Roy's Chat on America Online's Center Stage
Thursday, May 16, 1996

Copyright 1996 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

OnlineHost: Your host for tonight is AOLiveMC2 (HeatherAMP)

AOLiveMC2: Welcome to AOLive, Roy Rogers!

Roylive: Thank you! This is a first for me and it is great to be participating in something new like this.

AOLiveMC2: Are you ready to answer some questions?

Roylive: Ready and willing!

Question: What bands or artists do you enjoy listening to today?

Roylive: I listen to all kinds of music -- from blues to country to Jazz. But most of the music I listen to is classic jazz and blues recordings. One of the new artists I particularly like is Alannis Morisette.

Question: So when are you coming back to Spokane, WA?

Roylive: Probably not until September or October.

Question: Do you like cool jazz?

Roylive: Very much. Love Chet Baker, almost anything by Miles Davis, and more.

Comment: Roy -- forgive my ignorance, but what is a slide guitar?

Roylive: Slide guitar is a specific way of playing guitar by use of a metal or glass cylinder on either your third or fourth finger. Usually in conjunction with finger picking or regular picking. The guitar is usually tuned to an open chord, i.e., E, D, G, or A. This is Delta Style, Delta being from Mississippi Delta. One of the greatest musicians was Robert Johnson who influenced many musicians after him such as Muddy Waters and Elmore James all the way down to the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.

Comment: Did you have to endure a lot of cowboy jokes while growing up?

Roylive: You bet! More than you want to hear! But being named after the cowboy is something that I learned to live with early on and I don't mind, in fact, I enjoy it.

Question: Roy, are you ever going to go "public" again? Do you miss your audience?

Roylive: I have a seven week tour coming up of the United States and Canada, so I haven't missed my audience for very long!

Question: Roy, what's your biggest accomplishment in your eyes?

Roylive: Its always tough to think the biggest of anything but I suppose the biggest accomplishment so far has been my production of John Lee Hooker's recordings, all of which have been nominated for Grammy's, and two that have won.

Question: Where in Canada will you perform?

Roylive: June 26 at Place D' Youville -- Quebec. June 27 Sherbrook -- Quebec June 28 at the Montreal Jazz Festival -- June 29 at the Ultrasound Show Bar in Toronto.

Question: What's your favorite song off the new album?

Roylive: To pick a favorite song is like trying to pick a favorite child. But I will give you a couple of my favorites and the reasons. Love Me Or Leave Me really captures the sound of the band close to live. And Vida's Place, because of the big groove.

Question: Who was the single, most influential individual in your life and musical career choices?

Roylive: Again, its tough to pick just one single most influential individual. So I have to beg the question, and express it a couple of different ways. My original guitar teacher, who's name is Joe Wagner, was very influential early on in my playing guitar. But certainly Robert Johnson, considered to be the king of the Delta Blues players, was most influential as far as slide guitar. Other than that there are so many influences. Too numerous to mention.

Question: What songs did you win Grammy's for? Or was it for production?

Roylive: I did not win Grammy's for any of my songs. And to set the record straight, I produced two Grammy award winning recordings. The Grammy went to the artist, John Lee Hooker. I have a nice plaque on the wall that states I produced a Grammy award winning record. The first was the track "I'm In The Mood" on the recording of "The Healer" with Bonnie Raitt and John Lee Hooker. The second is for the album "Chill Out" which was released last year. I was nominated for two Grammy's. One as a player on the soundtrack of The Hot Spot with John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis, Taj Mahal, Tim Drummond, and Earl Palmer. Second nomination was with Norton Buffalo for a song I wrote called "Song For Jessica".

Question: Roy, where did you perform for the paying public for the first time?

Roylive: Probably my first paid gig was in 1963 with the first rock and roll band I ever played with called the Newports in Vallejo, California. That was when I was in junior high school, and boy was I happy!

Question: Is it difficult to produce another's music and stay focused on your own sound?

Roylive: I don't find it difficult at all. It's just a matter of wearing different hats. In reference to producing John Lee Hooker, I've known John a number of years, and we're very close friends, which is very important to producing him. As far as my own music, when I am recording, I am very focused through the whole process, so I think it's just a matter of being focused.

Question: Any plans of another disk with Norton. The first two were great!

Roylive: No plans to record right at the moment with Norton. I'm sure at some point we will record together again. We have a very close relationship, the kind that is hard to find. But right now, Norton is doing his own recordings and of course I'm very much involved in my new album, "Rhythm & Groove", on Virgin/Pointblank records.

Question: Awards would be nice, in that they could get you more exposure. How do you find/grow your audience? (I feel lucky to have heard you on KERA radio in Dallas.)

Roylive: Awards are nice, but they don't necessarily increase the exposure of your music. I think the most important thing is to keep playing and touring. I have a saying that I use a lot when people ask me about performing and it is the following: You're only as good as your last show.

Question: Hi, it's Austin. How many guitars do you use in performances?

Roylive: Usually five or six. I have a 12 string Dobro electric, which is a very special guitar. I have a Les Paul, Jr. I have a Martin 016NY, with a DeArmond pickup. I have a standard Strat re-issue. I have a Gibson Blues LOO acoustic. I have a custom double neck, which is a one of a kind. And you can win an Epiphone Blues Master by entering the Roy Rogers Gibson Guitar Giveaway by going to keyword: Virgin!

Question: What is your opinion of Ke'b Mo? I've heard purists such as Brozman and M. Simpson get a little down on him.

Roylive: I like Ke'b Mo a lot. We played a gig together in Aspen Colorado last year. I think he's great. I've never been a purist about playing music. Music is about expressing yourself and getting whatever feeling you want to get out there.

Question: If you had found you had no talent for the guitar, what would have been your next choice for an instrument?

Roylive: That's a real good question. Since I like to beat on things, I might have been a drummer. But probably I would have been a piano player. Although there is a real affinity to me between slide guitar and saxophone. So who knows, I might have been a saxophonist.

Question: What do you think of the slide guitaring of Ron Wood?

Roylive: I think he's O.K. He fits in with the Rolling Stones really well. I met him once and he's a really nice fellow.

Comment: What is your schedule like during an average work day?

Roylive: It depends on if I'm on the road or not. If I'm not on the road, I usually take my daughter to school and hit the office, and maybe have a rehearsal once in a while. If I'm on the road, its usually driving or traveling on some mode of transportation, at least one or two interviews, sound check, (which I hate) and then a gig.

Question: Do you ever feel limited working in primarily a blues format? How do you keep it fresh?

Roylive: I never feel limited at all working in a blues format because the blues is unlimited. The sky is the limit as far as where you can take music, whatever kind of music you are playing. So to me, it always should be fresh. I think some people place limitations on themselves by what kind of music they play which is a shame.

Question: Who's your favorite slide guitarist(s), other than you, and contemporary?

Roylive: My favorite Slide guitarist is Robert Johnson.

Question: Do you think the John Lee Hooker Pepsi commercial will do blues good or harm?

Roylive: I don't see how it can do blues harm. John is being himself, he's looking good, he's playing good, what more can you ask for!

Question: What do you think of most promoters?

Roylive: Most promoters are just trying to do their job, like most people. They are trying to get their numbers up, just like everybody in business. On a personal level, I'll just say, some are better than others...

Question: I like the instrumental on RHYTHM &GROOVE;: Blues for Brazil ... great drums, too ... did you arrange those?

Roylive: Yes, I had a firm idea as to what the drums should play. However, my drummer, Jimmy Sanchez, certainly put his stamp on the groove with his excellent playing and did have some great ideas, especially for the solo.

AOLiveMC2: We have time for one more question:

Question: I just saw Maria Muldaur here in Pensacola ... what a voice! How is she to work with?

Roylive: I've known Maria for a long time. As a matter of fact, the first recording I ever made in 1976 I did a vocal duet with Maria (the record is totally out of print by the way). She is a gem to work with. I've always loved her voice, and I especially like how the song "For The Love Of A Woman" came out on my new recording, "Rhythm & Groove". Maria really enjoyed singing on it and I just saw her last night when we both performed at Wavy Gravy's 60th birthday party, at the Berkeley Community Theater. It was a great gig. She has a new record coming out very soon, I believe.

AOLiveMC2: Thanks to our audience for some great questions! Thank you, Roy Rogers, for all of the great answers!

Roylive: Bye for now. It was a pleasure to participate in a live chat on AOL. Look forward to seeing you all on the road. Look for us on tour in your area. Thanks!

AOLiveMC2: Good night all!

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