Edward Rogers: Rock ‘n’ Roll Never Forgets In New York City
As this album was coming together it turned apparent to me that it had a 1970s theme to it… after i learned that Kevin Ayers passed away I obtained a hold of a few of the final phrases he’d written which had been ‘you don’t shine if you do not burn…’ After that, your complete process of making KAYE fell into place. Like a puzzle…”
To coin an angular phrase worthy of the above referenced legend, Edward Rogers is New York City rock ‘n’ roll’s “Ayers obvious.”
For many people, to traverse the streets of latest York City in the present tense, particularly in singer — songwriter Edward Rogers’ decrease Manhattan Astor Place neighborhood, is to dance among the many ghosts of artists priced out of the environs, the soulless steel and glass structures wherein romantic tenements rued; the rock clubs, mom and pop establishments and document outlets changed by telecommunications shops and expensive Stone Island Sale boutiques. To be a rock ‘n’ roll practitioner in this unusual place is to be an iconoclast and a dreamer — like Edward Rogers, and his mentor, Kevin Ayers.
For those of you, and there are understandably many, who are unaware of the life and work of Kevin Ayers, he was among the most important British pop experimental recording artists who emerged from rock’s hallowed Canterbury Scene which flourished in the late 1960s-70s. An eccentric, prolific enigma, Mr. Ayers was a founding member of Comfortable Machine, and collaborator with a who’s who checklist of icons you will have heard of: Brian Eno, John Cale, Phil Manzanera, and Mike Oldfield — amongst scores of others whom I’m positive my readers will admonish me for not citing. Ayers’ imprint on indie and mainstream rock artists of the past twenty years is indelible — but fame was not within the cards for Kevin – not that I feel he cared a lot.
Edward Rogers was born in Birmingham, England. His mother and father pulled up stakes, and Edward, and migrated to the United States just as the British rock world was undergoing a historic transformation with Jeff Beck, The Who, Cream, PP Arnold, The Nice, Manfred Mann — all of whom Edward noticed on transient summer season trips back to his homeland. “It was the worse time ever” recalls Rogers “all the pieces was taking place in the UK! And I was in Rhode Island, of all bloody locations.” However there have been perks to being a Brummie in America. “I didn’t notice that having slightly longer hair would have such a powerful impression — especially on the ladies! They constantly inquired if I knew John, or George, or Ringo, or Paul. It introduced me out of a shell, though the dangerous news was that I grew to become a threat to the jocks and the straight-laced institution.”
Luckily for Edward his household ultimately moved a bit south to New York Metropolis at the daybreak of the punk revolution. When a rocker approached him and declared “you are going to be a drummer in my band” his life modified. Rogers gladly tossed aside his well-paying law agency job “which financed my velvets and satins, after which some. From then on I copied everything Clem Burke (Blondie) did! When you have just about any queries about where and how you can utilize Island, you’ll be able to e mail us from the web site.” Behind the package with such bands because the Overnights and Route sixty six, Edward revels in telling battle stories of early, raucous gigs with the Smithereens, beating out the Stray Cats at a long Island Battle of the Bands contest, and his shock at gazing out into the audience of the legendary Kenny’s Castaways on Bleeker Avenue (which is now a sports bar) one bleary evening solely to understand that Mick Jagger and Al Pacino have been fixated on him.
Though an accident basically ended his career as a drummer, Edward was reborn as a singer — which is his natural habitat — Rogers belongs below the spotlight, not behind it. As was his destiny, Edward met the right folks at the correct time whereas he “by no means worked and studied so hard in my life” to change into a vocalist. He served a musical conductor for a bona fide (and thankfully still functioning) New York City rock establishment — The Losers Lounge — based by Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs, Kevin Ayers, Ryan Adams, Martha Wainwright, amongst others) which is a free assemblage of musicians who tribute iconic artists starting from Neil Diamond to The Cure. After his bravura efficiency of The Zombies “I love You,” fellow Lounge performer Pierce Turner hugged him and pronounced “now you are a singer — now you’re considered one of us!”
Turner’s proclamation was seconded when Edward handed an audition earlier than his heroes Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex), Clem Burke, and Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith Group), among others for a Marc Bolan and T. Rex tribute. “When Tony checked out me in the attention and stated ‘you’re in mate’ I delved deeper into my singing classes.” Edward’s development as songwriter arrived at the prospect assembly of George Usher (The Decoys, Beat Rodeo, The Bongos, House of Usher) with whom he still collaborates.
In addition to 2 highly acclaimed albums as a member of the Bedsit Poets with Amanda Thorpe and Mac Randall (The Summer time That Changed, Rendezvous), Rogers’ solo cannon is quite impressive. Sunday Fables (2004), You haven’t Been Where I have been (2008) displayed promise aplenty. Yet Rogers’ engaging Sparkle Lane (2010) collection, which drew inspiration from his Birmingham cultural and familial roots and emigration to the USA, and the glam moxie of Porcelain (2011) which was fueled by the artist’s love, surrender, and devotion to all things early 1970s Brit rock – is the stuff of observational genius in the tradition of Ray Davies, Ian Hunter, and Colin Blunstone — the latter two of whom at the moment are Edward’s beloved colleagues. “Music has been wonderful to me — the people who I used to be followers of are now friends of mine.”
To converse with Edward about his new album KAYE is to witness a man on a mission. “I dedicated this album to Kevin Ayers because he is one of those people who haven’t obtained his just rewards. Some of it was his personal fault,” Edward continues, “he certainly had a self-destructive aspect to his character and life. Still, he was one among the great songwriters of his technology with an amazing body of labor — he deserves to be out there!”
Produced by Don Piper, whom Edward reveals “pointed me in the appropriate route 9 out of ten instances,” the assemblage of musicians on KAYE created the right storm to convey Rogers’ vision to fruition. KAYE is a fierce song-cycle with tender moments tempered by sonic outbursts which ebb and flow from track to trace. A lot reward should be afforded Rogers’ cadre of co-players: guitarists Piper, James Mastro (Ian Hunter, Bongos) Pete Kennedy (The Kennedys) Don Fleming (Velvet Monkeys); bassist Sal Maida (Roxy Music); keyboardist Joe McGinty, and cameos by George Olson on trumpet, and legendary downtown vogue denizen backing-vocalists Tish & Snooky, amongst others.
“Street Fashion” evokes the trashy artwork-rock stuff of bassist Maida’s former ensemble. As is the duty of many an artist, Rogers spits out truth to energy in the scathing “What’s Happened to the Information As we speak” — to which Edward lectures to this author “where do the Kardashians even benefit a mention in my life!” Says Edward of the track “My Street” — “I wished to put in writing a song like Ray Davies — I was considering ‘Lifeless End Avenue’ as I thought I was going to spend the remainder of my life on Edgewater Highway in Birmingham – many of my friends did.” The maddest minimize on KAYE stems from a late evening jam which was edited from 28:00 to eight:00 entitled “Peter Pan’s Dream” whereby McGinty, Mastro, and Maida tear into a bitches brew of angular counter-melodies as Rogers croons melancholy over the mayhem — “we lower it considering how would Kevin Ayers would sound if he were alive at present.”
Edward’s rendition of Kevin Ayers’ “After the Present” stone island ghost ventile bomber jacket remains faithful to the unique — as it should be — though Mr. Ayers would have welcomed Tish & Snooky’s backing vocal support which quotes the legendary Thunderthighs (Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” Mott the Hoople’s “Roll Away the Stone”) in spirit and execution. The title monitor, with its waltz groove, intones Ayers’ dying mantra “you don’t shine if you do not burn…