Few relationships in life are more complicated than those among band members. Music history is filled with stories of the rise and fall of creative personalities, but the Randy Rogers Band is a unique brotherhood fueled by a shared passion for making great music and a strong commitment to each other. That bond forms the foundation for the new music on their latest album Hellbent, a high-octane collection of songs buoyed by the same fearless spirit and sense of camaraderie that has made them one of country’s most compelling bands.
In a business where bands come and go and membership is often a revolving door, the Randy Rogers Band has been together for more than 17 years. “Just like any other relationship, you have to pick your battles and have respect for each other,” Rogers says. “None of us know how to do anything else. This is our livelihood. It’s how we take care of our families. Years ago when we were really struggling and wondering how we were going to make it, there were some deep and emotional conversations that we all had with each other about if this is really what we all wanted and the decision was made a long time ago. The answer was yes then and the answer is still yes now. It’s something we all believe in. This is our life’s work.”
The culmination of their musical journey thus far can be heard on Hellbent.
“Creatively we all bring something different to the table and you can hear it in the records,” Rogers says. “You can hear people’s personalities in the records.”
It’s that blend of unique personalities that have fueled the Randy Rogers Band’s success for nearly two decades.
“Our bass player, Johnny Chops, has this way of writing. It’s a little old school, a little Waylon-esque if you will. His lyrics aren’t necessarily anything like mine. They are a little bit more vague and more interpretive,” Rogers says, bragging on his bandmate. “What Brady Black adds to our makeup is his sensibility on stage, his appearance, his energy, his unique way that he plays the fiddle. He’s a crowd pleaser.”
“Les Lawless, our drummer, has played on hundreds of albums with many different artists. He’s kind of the human metronome. He’s a solid drummer. I can’t recall a mistake he’s ever made on stage. He’s just a rock. Geoffrey Hill [guitar, vocals] is a very talented musician. He’s a great singer, a great harmony singer. Most of our sound as a band is because of Geoffrey and his unique vocals and the way he blends his vocals with my vocals.”
Of course, the lineup wouldn’t be complete without longtime member Todd Stewart. “There isn’t an instrument that Todd can’t play and he sings well,” Rogers enthuses. “Onstage he’s playing guitar on one song, mandolin on the next one, fiddle on the next one and a piano on the next one and a B3 on the next one. He’s a key part of our band because he fills up all those spots musically that no one else can do like him. It’s fascinating to watch him switch between every song.”
That dynamic musical chemistry has taken the Randy Rogers Band beyond the competitive music scene in their native Texas to build a national fan base with sold out shows across the country. The band has become skilled at capturing that live energy and passion on their albums and Hellbent is a perfect example. “We’ve been through this process long enough to know that we wanted this record to be perfect and complete so we kept writing and went back in and we recorded again,” Rogers reveals.
“The album is named Hellbent and isn’t necessarily for ‘Hell Bent On a Heartache.’ We’re in it for the long haul. We’re lifers,” he says with a grin.
“This is obviously our way of life. This isn’t some Johnny-come-lately group of guys. We’re like an oak tree. We’re not going anywhere. We’re not hinged on whether our next single will be a No.1. We’re not hinged on an album topping the charts. We have a great and loyal fan base and we do things right. When we play our shows, people expect to have a great night and to go home satisfied. As long as we keep doing that, no change in the industry, no record deal or anything like that can make or break this band.”