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An interview with Roger Clyne ( Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers)

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It's not to late to make weekend plans! Grab your flip flops, your ponchos and your sombreros, the circus is coming to town. The wonderful electric circus! Circus Mexicus of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (RCPM) will be under the big lights, June 5-9th, 2014 showcasing a four day blow up of musicians, charitable festivities and fun. Voted “Best Rock and Roll Road Trip” by Phoenix New Times and # 11 on the Phoenix Magazine Bucket List, 101 things to do before you die, this is an epic event to experience. Caravanning down to Rocky Point, from all over the United States and the world, this traveling road trip of thousands of dedicated fans, families of all ages and first time visitors, will bring energy into the seaside town of Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico (nicknamed Rocky Point). Yes, they will fill up the beaches, the hotels and condos; buying souvenirs, tequila, and tacos and electrifying the economy of Rocky Point. And, it’s not just all about the music…the fans and the band will participate in a variety of charitable events; giving back to the children and youth of Puerto Penasco-- displaying a wonderful example of how to celebrate life with their music and hearts.

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In honor of the upcoming music beach fest, I asked RCPM fans on Facebook what questions they would ask, if they had a chance to sit down with Roger Clyne. The results-- which amazingly many questions were identical-- along with my own are listed below as Roger gladly answered each one with vigilant reflection in an interview:

What is “your” favorite RCPM/refreshments song?

Roger: I find my answer changes--it’s a difficult question to answer as time makes the song change--for now it’s a song off my new album, The Independent, “Once I was a Thief”.

Where would you go on your dream vacation?

Roger: Sailing off of Sandy Beach on my boat, which I absolutely love! Or exploring New Zealand ….love to get to New Zealand.

What’s your all-time favorite performance?

Roger: Wow… I have Thousands under my belt --one that stands out is a Circus Mexicus show in the rain. It was in the pouring rain and nobody left. We all came together, stayed together and played through. (Roger also chuckles as he remembers thinking about electrical wires, equipment and water, luckily it was all safe...)

Where do you see yourself/RCPM 10 years from now?

Roger: Hope doing the same thing with the same people. I hope we can share our music with a larger audience and if we can’t share it, that’s okay-- we have a great RCPM community. (Roger also stated he would not even be thinking of retiring, just playing and writing music, as musicians do.)

How many songs in your iPod and what‘s your most favorite go-to music?

Roger: It’s funny, I’m sort of a technophobe, the ones in my IPOD are programed by my kids because they can’t believe I'm a musician and I don’t have more music. My go-to is Mariachi and also a lot of Cuban music. Right now, I’m listening to compilation by Putomayo, but I always like the Buena Vista Social Club.

Here’s a good one for you…What’s your favorite tequila?

Roger: Hands down… Mexican Moonshine. Only real question is Reposoda or Anejo. What we came up with is magic. But, if I had to have one last drink (he struggles with choosing) it would be Mexican Moonshine, Anejo.

How old were you on your first visit to Rocky Point? What was your first impression?

Roger: That’s a good question... Guess I was 13 or 14 with my dad and stepmother.

On my first impressions…It was foreign to me, but I thought it was wild and wide open and I wanted to learn more about it.

What was your first show in Rocky Point?

Roger: My first show, was at what was formerly the Sunset Cantina, (now, Wrecked at Rick’s) I had wanted to play in Rocky Point before but I was managed by a record company and they couldn’t see the merit… Once we shed that skin, we knocked on doors through town and Sunset said, “Well, we have a roof and some extension cords”. That’s how it all began.

Name two things most people do not know about Roger Clyne?

Roger: I’m a homebody… If I’m home and not traveling, it is difficult to get me out of the house. Just pick up some Mexican food, sit on the back porch, and strum my guitar. I guess the other thing would be I am really concerned about the proliferation of GMO. (FYI: “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology; look it up to read more.)

At age 7 what did you want to be when you grew up?

Roger: Oceanographer/Marine Biologist—something, anything to do with the ocean and its life.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Roger: Create and amplify happiness… Make the planet happier.

You were once a member of the Refreshments? What made you leave and form RCPM?

Roger: I’ll try to give you a short answer. Bands break up… we were lucky Refreshments broke up in a dramatic ugly burnout way. We were not very mature, we were musicians, and we’re still musicians but we didn’t see eye to eye, so we broke up. But, I’m a musician, I carried on and formed the Peacemakers.

(FYI: Refreshments, signed by Mercury Records are most known for their two popular radio hits, “Banditos” and “Down Together” and during this time Roger Clyne wrote and the band performed the theme song for the adult animated television show “King of the Hill”.)
Morning or night person?

Roger: Both, because I take long siestas in the afternoon--huge fan of siestas--got it down to an art.

What can you tell me about the inspiration behind the Peacemakers eigth studio album, The Independent (Roger has 10 albums and this one is his 11th when you count Live records and The Refreshments)

Roger: Just being a musician and exploring, that’s how it all is when we write. We have to keep making music. This album is about pulling myself up with my bootstraps… I’m a man in mid-40s and I don’t try to hide it-- it’s my job to serve and celebrate life on earth-- and I found a silver lining and this is the outcome.

Let’s talk about Mexican Moonshine Tequila. I heard your tequila has been winning medals?

Roger: Yes. We won 6 medals in the last six months (the latest one San Francisco World Spirit 2014). I kind of expected it to win medals. We’re going for the highest quality tequila one can make. It’s about care, process, and time, to make the best tequila possible. We wanted to bring the best to the RCPM community.

Some other juicy news… Roger is part of a cooperative in the new bar restaurant, Banditos (formally The Hut and Changos). Roger states, “It’s part of a cooperative we share talents, influence and resources to make a successful venture, my job is to lend some presence. The great thing is I get to make up my own performance schedule. I can just walk in and play my music. It is about all of us working together-- for the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” He also made sure to mention, “Now that the doors been open, anybody wants to hang out come on over, I’ll probably be there.”

The new restaurant bar/Cantina, Banditos in Rocky Point, is now the second largest distributor, pouring more Mexican Moonshine, 2nd in the world. However, if you want to buy your own bottle, you can find it in various locations in town, Total Wine/Bev Mo/Tops Liquor in Tempe or look at the website www.mexicanmoonshine.com and put in your location… it will help you locate a place, wherever you may be. You can even purchase it on line at www.hi-timewine.net.

OK, one last question Roger, do you have to buy your own Mexican Moonshine tequila?

Roger: I do… even the founder and principal. It’s very regulated, has to go through channels…. I have to go to the retail to get it when I run out… (he laughs) which is often…

Hopefully, you are one of the lucky ones, able to witness the big event this month up close and personal and settle your feet in the sand of the Sea of Cortez. Other highlights of Circus Mexicus include performances by Cracker, Sand Rubies, Shurman, the Black Moods, Hickman-Dalton Gang, Elvis before Noon, Ghetto Cowgirl, Shawn Johnson, Random Karma, La Merca and Tracy Routt. Check out www.azpeacemakers.com for the full list of music, charity events and schedule. If you miss the big top in person, check out RCPM’s new album, The Independent available on ITunes and other musical outlets.

And, as they say in the lyrics of “Mexican Moonshine”…May your heart and your cup overflow under the glow of the moonshine…

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