and sweat we put into this, we're brothers. When we went to go shop for labels, we made it clear, it was either all five of us or none of us. I'm firm about that and I'll stand by that. As long as they want to be part of the band, they are.