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Interview with Rogers Stevens for Pop Culture Madness

By Kristyn for the PopCultureMadness (May 23, 2008)

 

Pop Culture Madness's Kristyn spoke to the guitarist from the recently reunited band, Blind Melon. Rogers Stevens shared his thoughts on touring, recording with a new lead singer and how it feels to be back with a new album, For My Friends. She caught him while he was on the road in Toledo, Ohio with the band and enjoyed learning about his crazy fan stories and live performances. Read on to learn more about this great band!

Kristyn: Hi, Rogers! This is Kristyn.

Rogers: Hi, how are ya?

Kristyn: I'm fine, how are you doing?

Rogers: I'm alright, alright.

Kristyn: That's good! Where are you guys located right now?

Rogers: We are in? Toledo, Ohio.

Kristyn: Oh, okay, how's the weather there?

Rogers: Eh, partly cloudy, breezy, 68 degrees.

Kristyn: Well, that's a good weather report! (laughs)

Rogers: Yea, I'm standing by a dumpster with my name on it right now though, it's kind of weird.

Kristyn: Yea, that is kind of strange! So, your new album just came out, what has the feedback been so far?

Rogers: (jokes) It has been overwhelmingly negative. No, it seems to be going pretty well. We're doing this on a much smaller scale than if we were do be doing it on a major label this time. I think it's going to take time to permeate and let people know we're out there. Our fans like it! They've been showing up and singing all the words so that's good!

Kristyn: What are some ways you've been promoting the CD?

Rogers: Just touring, pretty much, you know? We did a six week run and had a week off and now are out here on a seven week run. So we'll be back out again after that too, it's how we operate.

Kristyn: How do you guys feel about MySpace as a way to connect with fans and get feedback in that sense?

Rogers: It's been really good, we're not in any way, on the cutting edge of technology! The MySpace thing was way popular before we started doing it but it's been good for us. It's allowed people to find us and it's a central place for people to go and see what we're doing. It works for us!

Kristyn: Do you maintain your own page?

Rogers: Yeah, we do actually! We have someone that helps us every now and then with the way it looks because, I mean, we're not too good with code! We do answer letters and stuff like that, which has been interesting, it's such a different experience from what we did 15 years ago, just touring and making records. It's great because it's an open conduit. You can just talk to people straight-up.

Kristyn: It's an open communication forum!

Rogers: Yes and that's really preferable for us.

Kristyn: How would you say your sound has differed from the first to latest album? Has it matured?

Rogers: I do, because when we made the first record, a lot of us had only been playing for a little while. Everybody just naturally got better as musicians over time. In that element, we can do things and pull them off better than before. As far as the songs themselves, it seems to me like the arrangements have gotten tighter. We used to be all over the map and take bizarre left turns in the middle of our songs. That's one of the things people liked about us, but others didn't. I think we managed to keep it like that but hone it down to make them flow more evenly.

Kristyn: Who would you credit as being your influences?

Rogers: I started out listening to hard rock bands. I grew up in Mississippi and grew up hearing a lot of country music so some people thought we were crazy. A lot of roots and blues music and stuff. When I was 13 or 14, I started listening to a lot of Van Halen, ACDC and did that when I started playing guitar. Got into R.E.M and the Rolling Stones, too. I really don't listen to any of them now. I listen to old jazz records now. I like to listen to things now way different from what we do. I would say that back when we were forming the sound of the band we were listening to Cream, Zepplin.

Kristyn: Are there any bands you're a fan of these days?

Rogers: I hear things that I like. I love music that has any attachment to its roots and where it came from. I love the White Stripes. It's a throw back to another era. I'm not one of those guys that scour record stores for new things people have never heard of. I'm not going to be given out any hot tips really. I like Tool and Muse a lot too. The Shins, too. Every now and then, I'll hear something and be like, this sounds cool!

Kristyn: How does performing live compare with recording? Which do you prefer?

Rogers: They both have their benefits and each have their drawbacks. I can't say one or the other, right now, I'd say I want to go into the studio and record some new songs because we've been playing every night. Definitely the live stuff is good when you keep it interesting and change things around.

Kristyn: Do I have a favorite live performance?

Rogers: A favorite show that we've ever done?

Kristyn: Yes.

Rogers: Gosh, I don't know. They all blur together at this point! One this tour, Detriot and L.A. were real good. Washington D.C. was good, so there have been some memorable shows. They all run together sometimes.

Kristyn: Do you have any fun road stories?

Rogers: Wow, uh.. if they are fun and interesting to me, they are probably best not told. (laughs) It's kind of a grind, to be honest and we're traveling everyday. There's funny stuff that happens and things that are unfortunately comic. I would call too many people out if I told.

Kristyn: Okay, understandable. I read that Blind Melon officially took a break from 99'-06', were you in contact with each other during that time?

Rogers: Well, we sort of were done and never really intended to do this again. We are all friends and I played on Brad's solo record and would get calls to play on things they were producing in L.A. So we all stayed in touch. We're like brothers really and inseparable at this point.

Kristyn: How did you come about to find Travis as the new lead singer? What events contributed to the band getting back together?

Rogers: Well, that happened in late 2006. Brad and Christopher have a studio in Los Angeles and were producing records and some guy from Atlantic Records brought Travis by to see if they'd work on his demos and get him a deal. They flowed from that. The idea popped into their minds and I got a call. We never really considered doing it. Everyone was so far down different paths in their lives. It grew naturally out of that. Once we all played in the same room, we just knew. When I first started working with Travis, I felt weird about it in the beginning but there's something about the way he plays and handles it, he's so sincerely passionate. My thinking went away. I remember the past and look forward at the same time.

Kristyn: Where do you see the future of music heading and where do you see Blind Melon in that picture?

Rogers: I think we'll carve out our own niche. Who knows! I think that people are relying much more on live performances and hopefully we'll come off as good. It's hard to sell a record these days and we can use our live talents to keep our fans. I love where music is going though.

Kristyn: What do you enjoying in your free time?

Rogers: I play a lot of guitar to be honest. Painting. I have a two-year-old and seeing her. That's the big difference with what we're doing now, we are dealing with our kids. The two lifestyles are tough making it work!

Kristyn: Any crazy fan experiences over the years?

Rogers: Yea, they are passionate about the band. I think sometimes they fail to realize we are just like them. We're just people, I suppose. It's weird, but normally people are really cool. You get some weirdo's here and there.

Kristyn: Can you share with us one interesting fact about yourself or the band that our site readers may not already know?

Rogers: I wish I could email you something later because I could probably think of something good, I'm on the spot! I'll have to get back to you!

Kristyn: I'll be waiting for an answer. My final question is really, what is on the horizon for Blind Melon?

Rogers: We'll be out on the road for a year on this record and then go home and start writing again. We have some follow-up material waiting. There is not a shortage of songs! Editing will be brutal though. Stuff is always cooking. We'll wait till the tour is done though!

Kristyn: Thanks so much for speaking with us today! Hopefully I'll catch a show in the Philly area sometime!

 

 

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