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Play On, Roger Clyne...


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Yes, it's true. Roger Clyne graced me with his presence of a couple of hours a few months ago, even helped me set up my recording gadgets for premium recording advantage. And then, when he had to leave for a business meeting and I still had questions for him, he called me from the bunkhouse on Clyne Ranch the following week, during a storm, and I could hear the wind howling behind him in the background.

Roger is a game individual. Game for anything that will make his music more accessible to the masses. He plays the big theaters, he plays the small theaters, he plays the dinky clubs... it doesn't matter, so long as he's doing what he loves doing best: playing. Even when all members of the band can't get together at the same time, Roger and sometimes his drummer P.H. Naffah, will go do acoustic duos, and when P.H. can't make it, either, Roger will go himself and do an acoustic session at a bookstore somewhere, randomly picked, just on a whim.

There are a couple of key points to remember about Roger should you ever happen across him. He remembers everything. I was a face in the crowd at one of many shows one night, when I threw my black-and-white striped straw hat up on stage (that's what you do at Peacemakers concerts - he wears them and throws them back) and since the hat was so light, it didn't make the distance and landed instead in the area just before the stage where security would not let me re-fetch it. That was maybe 4 years ago.

At this luncheon meeting last Spring, he remembered me. Without prompting, even. He puzzled over it for a few minutes and then nailed where he'd seen me before. Very random. Very disconcerting, given we hadn't really "met" formally before that very day.

The other thing is, he is smart. And for all that smartness, he is also tactful. Most people I've known with that kind of intelligence are socially inept and come off as jerks. Rogert, though he caught every mistake I made (thankfully, there were only two ~ when I misquoted one of his lyrics and got the definition of a word wrong), he corrected me - very gently - both times. Being mildly chastened by Roger Clyne wasn't on my Christmas list, but it was Roger Clyne, so I considered it gift-wrapped.

Some of my takeaways from these conversations:

Roger is a loyal friend, he sticks with those that are important to him like a dog to a bone.

He is always evolving in his musical and lyrical pursuits, continually finding subtle and not-so-subtle ways to impart his message of peace and music, and peace through music in new styles.

Don't mess with his creativity. There is no worse way to alienate a musician than to restrict what he can and can't do with bringing his imaginings to life.

And beyond all, he enjoys being accommodating, even to the point of digging in his photo archives for the one photo of their tipi they had left to send me so I could include it in the "Mexican Moonshine" section of the article. I don't know many rock stars that would do much beyond paying it lip service.

So I heartily raise my cup and say, Play On, Roger Clyne.

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