Interview -Edward Rogers – Wicked Spins Radio
Edward Rogers Interview for Wicked Spins Radio
WSR – How did you approach Glass Marbles that was different from your last solo album Kaye?
Edward – I spent a year writing songs with a very easy flow approach – as different styles and musical ideas came to me with no definitive theme. From the 50 songs I wrote, my producer, Don Piper and I narrowed it down to 22 songs. We then went to work recording in different studios with a different line-up of musicians to fit each one of the songs we had selected. Once we were done recording, Don and I selected the 18 for Glass Marbles.
WSR – You have toured a bit with Colin Blunstone, what’s it like touring with Colin and do you have a memorable moment from the tour?
Edward – Colin is an old mate of mine and a true gentleman and total professional musician. He’s also my favourite singer. He and his band couldn’t have been more welcoming to Don, James and myself, and made what was my first real tour a memorable experience. My favourite moment: we were doing soundcheck in a venue in Connecticut, and when I looked into the house, there was Colin, seated in the center, listening to our soundcheck, while pretending to be on his iPad. I thought to myself “it’s pretty amazing that he cares that much and is spending his break watching us.”
WSR – Apart from touring what else have you done with Colin and what is he like as a friend?
Edward – That would be ‘kiss and tell.’ Actually, the first Colin Blunstone related project I did, along with a mate of mine, James Spina, was put together “Some Years: It’s The Time of Colin Blunstone,” a best of for Sony Legacy. Through that project, I met him and subsequently became good friends. I also was involved in bringing him over to New York in February 1999 for three shows at The Fez Café (which is now closed). We are both supportive and honest with each other, what more can you ask for?
WSR – You once put together a career retrospective of Colin’s solo work which was released on Epic Records, how did you chose the work that would appear on that album?
Edward – I mention it in my answer above. It actually came out on Sony Legacy. Selecting the material, for fans like James, and myself was easy – the hardest part was choosing what to leave off. I’d love to re-visit his more recent solo work and put together another compilation reflecting the work he’s done in the last 20 years.
WSR – Of the 50 songs you had available for Glass Marbles how did you dwindle it down to the final 18 as all your songs have merit?
Edward – This is where my mate and producer, Don Piper, came in. I always value his honest opinion and depend on him to help me realize my vision. He has a way of being honest that comes from the heart, with no ego involved, and that’s part of what makes him so special.
WSR – You had a few other musicians working with you on Glass Marbles including among many, James Mastro. James plays for Ian Hunter. Can you tell our readers not only about the amazing musicians you worked with on Glass Marbles but also about James and Ian
Edward – James is one of the most talented musicians I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He’s so disciplined, always coming up with new ideas and especially, amazing guitar parts. Through James, I got to meet Ian Hunter and have opened for him on occasion. Ian is a true rock and roll legend and has always been gracious and friendly.
Sal Maida, Dennis Diken, Joe McGinty, Konrad Meissner and of course Don Piper are all old mates who have played on most of my solo albums and know how to catch a song in two or three takes at most. We were also lucky to get John Ford, Ivan Julian, David Schramm and Geoff Blythe to come in to various sessions and add their talents to the record. For backing vocals, it was a one-session razzmatazz with the colourful and talented Tish & Snooky. Pete Kennedy is an old mate and lives right upstairs from me and said ‘just call me when you’re recording in your apartment and I’ll pop down.’ He turned up with five guitars and just stayed. Rounding out the sessions were J-F Vergel and Gaz Thomas, my Atlantic Tunnel mate.
I’m really lucky to have so many talented friends who care and help me in my musician visions.
WSR – You opened for Dave Davies in NYC and then were invited to open for him in London where something special happened, what made London magical at that gig?
Edward – I actually opened for him in Washington, DC and Asbury Park, NJ as well as NYC – what a thrill. London! Now that was a memorable weekend. It was right before Xmas, Dave’s last show of 2015 and in Islington, not far from Muswell Hill, home of the Davies family. I know it was a real homecoming celebration for him. and being asked to open for him at such an important show was a dream come true, totally not expecting what would happen during Dave’s finale, when brother Ray joined Dave on “You Really Got Me.” I knew at that moment, I was witnessing R&R History.
WSR – Your backing musicians also serve in the touring bands of your idols, who are they and who are your idols?
Edward – My core band: James Mastro; I’ve always been a huge fan of Ian Hunter and of course, Mott The Hoople. Dennis Diken of The Smithereens and now Dave Davies is an old friend; of course The Kinks are one of my all-time favourite groups. Sal Maida played with Roxy Music and Sparks, need I say more? Don Piper plays with the eccentric Syd Straw. To further answer your question, these are just some of the many musical icons I love: Billy Fury, Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayers, Scott Walker, David Sylvian, Robert Wyatt, Paul Weller, Patti Smith, Sandie Shaw. I was lucky to co-write a song for Glass Marbles with John Ford of Elmer Gentry’s Velvet Opera, The Strawbs, and Hudson Ford fame. And, the list goes on…
WSR – As a radio show host myself I personally find it interesting about your work on the Atlantic Tunnel radio show, can you tell our readers about this please?
Edward – Ah, my not-so-secret passion. I co-host the weekly Atlantic Tunnel radio show on EVR with Gaz Thomas. What a blast, putting together a show every week of my favourite old, new and lost Brit gems. I pride myself in finding new artists, along with ‘lost’ artists of the past who deserve exposure. As I’m answering this questionnaire, I’m listening to the B-side of the first 10CC single, “Donna,” a great lost gem called “Waterfall.” Music never stops rolling in my head.
WSR – David Bowie recently passed which has been one of many great legends we have lost recently, how did Bowie’s work affect you?
Edward – This is a sensitive subject to me. I wrote a poem about it, which I hope to put to music one day, but I’m not ready to do so yet.
WSR – Cancer took Bowie and Lemmy, I have spoken to musicians in the UK who have worked on the Beat Cancer compilation and events for Cancer Research. Has cancer ever affected you in any way, maybe not directly as a disease but has it affected someone whom you know or care about?
Edward – One of my closest friends, George Usher, who I worked with for seven years, and taught me so much about songwriting, was stricken. Boy, was that close to home. I also have female friends who have battled cancer within the last few years. We just lost Adam Roth to cancer. Seems like I hear of another victim of this horrible disease every week.
WSR – Of all your songs which ones do you personally like to play live and why?
Edward – From Glass Marbles, I have a lot of fun with “Blackpool Night.” It’s a real spoof on the Englishman’s working class holiday. It always gets a laugh or two. We always enjoy playing “The Biba Crowd,” which glams it up a little bit, mostly at my expense!
WSR – So what was the Manfred Mann tracks you covered at Losers Lounge at the beginning of December last year and why did you choose that particular one to cover?
Edward – Wow, you’re good! I was originally asked to do a Herman’s Hermits song, but said, ‘no thanks, mate,’ and was then asked to sing “Do Wah Diddy” and didn’t have to think twice about that one. What a fun song by one of my favourite vocalists, Paul Jones. It was so much fun to see my old friends at Losers Lounge, sing that song, and help celebrate the holidays.
WSR – What were the highlights of your trip to London in November, any particularly special memories?
Edward – I got to see a lot of bands in England that don’t tour here frequently like Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Suede, Van Morrison singing duets with Tom Jones. Also I got to see a fairly new artist, Simon Love. Check him out; he’s a cheeky little bastard and a really good tunesmith. But, while you’re there, don’t forget to eat at ffiona’s, a must stop between musical adventures!
WSR – Thank you so much for giving Wicked Spins Radio this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Edward – Now that you asked, I was just invited to open for Colin Blunstone in England in April and then Zip Records is shipping us off to Amsterdam for a showcase. Nice work, when you can get it! Please take a minute and listen to Glass Marbles. Much luv,