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Country star Randy Rogers stays true to band, sound

Ringing in the decade of the Randy Rogers Band, Texas-native Randy Rogers has grown and matured musically in the past 10 years along with his four band mates Brady Black, Geoffrey Hill, Les Lawless and Jon Richardson. With the recent release of “Burning the Day,” an album that has brought more attention and light to the band than any of their other four albums, the boys hope to expand their traditional country sound outside of their Texas home base. The State Press spoke with Rogers in anticipation of his performance on Dec. 11 in Mesa at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill.

The State Press: Your latest album, “Burning the Day,” that came out earlier this year has quite the heartbreak theme from the sound to the titles. What was going on during the writing process that created this love-gone-wrong theme?

Randy Rogers: None of the heartbreak stuff was from anything recently. I’m married and currently not heartbroken, so I’m a fan of country music and I feel that it is a lot about the down side of love: heartbreak, a love lost, taking the time to get over it. I just use those kind of scenes when I write. That’s not to say that some of those songs are not from the past, though.

SP: Greg Victor of reviewed your latest album and live show performed in Austin, Texas. In his review he says, “Once you’ve been to a live show of the Randy Rogers Band, you leave feeling like you just hung out with five of the most talented, coolest friends ever.” With this, you have had a great amount of positive feedback with this album. How do you think it compares to the past records?

RR: Well, I think it’s better than the rest of our records. We’ve grown up a bit since the last one and have matured as musicians. You put all of those things in a pot together and you get a better product. That’s just kind of been our goal in the past: to grow together and get better. So I do think it compliments us on this record.

SP: In an industry of the new sub-genre of pop/country, how do you feel you fit in with your traditional country sound?

RR: I just think that’s who we are. We try to stay true to ourselves and the band. We have a flute player, and that element is very throwback country. We were just raised on William Whalen, and as a band we love Johnny Cash. We just gravitated to that sound as young men. When we started the band, we all knew we wanted to be a country band in the traditional sense. I don’t feel like it’s about chasing a pop/country radio hit. I think it is about making great records we can play every night that we believe in. In the next 30 years we can leave that legacy behind. I do hope that pop/country leaves the country radio and the more traditional sound comes back in years to come, but if not, it’s fine with us. We’ll just do our thing.

SP: You are in the running for the Top 50 Videos for 2010 with Great American Country, GAC, with “Interstate.” What about it has the qualities of a top video?

RR: First, there’re 17,000 of our closest friends in the video. That’s probably the largest crowd we’ve drawn in on our own in Dallas. I think this band is about the fans. Music is for the fans, obviously, so we wanted to make a video that acknowledges that. I feel like we accomplished that. There’s not a lot of smoke and lights in mirrors there. It’s just about every day on the road: the traveling, the highways, the after-parties. We wanted to show the real touch of who the Randy Rogers Band is. I think we did.

SP: The Randy Rogers Band has recently celebrated a decade since the formation. What was the story of coming together?

RR: I started the band about 10 years ago, but the five of us we have now have been together for about seven. I have different players come in and out. We were all in different bands. We were all toying with different projects. We were all in the same part of Texas finishing school. It wasn’t that their other bands weren’t going anywhere, but they weren’t equal partners and I wasn’t an equal partner in the band I was in. So when we started this up, I wanted to share everything: split the money, split the sacrifice. There was a moment when the five of us had a line in the sand drawn and I said, “You know, one day we’re going to get bigger, even though we’re making four dollars right now.” The guys quit their other bands and decided to do this.

SP: With seven years of togetherness, how have you dealt with the straining and strengthening of The Randy Rogers Band?

RR: Being in a band is like being married. You have your ups and downs. You have to get through the weather storms together. There’s just this huge respect level we all have for each other. It’s hard to be gone away from your loved ones as much as we are. We all try to put family first and we put arguments down when they rise. We just immediately nip it in the bud and fix it. We’ve got a football that when you are touching the football, you have the floor and you can rant about something or someone that is bothering you. Communication. That is the key.

SP: With most of you married and starting families, how has the touring schedule of promoting this album mixed with domestic life?

RR: Face time, we don’t get a lot. We try to fly our loved ones and wives out when we can. Like this weekend, my wife is flying to Las Vegas and she’s going to spend some time with me there. We try to do that and we try to take time off for birthdays. We differ from when we started. We didn’t have to be gone so much. Luckily, we all have strong, supportive wives.

SP: What’s next for The Randy Rogers Band?

RR: We had a meeting this week about it. We’re just going to try to expand our fan base. We’re going to continue to tour outside of Texas, our home base. We’re going to continue to try to grow this thing. I think we still have a lot of music to make and there are a lot of bridges to be crossed. We’re probably going to make a record sometime within the next year and just keep making music. That has always been our goal.

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