Randy Rogers has had an overproductive summer. The country star born in Cleburne, Texas, has been caught in the middle of a hectic touring schedule while preparing for the release of his ninth studio album. But in the name of diversification, he’ll add just a bit more to his plate this weekend.
“The truth is through the years, I’ve watched people open restaurants, open outdoor music venues, open live music venues and just make mistake after mistake, basically,” Rogers says. “With good intentions, of course.”
Looking to expand his business holdings, Rogers partnered with Sean Clavir and Josh Babb of Rock Libations to create ChopShop Live, the first establishment of its kind in Roanoke, Texas. The leader of the Randy Rogers Band will host the grand opening Saturday for the 22,000-square-foot music venue, bar and restaurant. His role on the occasion will be strictly ceremonial, but when it came to the creation of this latest project, Rogers was nothing if not hands on.
“I said, 'Look, you guys have been my friends for a long time, and I just want to make sure that you know there’s more that goes into it than just building a stage and booking bands,’” Rogers says of the partnership. The three became acquainted through mutual friends and at Rock Libation’s former Austin-based restaurant Kenichi, of which Rogers was a noted fan.
Rogers jumped at the chance to join the project and says he threw himself into the process, bringing his expertise as a performer to bear. He brought along his longtime sound engineer, Marty Weir, to help with the venue’s design.
“I told them, ‘Hey look, don’t build anything,’” Rogers says. “’Don’t make a stage, don’t hang a PA, don’t purchase a light package, just don’t do anything until you consult with me and we get Marty to give you some ideas about what works and doesn’t work.’”
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Designing a space suited for a music venue has been known to pose a challenge. And 18 years on the road has given Rogers intimate knowledge of what makes a venue work. Everything from the acoustics of the indoor and outdoor seating areas to the size of the doors has been scrutinized, and Rogers also made sure to add some creature comforts for the performers.
“I made them put a shower backstage because that just made such a difference on my life through the years," he says. "I want the musicians that play our place [to] have a good experience and want to come back. You can cut corners and just kind of make it all about the bottom line, and when I walk into venues, I know that’s what they did, [but] the experience that you have as a musician playing our venue is going to be a good one.”
And if all goes well, it won’t be the only one. Rogers says the team hopes is to open more locations in growing hubs like Roanoke. In the meantime, ChopShop Live will open this weekend with a family-friendly scene, a pub-grub menu and the musical stylings of Rogers friend and collaborator Wade Bowen. You can find the details on Facebook.