Editor’s Note: This week, CMT.com focuses on the artists and sounds of Texas. Today, we talk with the Randy Rogers Band.
Though named after its lead singer and songwriter, the rowdy Texas group known as the Randy Rogers Band doesn’t rely more on one individual than another. “We’re all equal partners,” Rogers says. “That’s how this band operates.”
In the RR Band scheme of things, each member is crucial to the band’s overall performance. Their rough-around-the-edges music combines Rogers’ straightforward, gritty vocals with the sounds of fiddler Brady Black, drummer Les Lawless, guitarist Geoffrey Hill and bassist Jon Richardson.
“We’re a band,” Rogers said. “We write our records, we play on our own records, we play the live shows. I think that might set us apart or just make us different from your country act … that has a band that he doesn’t really know that well.”
As one of the hardest working outfits around, they’ve played over 200 shows in the past year alone.
“Anybody that comes to the live show gets their money’s worth — bang for their buck,” noted Rogers. “We just try to bring live energy, excitement. We try to keep the songs going one after the other, not a lot of down time goin’ on on our stage … You can’t really fall asleep during our show.”
And for the five band members that are either married or on their way to be, a demanding tour schedule could easily seem detrimental to any relationship.
“I was doing it before I was married, so it’s just kind of our life,” said drummer Lawless. “It’s just part of it.”
A recently married Rogers added, “There’s really cool things about being on the road that the wives and girlfriends get to come and do. I mean, we get to go to cool towns and see things that we never would have got to see if we weren’t in the band. That’s the cool part. I think the girls like that. I think they like to get out of the house and come out on the road and have fun for a while.”
“I think all of the women in our lives are very strong and independent women that can take care of themselves,” added fiddle player and soon-to-be wed Black.
Together since 2000, the band recorded for a regional label before signing with Mercury Nashville to record and release their major label debut, Just a Matter of Time in 2006, which included the single “Kiss Me in the Dark.”
“I think Just a Matter of Time had a theme to it. I was going through the end of a relationship and the beginning of another — one which is now my wife,” said Rogers. “I think I wrote a lot about that. I don’t think this time I had so much going on. I was just able to be creative without having to be completely emotional … So, just as a songwriter, I feel like I had more freedom this time because I wasn’t so locked into my emotions.”
The band’s recent self-titled album, released in 2008 and again produced by Nashville singer-songwriter Radney Foster (as was Just a Matter of Time), features songs written and co-written by Richardson (“Wicked Ways” and “When the Circus Leaves Town”) and Hill (“Break Even”). However, the majority are by Rogers, who co-wrote nine of the 12 new songs. He still manages to capture the raw emotions of dating. He sings of losing a woman (“Lonely Too Long”), meeting one in a bar (“Buy Myself a Chance”) and breaking up with one (“This Is Goodbye”). His current status as a married man is also apparent as he sings of settling down for a lifetime in “One Woman.”
“We’re betting on ‘One Woman’ being one of those ‘Hey-will-you-play-that-in-my-wedding’ songs,” Rogers said. “I’ve had both men and women tell me to do that song … Hopefully it will be a home run.”
The 30-year-old Rogers also sings about the bittersweet memories of his youth in “Never Be That High,” with lyrics like “Life was a drug and we didn’t know/We’ll never be that high again/Stoned out of our minds on innocence/Used to catch a buzz on the fact that it was Saturday night/We’ll never be that high again.”
“It’s very much that feeling about when you’re young, all you wanna do is grow up,” he said. “This whole growin’ up thing ain’t too cool. Kids out there, you listen to me. Get in trouble,” he joked.
The band’s undeniable bond onstage is also seen in their camaraderie offstage. Asked if they were striving for a certain goal with the new album, Rogers quickly spoke up. “World domination,” he announced, sending the entire group into laughter.
“The goal setting we do every year and then we look back on it and see how far we’ve come … I think it’s just to tour and hopefully radio will turn its ear to us. I don’t think that we sound like anything out there and I think we’re really proud of that.”
Rogers also added, in his joking fashion, “… and see the country and see other countries and make records and babies and families and party.”