‘The new music is not all roses and daffodils, cold beer and senoritas,” said Roger Clyne from a Cleveland tour stop. “Sonically, it is consistent with what we’ve done in the past, but lyrically I lead with my heart.” Clyne is the singer/songwriter and guitarist for Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, or RCPM.
"The new music is not all roses and daffodils, cold beer and senoritas,” said Roger Clyne from a Cleveland tour stop. “Sonically, it is consistent with what we’ve done in the past, but lyrically I lead with my heart.”
Clyne is the singer/songwriter and guitarist for Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, or RCPM.
RCPM released a sprawling set of rock ’n’ roll in 2008, “Turbo Ocho,” with a two-hour DVD detailing the recording process in a seaside Mexican village. It was a kinetic blend of Southwestern hedonism and the pure joy of rock, blended with some of Clyne’s more sensitive tunes about romance and finding meaning. The band had a totally different recording process planned for a forthcoming album, but things didn’t quite work out the way they’d hoped.
“Our original plan was to go to Nashville and record there, with Ray Kennedy producing,” said Clyne, referring to the famed studio wizard closely associated with Steve Earle. “But then the Nashville floods occurred right when we supposed to go down there, and although no one we knew was injured, we had to go back to the drawing board. We ended up going back down to Cholla Bay, and recording the new album – 13 songs – in the same studio, with the same producer we used for “Turbo Ocho.”
The band is on its annual summer tour, but there is some debate about whether to release the 13 songs as one big album, or perhaps release an EP of five or six songs this fall, and another, more traditional CD this winter.
“We also need artwork for the CD,” said Clyne, “and the good thing is that the debate is centered around the democracy in the band – we make decisions with all four of us. But we’ve been in the studio or on the road all year.”
He said fans or friends may have wanted Clyne to pen a bunch of Jimmy Buffett-style party-hearty paeans to the Southwest, but the songwriter took a different direction.
“Most people tell me to aim for something lighthearted, uplifting and fun in these times,” said Clyne. “But I am coming to my 40th year, and so this bunch of songs includes a lot about disillusionment. It’s about realizing your life hasn’t entirely turned out like you’d planned or expected, and coming to terms with that. It’s about being at peace with who I am, and what I do have, and the struggle of that whole process.”
Clyne studied psychology and anthropology at Arizona State, where he first began playing music with drummer T.H. Naffah. Those two were in a previous band called The Refreshments, which thrived throughout the early 1990s, and provided the theme song for the “King of the Hill” TV series.
Record company problems led to The Refreshments breaking up, but by 1998, Naffah and Clyne were back onstage, as part of The Peacemakers with guitarist Steve Larson and bassist Nick Scropos. While sassy senoritas may populate many Clyne songs, he is in fact the happily married father of three kids.
“Having kids changes your axis,” said Clyne. “It takes you outside yourself. You realize we’re only here a short time and we’re part of a continuum.”
But fans shouldn’t get the idea that more serious themes means music that is stodgy or too poppy. The new music rocks as vibrantly as ever, Clyne says.
“Listening to our rough mixes, I like the way our producer lets it be kind of messy,” he said. “The small imperfections carry much more emotional impact, and warmth, than any kind of auto-tuned perfection could ever convey.”
The new music is being worked into the sets now, but with eight previous albums, and even some Refreshments tunes still vivid in fans’ memories, RCPM has plenty of material to choose from every night.
“We do have quite a catalog, and it gets frustrating when you only have so much time onstage,” Clyne said. “We do a new set list every night.”
The Patriot Ledger