Some things just get better with age, and Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers have proven just that with their seventh studio album, “The Independent.”
While most rockers usually reach their creative peak by age 30, Arizona’s most beloved group appears to be hitting its stride. With “The Independent,” the quartet has delivered its most commercially viable work and what some may come to regard as its masterpiece.
Along with drummer P.H. Naffah, guitarist Jim Dalton and bassist Nick Scropos, Clyne will host a May 2 record release show at The Pool at Talking Stick Resort. The 8 p.m. concert will feature several new tracks as well as hits from the band’s repertoire.
Clyne spoke to GetOut on the eve of the album’s April 29 release and a 14-city tour of the Southwest.
Q: ‘The Independent’ has no fillers. I imagine you’re an artist who’s very concerned about quality control?
RC: Wow, thank you for the kind words. Yes, one of the hallmarks of this band is that we have always placed quality before quantity. We’re hoping that this album would be perceived that way.
Q: One gets the idea that the title ‘The Independent’ either has or could have several meanings.
RC: It does. There’s several entendres and different shades going on. It’s everything from a declaration of the way our band operates, or it could mean the independent sojourner through life. However it is perceived is the correct way. The word independent has a lot of meanings.
Q: When and where were these songs recorded?
RC: We recorded the album wholly at drummer P.H. Naffah’s studio out in West Phoenix. ... It’s really small, but it’s very, very comfortable, and we own the equipment, which means we don’t have to look at the clock when recording. We began pre-production in the room with acoustic guitars with the songs that we had written. That occurred about mid-November of 2013. We commenced recording proper in December and finished tracking at the end of February, so it was spread out over the course of three months.
Q: When you envision a song, can you hear the whole tune in your head or is that a process you have to work through in the studio?
RC: It’s actually both. Typically, my songwriting process is that I bring a song to the band ... once I ... bring it out from its conceptual ether to where I can sing it and strum my guitar — and they take it from there. In other words, when I can take it to a campfire and sing it, that’s when I can take it to the band.
But the writing process is pure chaos, and sometimes I can be stuck on the same hamster wheel and go over and over the song, trying to bring it to life. ... I’ll just keep going until something finally breaks free or falls off the hamster wheel.
Q: Literate lyrics and melody seem to be a lost art form today. ‘The Independent’ not only has these elements but has great style.
RC: I work hard at it, but hopefully I’m getting better. ... I’m not really a musician as much as I am a strummer who can come up with some melodies. Where I really focus, and what takes most of my time, is working on words and making sure the whole fits together. I think that’s my largest contribution to the band.
Q: Tell me about the May 2 appearance at The Pool at Talking Stick Resort. Is this a listening party, a concert or both?
RC: It’ll sort of be all things rolled into one. Our band is pretty renowned for providing a celebratory and inclusive party atmosphere. We’ll definitely lean in on some of the classics, but peppering the set with stuff from ‘The Independent,’ too.
I’ve seen several release parties with other bands, and, unless people are familiar with the songs, they really don’t have a story behind them. They haven’t even incorporated their songs into their own lives and infused them with their own meaning. So I think it’s a mistake to play the new songs from top to bottom. The fans need to learn them, appreciate them and incorporate it for themselves.
If you go
What: Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers record release show for the new album “The Independent”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 2
Where: The Pool at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
Information: (480) 850-7734 or TalkingStickResort.com
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