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Feelin’ fine with Roger Clyne

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Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 12:49 pm

Flogging Molly are the headliners of an upcoming St. Patrick’s Day music festival, but Valley favorites Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers just might steal the show.

The Arizona-based rockers, a band widely known for making any celebration more fun, are second billed on the 10th annual Green 17 Tour lineup.

Known for their high-energy live shows, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers have released six consecutive albums that have debuted in the top 10 on Billboard’s Internet Sales chart — the first independent band to ever accomplish that feat. Clyne has also created a line of tequila called Mexican Moonshine, which recently unveiled its third marquee, Añejo. Next month will see the release of The Peacemakers’ highly anticipated seventh album, “The Independent.”

Clyne spoke freely to Get Out about his former band The Refreshments, why The Peacemakers remain fiercely independent, and how the music and liquor industry are alike.

Q: The Refreshments, along with the Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot Workshop, Spinning Jenny and the Sidewinders were all a part of a magical musical movement that took place in the Valley in the early ’90s. What do you remember about that period, and do you think it’ll ever happen again?

RC: My memories are all good. Artistically, it was a very exciting time, as many artists and acts were cross-pollinating. Lots of visual artists, writers and musicians were all sharing the same space. I think it was the first time this ever happened in Phoenix’s music scene, and I hope it won’t be the last.

Q: In comparing The Refreshments to The Peacemakers, you once said The Refreshments were ‘snottier and more irreverent.’ I thought that was an interesting take.

RC: I was definitely a snotty and irreverent young man — and don’t get me wrong, I still hold those ideals dear to my heart. There’s nothing wrong with shining a bright light on authority, because that’s something every human being should do throughout their life. I find that as I stumble and bumble towards this concept called wisdom, I’m a little less hair-trigger about where I place my opinions and more cautious. However, I am still very passionate. I will place irreverence where it needs to be and try to keep that edge sharp.

Q: I’ve never seen a musical artist incorporate the Southwestern culture as clearly and effectively as you have.

RC: I’ve always felt lucky to have been born into the Southwestern landscape, which is permeated with myths, legends and amazing characters. I was born here and have always celebrated the diversity of cultures. There’s this ebb and flow of conflict and coalescence in our history. We have huge figures like Geronimo, Cochise and Wyatt Earp, who stride like giants in our consciousness. I get to play and write about banditos and pirates and tequila. I’m just so lucky, because it’s so much fun.

Q: I’m glad you brought up that last subject because I believe you and Sammy Hagar are the only rockers who hold the distinction of having their own line of line of tequila. How is being an independent artist and running a line of tequila alike or different?

RC: They’re both part of the same pot. I am an indie artist in terms of not being on a major record label, and the same applies with Mexican Moonshine.

I was on a major label when the industry fell apart, and so we had to find a way to survive. Both the music and the tequila have to have a mixture of art and quality to survive. So we formed our own record label called Emma Java Recordings and self manage ourselves. We move forward on a date-by-date, song-by-song basis. It’s the same thing with tequila, because it’s in so many of our songs and characters.

We had an opportunity to do (business) with a boutique distillery, and, like we are with the record label, (we) are active participants in the product. The quality of both our records and our tequila is high and embodies our spirits. As digital revenue is drying up for all artists, the tequila will help us put our kids through college. When the band sits down, we can open our own bottle, raise a toas, be happy and celebrate that moment.

Q: I saw the Peacemakers last year, and I’ve never seen a band put a crowd in a party mood so quickly. Sort of like the Parrot Heads of the Southwest.

RC: That’s funny, but I think it’s our audience who does all the heavy lifting. I’m a catalyst, and they just bring what’s inside. It’s cool to get on a plane and bump into people who are Peacemakers fans, because I know we’re going to get along just fine.

Q: You’ll be playing Tempe Beach Park on March 17 for the 10th annual Green 17 Tour. Do you prepare or play a little differently for a hometown crowd?

RC: We try and play the same everywhere we go, but, yes, we put a finer point on it when we play in the Valley. We know we’ve got to bring our A game, because when it’s a holiday like this and we’re playing with a headliner like Flogging Molly, who has such a loyal and celebratory fan base, we have to earn the applause. We have to get up there and deliver.

Q: Is there any new music on the horizon?

RC: As a matter of fact, yes. We’re in the final stages of mixing of an album called ‘The Independent’ that should be out, and I’ve got my fingers crossed, with a street date of April 29 if everything goes according to plan. I haven’t told anyone the name of the album title yet, so you get the scoop on this one.

If you go

What: The 10th annual Green 17 Tour lineup, featuring Flogging Molly, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, Ozomatil and The Drowning Men

When: 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 17

Where: Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway

Cost: $35 in advance, $40 the day of the show

Information: (480) 239-1300 or LuckyManOnline.com

• Read more at PressPassBlog.com, the source for Phoenix metro concert news.

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