By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Talking with Roger Clyne is a lot like playing a slot machine. Boisterous and colorful, Clyde speaks so rapidly that you never know what you are going to get out of him—but sometimes you manage to get lucky. The forthcoming and likable former leader of The Refreshments discusses the upcoming CD from Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers with the same demeanor as when he talks about Arizona not observing daylight saving time.
"We're right," Clyne says about his home state's failure to either spring forward or fall back. "We know what we're doing."
The same can be said for Turbo Ocho, Clyne's reality-recording experiment set to be released this week. Recorded as a webcast that brought daily audio and video updates to thousands of homes, Clyne's goal is to create music in plain view of the audience.
"As technology has progressed, we are able to share things—basically immediately—with our audience," Clyne says. "We wanted to do a spontaneous, creative event that responds to the demands, or at least the wishes, of listeners."
Clyne sees Turbo Ocho as just another way in which the process of making and marketing music continues to evolve.
"The writing's been on the wall for a dozen years with the way retail has been going," he says. "The music industry needs to be more flexible and respond to the demands of customers, and the artists need to be more flexible as well."
What has remained unchanged is Clyne's appealing mix of roots music and arena rock. While The Refreshments were sometimes too sarcastic for their own good, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers know when a serious touch is called for. As with 2007's somber No More Beautiful World, the new effort doesn't hesitate to recall the earnestness of Bruce Springsteen or Clyne's hero, Steve Earle.
And despite eight songs written and recorded in eight days, the hectic pace was nothing new for Clyne. The singer-songwriter's most well-known cut is probably the theme song to "King of the Hill," created with The Refreshments, characteristically, on a wing and a prayer.
"Our manager just called and told us that Fox was looking for a theme song for a new animated series," Clyne says. "I had that Bonanza-on-steroids riff just laying around, and the drummer added a little shuffle, and 30 seconds later, we had it."
Given the lack of exertion put into that cut, it's not surprising to hear that Clyne doesn't see his biggest paycheck as some kind of sellout.
"It's cool to be a thread in the American pop tapestry," he says. "That song has taken a lot of pressure off the mortgage payment."