Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 Questions: Roger Clyne of Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers

1) What excites you most about your new album Unida Cantina?

RC: To continue to produce art. I'm a lucky man. I've chosen an artistic path of a very independent rock 'n' roll band. In a very competitive environment, the world as it is, there is so much entertainment, so much stuff for people to pay attention too. It's great to create art that's so well received. It's 2 things really. One: To continue to be able to have the liberty to create. Two: To have it so well received by our fan base is great.

2) This is the first album to incorporate your new lead guitarist Jim Dalton. How did this effect the dynamic of the album?

RC: It was a big change to go from our last guitarist to working with Jim. It's part of the reason that we took so long, 3 years between the studio albums of Turbo 8 and Unida Cantina. There is a certain telepathy that I think has to happen in the band; like forming a new team. You just have to play together long enough to know what each person's strength is and how those strengths can help you with your own weaknesses. We did two years of gigging out to learn with Jim and during those years we wrote a lot. I actually feel comfortable enough to co-write with Jim more than I ever have with any other guitarist. When we finally got into the studio and started working on pre-production we knew it was time. We knew that these songs, these sketches, were ready to work with because we had taken so long to make sure our chemistry was right.
I guess that's the long answer. The short answer is that it's been an absolute delight, and it invigorated me as a writer to work with Jim Dalton.

3) For Close to a decade now, we have heard your music grow in maturity, especially in your lyrics. Has this reflected your personal growth? In this journey how has time effected how you look at the world and the way you look at the music you've made?

RC: I have always thought that the reason we're able to continue to be viable and successful as artists is because we've been honest. We've never followed the cash or chased the charts. We always wanted to make art that's close to the heart. I write songs that I don't even consider sharing with an audience. They're an expression of myself first and then I do my best to have the courage to unabashedly share that.
I guess if you're looking at the progression from Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy, with songs like "Mexico" and "Don't Want to Know" all the way through songs like "Small World" and "Just Got High" on Unida Cantina. I look at myself as a man who is hopefully maturing. I've had to, as I've grown older and have had the privilege to experience more years. I have had more responsibilities offered to me. These opportunities raised to become a man presented to me. Not only am I a lead singer, a musician, and a working poet. I'm also a small business man, a husband and a father. I think all of those responsibilities, all the hope I'm be able to derive from those responsibility is reflected somehow in the songs. As long as I get to stay here on earth, I want to continue the chance to explore my potential through this artistic journey I've decided to take.

4) I recently spoke to an artist who said the older he gets the harder songwriting becomes. D you find this to be true for your self? Why do you think this is and how do you over come it?

RC: I think that's absolutely true. If I was a painter and was handed a pallet, anything I do in the beginning is new, original and novel. After awhile though, once you establish an identity and your own personal distinct picture; the trick is how to not become derivative of yourself. It's a challenge at that point to break new ground beyond what you're comfortable with. As a songwriter I think it's very true that it's more difficult the more I produce. I don't think necessarily that it the older I get, It's the more that I produce. I have written over a hundred songs on 13 albums in my career. I find now that it's difficult if not challenging not to call back an old habit. Like using a 1-4-5 progression with a Minor 6th to break it up. In fact I've done that many, many times so what do I do next? And also, if I want to create a love song in what context can I do it? How can I make it fresh for myself? How can I make it interesting enough so it just doesn't blend in with the rest of the stuff, not only from my own catalog but other people's as well? If I want to write a protest song or an ode to or any celebratory song, it's all the same chance. How do I make another one that's not just like one I made before? Now if I were a baker and I found the perfect cookie. I would keep baking that cookie. But I'm not I'm an artist. I'm a songwriter. And it's the nature of art to evolve and change, to be a vessel for human expression with out becoming common. It is more difficult, more challenging and as for time commitment, you put more time in, to get less.

5) You have found more success as an independent artist than your short stint on a major label. What is the secret to your success?

RC: It really depends on how you define success. I agree with the deposit in your question. Yeah I have found more success because I have been able to continue to do what I love to do with people I respect and enjoy for a long career stent. I don't think that the Peacemakers are as famous as the refreshments once were or perhaps even are now. But that's not the goal. The goal is to have a career that we're all happy with. One that has an integrity of it's own, so when the lights finally go out we can look back and say we ran a good show. The Secret, I don't really think is a secret. It's to make art from your heart. That's one. Two: Be grateful for the people who want to hear it. I know a lot of artists who are less than willing to speak to their audience than in any other way than through their music. I guess that I can sort of understand that but at the end of the day we are all humans. So if someone wants to meet you outside the bus and get an autograph on their poster or whatever, I think we should all stand and be out there. I think being as human and available as I can be as a civilian is important. The most important thing is to be honest and to share yourself. Be honest and grateful and you got a game.

6) In your arsenal of instruments do you have a favorite guitar? What brand is it? Have you given it a name and what's the story behind it?

RC: Yeah, I have my stand by which is a 1999 American made Fender Telecaster. It has an ash body and a maple neck and its supper simple. I'm very hard on my instruments. I'm a pretty physical player. They get pretty dirty and beat up really fast. I strum really hard and I play very thick strings: 13 to 56 gauge strings which is tough on wood. It's hard for my guitars to have much longevity, because they just get so stressed they fail. She doesn't have a name but she has a gender for sure. She's my stand by and when ever I reach for her she's my #1. She being first in the quiver I guess she never had a name but #1.
I have several other guitars that I've come to count on and they do have names. I recently sold one. It was my first custom shop guitar, which was also a Fender Telecaster. It was silver. Silver sparkle. Beautiful, beautiful piece that I sold because I wasn't using it and I couldn't bare to see it just gather dust. I feel they (guitars) are like horses or a boat and they need to be doing what they're made to do, so I ended up selling her. But her name was The Trout because of the silver.
I got another one right now that's La Rubia which is The Blonde. I do name them and usually the names get spray painted on the cases. It's fun to name your guitars like you name a boat or a horse.

7) Circus Mexicus, your yearly festival of all things Peacemakers in Rock Point Mexico celebrates its 20th addition this year. You've stated that this should be the biggest and best fiesta yet. What pleasant surprises did fans find that migrating south of the Border?

RC: We hoped that it would be the biggest and the best but you never know. It seems that every year about the time we announce our show the state department issues its travel advisory report. So people get a little fearful. We've had to worry about hurricanes and passport restrictions and such in the past. Really, instead of pleasant surprises, we focused on what's consistent and what's become a tradition. That being, what happens before and after our rock 'n' roll show; one great Friday night event and one great Sunday night event that bookend the Saturday concert.
We didn't throw ourselves any curve balls this time and try to bite off anything marvel. Sometimes the band will dress up as a theme. We've done an aquatic theme and full mariachi garb before. We just determined that we have about a hundred songs that we would like to share with the fans and if we're lucky we can get in about forty-five in four hours. We just stood and delivered to the finest rock 'n' roll audience on the planet and gave them the finest rock 'n' roll show we could play. At the modest ticket price of $30 bucks gave you, essentially, access to great events throughout the weekend. There was the Friday night barbecue at JJ's Cantina that benefited Esperanza Para Los Ninos Orphanage. There was a jam there all Friday night. Sunday we had Mananathon again at JJ's.
One thing different we had this year. We've had a lot of guests over the past 20 shows that we've done and we essentially invited everyone up and tried to get them all up on stage to jam. We wanted to do this as a way to say thanks and celebrate that we've all created this thing together.

8) If Circus Mexicus is too much for some of your fans, and they decide to extend their stay or make the migration permanent. Play tour guide: Where should they stay? Where should they eat? What fun things are there to see and do in the area? Feel free to to drop names if you like.

RC: I definitely think that if they're going to become ex-patriots, they should set up shop in Cholla Bay which is a little peninsula that's surrounded by the Sea of Cortez. It has great people in it and is a good mix of locals and gringos. It just has a great atmosphere. You can launch your boat from there in a very, very unique way. There's this thing which is essentially a auto skeleton on stilts which drags boats on trailers out into the sea and lets them go. It's really kind of a strange poetry to watch.
You have to have a margarita at JJ's, hopefully a Mexican Moonshine Margarita.
You must have a taco next door at my favorite authentic little taco stand called Mr. Fish Taco. It's a real family owned, small thing. I can never predict when they're going to be open, but they got great fish tacos and definitely ask them for their Chilli Chino, which is a special jalapeno preparation that they do.
Watch the sunset for sure, from Cholla Bay. When you go into Rock Point proper(your about six miles away) be sure to stop at Wreck at the Reef, which is a little Catina on the sea side of the town. In their outdoor seating find yourself some shade, have a drink and watch the tide come in and out. Then I'd go to the malicon which is the tourist heart of the area where you can get any souvenir that you wish and there's also very good dining there right now. From the little taco stand to the fine dining restaurant, pretty much any of them are great.
As for things to do: I'm a diver, a snorkeler, and there's really good diving out of Pinto Point which is between Cholla Bay and Rocky Point. There's very good fishing. I recommend catch and release because there is a lot of pressure on the local fish population. Most of the fishermen I know have shifted over from just plain catch to catch and release.
You can do all that crazy airborne stuff. I'm not a fan of that kind of altitude, but you can charter a glider or a para-sail. There's all kinds of Acapulco-esc versions of entertainment should you decide to indulge. For me, it's not about doing much it's about doing little. So I enjoy long slow meandering conversations and a few drinks during the day. Watching the sun go down. Maybe getting a siesta and eating some good Mexican food. That's my idea of heaven.

9) You and the band do a lot of work in the area of community involvement. From PH's Hotdog and a smile, being members of 1% for the planet and Sombrero Solution to name a few. What future influences would you like to have on your fans through your community work and music?*

RC: You are right we are very involved and for me it is personally gratifying to create cohesion in community. I think what is most important, is that if the music has any resonance or effect, I hope it's one that fosters kindness and compassion for our fellow man and woman. And no matter how you express it, that you do express it. It doesn't matter, if you want to help with a volunteer fire brigade or do a local or national toy drive. The specifics especially don't matter, but what I think is important, is that if our music has a community building aspects to it, that people incorporate that into their daily lives. Who knows, it might be picking up a piece of trash on your neighbors lawn. Small acts done by individuals, when you put them together in a community they make a difference and I think that's something planet earth needs very much right now.

10) What is the name of 5 Bands you love but few people have heard of?


The Hold Steady

Six String Drag

The Proud Flesh


*Thanks supper fan Shelly Clark for the question.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Double Feature: Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons "Trouble with the Devil" & American Pinup "Strange Creatuers"

I don't know what it is about pompadours and rockabilly girls but ever since I heard the deep twang of my first Gretsch guitar, this little boy from the suburbs has wanted to grow some gnarly chops and rebuild classic cars for a living. Instead I work a 9 to 5 job and drive a 2007 Toyota Corolla but at least I have the the music and like these, the occasional video to keep that dream a live. Who knows, maybe at 65 I'll grow those chops and start my own punk rock'a'billy band.

So if you have a inner rockabilly child too sit back and enjoy this weeks Double Feature and if you need a little more to tide you over check out Blank TV. They have a ton of videos to check out.

Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons - "Trouble with the Devil"

A terrific video from a great band out of the UK.

This femme fronted punk'a'billy band out of the UK have an awesome sound and a mesmerizing look. I hope they can gain the needed momentum to make it across the pond and bless our shores with their presence.

American Pinup - "Strange Creatures"

Who gives a damn about Jersey Shore this is what they should be showing on MTV. This East coast band, formally named Big Sister, has gained some speed this last year. Though they haven't quiet made it all the way up to the Northwest, when they do, they can be assured that they will find places to play and an eager crowd to listen. Make sure to check out their debut album Strange Creatures on Altercation Records.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Double Feature: Katie Herzig "Hey Na Na" & Ingrid Michaelson "Parachute"

I've always had a soft spot of female songwriters. So this week's Double Feature showcases two amazingly talented women who are making great music and earning a name for themselves.

Kate Herzig - "Hey Na Na"

Beautifully fun and off the wall, it describes the video as well as her music.

A wonderful singer songwriter Katie Herzig has toured with Brandi Carlile and her music has been tagged for used in several TV Shows and movies. Her latest album The Waking Sleep is scheduled to be out September and is on my list(as well as my wife and 10 year old daughter's)of most anticipated CD's of summer.

Ingrid Michaelson
- "Parachute"

The original video for the single Parachute, except no other.

In 2006 Ingrid Michaelson's song "Breakable" was used in an episode of Grey's Anatomy and ever since her career has sky rocketed and there's no looking back. Working on the final touches to her latest album. I, like so many others,am hoping that it will be ready to release sometime this fall and if "Parachute" is any indication, than we have great things in store.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Double Feature: The Hangmen "Wild Beast" & Dragbeat "Pure Dirt"

This week's Double Feature spotlights the great work of Acetate Records out of LA. This label has some of the hardest working rock bands in it's roster, including the The Hangmen, Throw Rag, Dirty Sweet, Jackson United, and tons of others who are making some of the best rock'n'roll around. So sit back and enjoy these flixs. When your done, get off you butts and visit their online store to pickup some awesome music and support this wonderful label.

LinkThe Hangmen-"Wild Beast"

Just Pure Rock 'N' Roll!

The Hangmen are the the band that all the rockers love. Their latest CD: Lost Rock -Best Of The Hangmen, holds 18 amazing tracks including three originally unreleased as well as testimonials from Mike Ness(Social Distortion), Eddie Spaghetti(Supersuckers) and many more.
"Lost Rock" made my short list of most anticipated releases of the summer and having just come out yesterday makes it easy for you to be the first to have this musical gem before everyone else.

Dragbeat -"Pure Dirt"

A sexy number from this femme-fronted powerhouse of the past.

Unfortunately Dragbeat is no more but they left behind a great album in Pure Dirt. It was the first CD I bought from Acetate Records and would suggest it to everyone. You can pick it up yourself for just $8 at in their online store, so what are you waiting for.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Triple Crown: 07/12 - 07/25

This triple crown switches it up with a little cinema mixed in with some great music, cause variety is the key to life and a triple crown would be boring without it.

Thursday, July 14th
Alabama Black Snake
Heaven Generation/Red Ships of Spain/Monster Sized Monsters/The Cover Girls
Ash Street Saloon
225 SW Ash St
21 & Over

The gritty rock of Alabama Black Snake headlines this awesome showcase of local Portland bands. Darkly meaty with metal guitars and abusive rhythm that punches with the force of a prize fighter, Greg T and his fellow outlaws play the sleazy back ally rock'n'roll indicative of dive bars and false neon promises. Just the tip of the of the iceberg, this night is filled with so much music there's no way you can keep yourself away. Filling out the rest of the line up is the atmospheric blues rock of Heaven Generation, the raw bare bones punk of Red Ships Of Spain and Monster Sized Monsters and the unique audio stylings of The Cover Girls. At a dollar a band this is the best deal for live music to come around in some time. So make sure you garb a friend or two and make it down for a night of great Portland talent.

Friday, July 15th
"The Wanteds" Movie
West Coast, Portland Premier/ After Party

Whitsell Auditorium-Portland Art Museum/Tiger Bar
1219 SW Park Ave/ 317 NW Broadway
Movie:$10/After party:$4
Mature Audiences/21 & Over

Friday night marks the west coast premier of the award winning documentary The Wanteds. Directed by local rock goddess Stephanie Smith of Kleveland, this film set out to capture the trials and triumphs of Tommy Harrington as he transversed the country side on his one man tour. What emerged was an emotionally compelling and tragically honest profile of what it takes to go after a dream and the lasting effect of abuse on those who survive it. This is an amazing movie and a must see for any one that loves rock 'n' roll and films.
Directly following the screening will be an after party at the Tiger Bar with a special performance by Tommy Harrington. Harrington will be playing songs form the era of the film. Both events are musts and at $14 dollars total this is an outstanding night of entertainment that will be easy on the wallet.

Sunday, July 24th
Redwood Son
Glassbones/Chris Marshall/
Gabby Holt
Lola's Room
1332 W. Burnside
Adv.:$8/Day Of:$8
21 & Over

Jack Johnson might have his Hawaiian surfer folk but Redwood Son has his Northwest Americana. A lyrically rich folk pop that captures the plush green and earthy smell of the rain kissed Northwest. Beautifully honest and playfully direct this is music that makes you feel good like the smell of a quick rain evaporating off sun warmed pavement. Joining him on stage for this show at Lola's Room is the earthy rock of Glassbones and the songwriting talent of Chris Marshall and Gabby Holt that has just a touch of country.
This show will make you feel like summer even if the waether won't. So throw caution to the wind and fight the Sunday-Nighters with some great music and a beer or two.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Double Feature: Red Fang "Wires" & The Foo Fighters "White Limo"

I think it's fitting that the day after the Fourth of July we have a duo of videos that are a bit destructive in nature. Just remember, these individuals are professionals rock-stars and what you see should not be attempted at home.

Red Fang -"Wires"

Be honest, we'd all love to blow a huge wad of cash this way.

Red Fang
is a metal band that heralds from our fair city of Portland Oregon. They're heading out for a summer of touring the US, so catch them when they come to your town.

The Foo Fighters
-"White Limo"

(The Foo Fighters + Lemmy of Motorhead) + 80's Camcorder = Pure Genius!

If you don't know Lemmy and the Foo Fighters you have bigger issues than we can fix on this website.