BY JOHN B. MOORE
Roger Clyne has done a better job than many of managing to shake the “whatever happened to those guys” label. His ‘90s band The Refreshments churned out three decent-to-great albums, but were best known for the novelty radio hit “Banditos” (“Just how far down do you wanna go and we can talk it out over a cup of Joe and you can look deep into my eyes like I was a supermodel…” Yup, that’s the one.) While that track got the Arizona band a lot of attention, for a very short period of time, they had a slew of much better songs that never made it onto the radio.
Clyne closed up shop in 1998, grabbed a new crew and reappeared as Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers, where they focused on dusty, Southwestern roots rock with a cowboy hat and plenty of attitude, (like The Meat Puppets covering a bunch of tunes by the Old 97s). Putting out records on their own label, Clyne and team have managed to create their little industry complete with an annual music festival (Circus Mexicus) and their own brand of tequila, naturally (Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine). While it may not exactly be Kiss-level branding it’s enough for the band to put out their own music without having to compromise for the folks at Capitol Records.
The Independent, the band’s seventh studio record since 1999, is the same style of built for sunburned crowd sing-along, southern-accented rock they have erected their new careers on. While not as solid as the band’s first three albums, there is still plenty to like about this record. It’s got the don’t count us out anthem (“Right Where We Want ‘Em”) and the screw you, we’ll do it our way song (“Stick It to the Man”), both are destined to be crowd favorites moving forward. The slower tracks here sound a little like filler, but are easily excused when they’re sandwiched between the more raucous songs.
It’s good to see not every ‘90s band is destined for the packaged summer nostalgia tours, and can actually make a living focused on the present, rather than reliving the past year after year.
DOWNLOAD: “Stick It to the Man” and “Right Where We Want ‘Em”