In the pantheon of brilliant rock and roll artists that somehow get overlooked by the masses, Roger Clyne may be the poster child for such oversight. The vocalist for one time college radio rockers, The Refreshments, Clyne went on to form his own band, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers at the end of the century. This week I sat down with Clyne to talk about his path to music, the journey so far as well as when fans can expect more new music.
Clyne was born and raised in the border state of Arizona, first in Tucson, these days in Tempe (Phoenix). Other than some worldly travel as an adult, the desert has always been his home. With it came a rich passion for the southwest including his second home, Mexico. That culture permeates much of Clyne’s music. From powerfully emotive and philosophical ballads to high energy Cantina rockers, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers hit just the right notes with all those who share in the experience.
For a brief moment in time it seemed that Clyne might make his living through more academic pursuits, but in the end, it was the creative blood flowing through him which won out. His first major victory came with the release of The Refreshments “Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy” album in 1996. The album is easily one of the most addictive rock albums ever released, and I say that without hyperbole. The album went #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Songs like the radio smash, “Banditos”, “Down Together” and “Girlie” are about as infectious as one could ask for. All remain staples in The Peacemakers live sets today as well as “Blue Collar Suicide”, “Mekong”, “Interstate”, “Mexico” and “Nada”.
The follow up, 1997’s “The Bottle & Fresh Horses”, while still a fine album, did not fair as well as its predecessor and the record label dropped the band after its release. Half the band walked away leaving Clyne and drummer PH Naffah left to pick up the pieces. After some soul searching, marriage, and the birth of his first child, Clyne decided to move forward under a new moniker rather than ride the name recognition of his former band.
The 1999 release of “Hony Tonk Union” marked the debut of Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers, an album that went to #1 on Billboard’s internet sales chart. Once again Clyne and company delivered with a record packed with unforgettable songs, like “Beautiful Disaster”, “Easy”, “West Texas Moon”, “Never Thought”, “Green and Dumb” and the raucous crowd pleaser, “Jack vs. Jose”. Clyne began receiving comparisons to the likes of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellancamp, Neil Young, Tom Petty; even Elvis Costello and Bob Marley. Clyne has the gift for writing honest and indelible songs that strike a chord, all performed with his natural southwest feel.
All of The Peacemakers albums that would follow through the most recent, 2011’s “Unida Cantina” would receive rave reviews and strong accolades. “Unida Cantina” reached #2 on the Billboard Heatseekers #4 on iTunes Rock Albums charts. Those in the know are devoted and faithful to RCPM, but still too few know, so Clyne is offering up more than a dozen of The Peacemakers songs covering all six studio albums, along with a live taste on “Mekong”, are available for free download of “The Magnificent 7, Part Uno” and “The Magnificent 7, Part Dos”. More free tracks can be picked up on Roger’s Mexican Moonshine tequila website www.mexicanmoonshine.com/music.