Featured Musician: Roy Rogers, Guitarist/Band Leader/Producer/Songwriter
Born: July 28, 1950 in Redding , CA
Schools: Highland Elementary, Vallejo Junior High, Vallejo Senior High Class of ‘68
Currently Resides in: Nevada City, Ca.
Relationship Status/Children: Married to Gaynell Rogers, have 2 children—Sam and Jessica
What's the first music you remember hearing? My Mother playing the piano—she was an excellent pianist!
Who influenced your music? Too many people and styles to mention them all, but some of my favorites are: Blues—Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf; Gospel—Blind Willie Johnson, Soul Stirrers, Mahalia Jackson; R&B/R&R—Otis Redding, Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones, Captain Beefheart ; Jazz—Mose Allison,
Thelonius Monk, Ben Webster.
Were you really named after Roy Rogers, the singing cowboy? Indeed I was!
Did you ever meet the “real” Roy Rogers? I always like to point out that I AM the real Roy Rogers—because the cowboy’s real name was Leonard Slye. I met him three times—one most memorable time when we BOTH were nominated for a Grammy Award in the same year!
For those who don’t know, what’s slide guitar? A distinct style of playing guitar with either a glass ‘bottleneck’ or metal slide on your finger while fretting the instrument—often used for the melody or improvisation.
Who bought you your first guitar? I did—with my paper route money—$25 Stella guitar, as I recall. I bought my first electric guitar too.
You were in a rock n roll band that played the Rangers' Hall in Vallejo. Tell us about that Vallejo music scene and don’t leave out the gold lamé jackets! There was a lot of music around Vallejo when I was growing up—and A LOT of bands—soul bands, rock bands, blues bands, psychedelic bands, you name it. The first band I was in was called ‘The Newports’ and we did actually wear gold lamé jackets! I was just 13 years old and performing at high school dances and parties at places like the Rangers’ Hall—which were ‘happening’ dances. There were so many places to play back then—you must remember that to have a ‘real’ dance or party in those days—you HAD to have a live band—period!
Do you still have family in Vallejo? My younger brother Robert still lives in Vallejo and my parents are buried there.
You’re well known for being a delta blues slide guitarist, is there music you listen to that might surprise us? I listen to ALL kinds of music—classical ( I love those Russian composers!), pop standards (artists like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, etc.), world beat stuff too (Afro- Cuban, Brazilian etc.), as well as blues, R&R and much jazz…. There is so much great music in the world to listen to—limits are only in your mind!
You’ll be headlining at The Empress Theatre on February 18th in celebration of the theatre’s 100th anniversary. Any memories of the theatre when you were a kid growing up in Vallejo? It was called The Crest Theatre when I was in Vallejo and it was really ‘wellworn’ back then. If my memory serves me well—it showed a lot of ‘B’ movies, especially for ‘us kids.’ It is so great to see it restored. I have performed in many of these historic theatres around the country and they are some of my favorite places to perform—and I look forward to returning once again to The Empress.