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{20 Questions} Randy Rogers 2nd Edition

Randy Rogers has been a friend of mine for nearly a decade and a supporter of this website from the time it was first brought online.  He was one of the first to enthusiastically play along with a Twenty Questions interview format I was wanting to try.  I’d seen the way I wanted to do it done on the metal website Metal Sludge.  A mix of questions candid and sincere…a true barometer of a musician’s personality.  That first Randy edition is one of the most viewed articles on our website.  Over the years we’ve tried to connect on doing another official Twenty Questions, but inevitably when we hung out or talked on the phone, an official interview was the last thing on our minds.  So, here it is some four years later on the week of his second national release that I bring to you the Second Edition of Randy Rogers 20 Questions.  Hopefully, it won’t be another four years until the next edition.

1.  Quite a bit has changed for you in the four years since we first did a 20 Questions.  You were going into record what would become Rollercoaster with Radney Foster and your band was starting to build some serious momentum.  If you could, describe your new album, where your career is at right now, and what you are expecting in the future?

Well, we are still making records with Radney Foster.  That’s something I’m really proud of.  He came along with us for our journey, and took us on when we weren’t that big.  This new record is more of the same of what we’ve continued to do through the years.  We all played on this record again, and we wrote 11 of the 12 tracks.  The future will hold more of the same, God willing!  We will continue to tour, write songs, make records…and do our thing.

2.  You are a proud Southwest Texas Bobcat alum, and as we’ve discussed many times, the growth of San Marcos has in some ways mirrored that of your career.  What’s more surprising to you, how big your career has grown?  How big the school and town has grown?

Yeah, it’s crazy.  The wife and I drove around San Marcos last month and we didn’t recognize much.  The house where we met is still there and that’s nice.  We stole a rock from the front yard.  Our career has grown and the town has grown too.  I can honestly tell you that we have not lost our own identity through the growth process.  We know who we are and where we came from and I’m proud of that.

3.  Name association:

-Wade Bowen- Little buddy
-Micky Bruan – Funny as sh*t.
-Brandon Rhyder – Good daddy.
-Peter Dawson – Nashville-dweller; roommate.
-Ryan Turner – Old friend.
-Dierks Bentley – Superstar.
-Ryan Bingham – Vagabond.
-Ray Wylie Hubbard – Outlaw
-Stoney LaRue – Well, well, well.
-Pat Green  – Golfer.
-Miranda Lambert- Bow hunter.
-Justin Frazzell  -Godfather of radio.

4.  Since our last interview, you’ve graduated from Peaches the Suburban to a nice van rig to high-rolling in a bus.  What are the pros and cons of living out of a bus?

Well, the pros are pretty obvious (laughs). Moving bar, video games..tvs and dvds.  There aren’t many cons, but smelly dudes comes to mind really fast!  (laughs).  Also, sleep is a premium because someone is always loud.  And, the freedom of rolling in a van is gone because when the bus stops you’re stuck, unless you convince someone to come and pick you up.

5.  You’re still a relative newlywed, and your wife is incredibly supportive of your career.  Does her support make it easier to head out on those long runs where you’ll be away from home for extended periods?  Can you put into words how having an overall good support system helps you and the band out?

For sure it’s family first with us.  That’s our motto.  A support system at home is far more important than anything else in this crazy business.  I wouldn’t be able to do this without my wife.  It’s like Geoff always says, he plays music for free but gets paid to be away from the wife and kid.  The road is tough.

6.  Your band, in its current form, has been together for nearly six years now.  Y’all have grown to be the tightest, most entertaining unit coming out of Texas these days.  Is that more attributable to being so close off-stage, or is it just the byproduct of playing over 200 shows a year for six years?

Great question!  I think it’s both really.  We are all buddies and that helps the music…and I think that comes across onstage.  Playing so many shows set us apart from many touring Nashville acts.  We are not scared to get up there and go for it no matter what the variables are.  We have fun, and it goes back to the family vibe we have created…it carries across all things we do.

7.  Each year, you and Wade roll out your acoustic songwriter tour.  It is without fail, one of the coolest tours to hit the scene each year.  What is your favorite thing about doing that tour?  What is the most odd song request you’ve gotten on that tour?

Hanging with Wade is by far the coolest part.  He’s one hell of a good guy…and one of the best friends I’ve made along this crazy journey of a career.  We have the best time together.  I am yet to beat him at golf…but that will happen someday! (laughs)  I had a few shots at him this past time but he always pulls through.  And as far as the most odd  song request, well some things never change…it would have to be “Freebird.” Duh! (laughs) People have been yelling for that since I could hold a guitar.

8.  During the last interview you mentioned that the one artist you hadn’t worked with yet that you would like to would be Bruce Robison.  Have you accomplished that goal yet?  And, who’s next on your list of dream collaborators?

I did finally get to write a song with Bruce.  We wrote for this record but the song didn’t make the cut this go around.  It may pop up somewhere down the line, you never know.  We had a great time writing.  Or at least I did…I was a little giddy. (laughs)

10.  Jon “Chops” Richardson and Geoff Hill have contributed nearly as equally to the songwriting as other outside sources.  How does that process work?  Do you ask them for input or do they bring the songs to you?

They both write constantly.  Our whole band does actually.  We all bring songs to the table and then we evaluate them.  There is no asking.  When you write a song you play it for everybody and then they tell you if it’s good or if it sucks.  It makes for a tough crowd at times, but one that I think has made our records stand out.

11.  For the most part in the past, aside from your band members or Radney, you kept your songwriting to yourself.  However, starting with the last record and moving into this new one, you’ve branched out to do much more co-writing.  Describe that experience.

Definitely.  Co-writing is something that I enjoy so much.  The creative process between two people can be magic sometimes.  I am fortunate to have written with some talented folks.  A lot of the co-writes made the last two records.  But, it’s funny you know?  The last two songs I have written, I wrote by myself.  There are times that you feel like co-writing and times you just want or need to write alone.

12.  Favorite touring memory of the following towns:

-Dallas – Adair’s Saloon…ah the memories!  One of the first places we played outside of San Marcos and New Braunfels…we thought we were rock stars!
-Lubbock – Trying to find Buddy Holly’s grave with Wade.   One of the craziest adventures I’ve ever been on.
-Nashville – Exit Inn w/ Ragweed and turning some folks on to how we do it down here.
-Ft. Worth – Selling out Billy Bob’s the first time sticks out.  The live record is another big one.  Actually, each time we get to play there is a big treat because it was the pinnacle to me growing up.
-Houston -Old school Fall Fandango’s, and lots of crazy nights at the Firehouse.
-New Braunfels – Wednesday nights at Saengerhalle were truly special.  I became a better performer because of those nights.  Sometimes I was only playing to three people but it was always very special.
-Little Rock- Playing Sticky Fingers and drinking beer at The Flying Saucer
-Stephenville – New Year’s Eve at City Limits the time when the cops busted our after party.  The Days Inn there will never be the same and I maintain it was all you and the Galleywinter crew’s fault.  I seem to remember fifty people crammed in my room while the cop was outside.  Good times.  (laughs).  And, Larry Joe Taylor’s festival is one of the coolest gigs we do every year, so it sticks out.  It is one that we always look forward to.  It’s like a NASCAR race crossed with the craziest football tailgate and Jimmy Buffett concert ever every year…basically right up our alley.  (laughs)  Seriously though,  Larry Joe focuses on the craft of songwriting and highlighting guys who can write and he sticks whoever he digs right next to a big draw like Ragweed.  I’ve taken parts of that for our Sake of the Song festival.

13.  I know you are close with Britney Spears due to the time she spent at your church camp as a kid.  During her out of control spiral during the past year, did you ever feel like reaching out and intervening?

Britney and I are still close.  She did call.  I am proud of her comeback.  The media can be hard on you when you’re down.

14.  Who is the better rapper Brady Black or Wade Bowen?

Without a doubt, it’s Brady, or as he’ s known on the mean streets of New Braunfels “Shady B”.

15.  Over the past couple years, nearly everyone in your crew has gotten married and had kids or settled down.  Do you think this has influenced your artistry or songwriting in any way?

Sure.  I don’t think there’s anyway life changes like that can’t affect the music.  Especially the way I write.  Everything we do is steeped in something we’ve done or seen or experienced in some way.  So, marriage and growing up is probably more in the mix now.  A lot of that can also be traced to Radney being such a good mentor…not just in music, but in life.   Brady’s getting married in May which leaves Chops as our last bachelor and we all live vicariously now!

16.  In the past, you said that gigs no matter how bad were like pizza…they were still good.  Do you still believe in that philosophy after all the miles and memories you’ve made since you answered that question the first time?

Yeah.  Being on stage is a rush like no other.  I know everyone says that, and I can’t describe it.  It feels the same every time, even on a night when I know I’m not bringing my “A game”.  I truly do love my f*ckin’ job!

17.  Sites like Galleywinter.com have been crucial in your rise from underground underdogs to indie darlings of the mainstream.  Can you put in perspective the effect sites like Galleywinter have had on your career?  In fact, your Sake of the Song fest somewhat grew out of the RRB Float Revival we planned right here on this site.  Second part of this question is, did you envision that first day we floated turning into thousands of folks coming to New Braunfels over the course of two days?

Galleywinter has been very, very good to the RRB.  I think that websites that promote our genre are greatly responsible for the spread of this music.  There are reasons that people in Minnesota and Virginia and all over have heard of us.  I am thankful for the community of folks that take ownership in this scene.  We have a fanbase and a market that promotes creativity.  As far as the festival goes, I am proud of what we are doing with it.  I have always wanted to promote songs and songwriters.  They are the backbone to the music biz.  I never imagined that our festival would grow like it has.  I think people respect the idea we have going and we’ve gotten a lot of good support from the RRB Choir and faithful.

18.  Rapid fire:

-Coolest person you’ve met in the music business?  Hands down…it’s Willie Nelson.  Singing with him onstage is still probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
-Best restaurant you’ve encountered in your travels? Ernest’s in Shreveport.  Fantastic.
-Golf handicap? No comment…not as good as Wade’s!  (laughs)
-Better intro music…Pantera or JET? Pantera.  JET was good for us, but it’s time we injected more Texas into the mix.  God bless Dimebag Darrell.
-Bang-bang or throw ’em down? Bang-bang…everytime.

19.  First time around you said your favorite George Strait song was “Fool Hearted Memory”, so this time, tell us what your favorite Alan Jackson song is?

Just like King George, Alan has a ton to pick from and both of them should cut one of mine for their next record!(laughs) But, if I have to pick just one, I’ll go with “I’ll Try”.

20.  Can you detail the differences of having label support for your music as opposed to doing everything yourself?

I think the major label adds a different level of promotion to any band or album.  They allow us to go out and do what we do without worrying about how much beer was sold or how many paid at the door that night.  They give us the tools necessary to take our music to more people and I am truly thankful for that.  They have stayed out of our way and let us make music our way and the same way we’d be doing if we were still busting around in a stinky van playing for the door.  I am fortunate to be on one of the best labels out there.

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