Born in England but now based in the US, Rogers seems to combine the best qualities of winsome songwriting and driving rock spirit – moreover in the company of some stellar musical colleagues. We were lucky enough to see him perform at the end of last year and Glenn and I seized the opportunity to pitch some customised questions to this genuine cultural character. We think the splendid responses give a good reading of this artists personality so grab a cuppa and enjoy this exchange…
- How was the tour with Dave Davies and his band?
Wow, never in a million years, did I think I would get to meet and share the stage with one of my childhood heroes. When I first walked on the stage for soundcheck, he came over to me and said ‘I’ve got the same shirt as you,” which immediately put me at ease.
The entire band and his family made us feel welcome. The US dates went so well, we were invited to open for him in London!
He’s Dave Davies, what more can you say?
- We saw the Islington show and at the end Ray Davies strolled on and sang You Really Got Me! It didn’t look planned…..what are your two favourite Kinks songs and why these?
“Sitting In My Hotel Room” – simply because it’s a beautiful melody with lyrics that express so well the loneliness of the constant rock n roll touring that Ray was experiencing at that time.
“Sitting In The Midday Sun” – Again the lyrics and melody just paint such a clear picture of a different world and show how astute his observations are.
Of course, these two are just today’s faves! What can I say, I feel like sitting today.
- When did you meet Dennis Diken, drummer of the mighty Smithereens? And what does he bring to your newest recordings?
Dennis and I go back to the early days’ of the Smithereens career. I used to be a drummer , or at least I liked calling myself that, and I was fortunate enough to open for several early shows with the band. Dennis’ personality and mine were immediately aligned! We’re both such music fanatics.
I think his love and knowledge of music helps inspire the recordings we make together. It’s great when you can turn around to somebody and say ‘remember the drum sound on ie The Troggs “Give It To Me”?’ and Dennis would immediately know the vibe I was going after.
- You are quite a snappy dresser….do we thank/blame Gene Vincent, Howard Keel or who?
Blame the Mod Movement, mate. I was so jealous of the whole London Mod scene when I was a young lad living in New York. It just seemed so exciting and had my folks not moved to the States…
But going back to the UK in the summers, I did get to do a bit of shopping on Carnaby Street.
- Your songs seem to paint pictures….is it a Dylan or John Prine influence maybe? Do you actually paint?
I don’t paint on a canvas, but I do in my mind. I like to take stories, sometimes current events, and sometimes personal events and tell a ‘new’ tale or two using those as inspiration. Sometimes the endings are changed to protect the innocent! Musically, my songwriting influences include Kevin Ayers, Jimmy Campbell, Chris White, Paul Buchanon, Clifford T Ward, early Jeff Lynne – all those off the wall songwriters who wrote one or two songs that still resonate today.
- Is there a book or novel that you would like to provide music for, if filmed? what styles would you utilise?
Love your questions, mate!
My wife loves the Ian Rankin Detective Rebus novels, and he often includes music references in his books. I’d love to provide the music to “Mortal Causes,” since it includes the ‘dreaded’ Edinburgh Festival (maybe include more music in the film version). Since he is Scottish and also likes classic rock (in the best sense), I’d like to make a soundtrack album of Scottish Postcard (the label) singles ie “Rip It Up,” by Orange Juice. Could be an interesting title for another one of his book, too!
- Suggest a song we might enjoy by a/ The Standells b/ Shadows of Knight and c/ Love with Arthur Lee
The Standells – “Try It” heard it on the radio but didn’t know who the artist was – I thought it was Paul Revere & The Raiders – it took me years to find that song.
Shadows of Knight – “Willie Jean” – as a kid, I saw them perform that song on Upbeat, a local TV show based in Cleveland, Ohio. I could never find it, until a “Best of Shadow of Knight” came out on CD.
Love Group “7 and 7” – this song is as explosive now as the first time I heard it. I picked up the single for 59 cents, along with the latest Zombies’ single, “Indication,” another mind-blowing song, at Sam Goody’s in NYC. Quite a good day for music for a little kid!
- When you write songs, do you start with keyboards?
I actually use garage band to write, starting with lyrics or a poem and then applying loop tracks. When I’ve got 30 or 40 songs demoed, I’ll play them for my producer, Don Piper. He and I then will start weeding them down and figuring out who we want to play on the actual recordings.
- Where in the world is the best place to perform, in your experience
For large venues, Lincoln Center Outdoors. For more intimate venues, I must say I like The Borderline in London, but probably the best for me is City Winery in New York City. The crowd always seem to be extremely friendly and receptive – maybe it’s because it’s my hometown.
- Which of your own songs would you suggest as a duet for Suzanne Vega and Iggy Pop? Who would be in the band? your dream band
“Link To The Chain” from my ‘Porcelain’ album, which I wrote with Ian Hunter in mind, but could be a perfect duet. The concept is about breaking up and could be from either viewpoints – male and/or female. Let’s pitch it! P.S. It was recently covered by The Strawbs’ John Ford on his most recent album. As far as the band – and my
dream band – how about The Biba Crowd (my band which consists of Don Piper, James Mastro, Sal Maida and Dennis Diken). And, they already know the song!
An alternate band could be Dennis Dunaway on bass (Alice Cooper), Clem Burke on drums (Blondie), Jeff Beck on guitar and Rod Argent on keyboards, produced by Eno and let’s replace Iggy with Terry Reid. You did say ‘dream.’
- Do you collaborate on songwriting, ever?
Yes. My first two solo albums were actually mostly co-writes with George Usher. I’ve also had the pleasure of writing with Marty Willson-Piper, Amanda Thorpe, Dave Rave, Dennis Diken, J-F Vergel, Steve Butler, John Dunbar and Don Piper. Every writer has his or her own style and it’s always an exciting process to find the magic of a new song.
- Your nomination of the best movie credits song tune……I love the Hendrix start of The Dreamers
There’s only one for me, mate. The opening to “A Hard Day’s Night” but other good ones are David Essex, “Stardust,” Slade “How Does It Feel,” to mention two.
- Describe New York please in eight words
Home, Magic, Music, Exciting, Encouraging, Motivating, TooHot, TooCold
- Describe Birmingham, England in three words (that should be enough)
Past Home Memories
- Who did you see ‘live’ that really surprised you?
How amazing David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars were at their first show in NYC at Carnegie Hall and how disappointing Marc Bolan and T.Rex were a couple of weeks earlier playing at the same venue.
- Which of your songs find you at your most a/ reflective b/ sad and c/ rocking?
Reflective: “Passing The Sunshine” from ‘Sparkle Lane’ It’s amazing to see how New York City neighborhoods have changed, and often not for the better
Sad: “Boys In Grey” also from ‘Sparkle Lane’ LP as it reminds me of going to The Holy Cross School in Birmingham as a kid – not a happy memory
Rocking: “Bright Star” from ‘Glass Marbles’ LP Give it a listen and you’ll hear why!
- The radio is on, what would you cross the room to turn UP? and what would you cross the room to turn DOWN?
Turn Up: “Personality Crisis” by The New York Dolls. They played an important role in my musical education of the ‘70s; I must have seen them at least 50 times.
Turn Down: Most hip hop songs.
- Name two records by any artist with great drum intro’s (NOT Superstition!)
The Dave Clark Five “Do You Love Me”
The Sweet “Ballroom Blitz”
- Did the ‘Canterbury’ music of Caravan, Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers ever appeal to you? Birmingham of course had The Move and much more
What are you kidding? My last album, ‘Kaye’, was inspired by and dedicated to Kevin Ayers. Living in New York the music that was being created in England seemed so romantic, especially the Canterbury sound which still sounds fresh and resonates in my brain.
- What song reminds you most of your childhood?
“Blackberry Way” by The Move. It reminds me of my Birmingham roots and it’s a song I wish I had written. Way underrated!
- What are your hopes for your new record Glass Marbles? On this record what is new territory for you as an artist?
As it’s my first album with an official UK release, hoping to gain some new friends who welcome the music I create. Since I’ve always been influenced so strongly by my English roots, it would be nice to have a little acceptance in what I still consider my homeland.
The chances we took putting so many songs (18) on one album was considered to be a real risk, but I felt that I needed to get these songs out of my system, so I can start another chapter of music!
Edward Rogers new LP ‘Glass Marbles’ is out now on Zip Records. For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2aOjJ2d
(Many thanks to Edward for his answers, Sacha, Eleonora and all of the team at Impressive PR)