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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 

Songfacts interview with Roger Clyne

Here is a cool web site to check out, Songfacts. It's a searchable database of song information compiled by radio professionals, music enthusiasts, and visitors to this web site. They have some really great, in-depth interviews with songwriters and I'd like to share one with you today.

Interview Roger Clyne
by Carl Wiser

Roger Clyne had a taste of fame as lead singer of the Refreshments, but has found his niche writing and performing with an independent band. We started the interview talking about the difference between major labels and independents, and why it's important to put art before commerce.

Carl Wiser (SF): After doing this long enough you get an ear for the passion of certain fans, and boy, they really have an interest in spreading the gospel of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.

Roger Clyne: I love it. And, you know, we're really fortunate. We're an independent band and so we don't have to play by anybody's rules but our own. We decided to put the art before the commerce, and you know, put meaning in songs and try to be part of like a world community via Peacemakers, truly, and that's what people have responded to. Instead of worrying about writing for radio, or predicting or following trends, we just shot the art from the heart and bingo – it worked.

SF: Well, you were with Mercury Records, right? When you were with the Refreshments?

Roger: Yeah, that's right. The Refreshments were from… when were we around? Not long, '95 to '97.

SF: So you've had the experience of working for a major label and then being independent.

Roger: Yeah, it's a lot harder to be independent. But it's also more rewarding.

SF: How do you mean? I'm just trying to get a sense for… you know, if you're a new artist or something and you have the choice, okay, should I really strive to get this major label contract, or should I go independent? What would you recommend?

Roger: I don't want to vilify a whole industry, or even the idea of a major label. They have a different agenda, and their agenda is, right now, to respond to stockholders. And the easiest way to do that is to create something that generates profits quickly. It's harder to do it long term. They have to answer to quarterly meetings and stuff. They have to show growth on the bottom line. And they do that by taking music and selling it. The idea of artist development, consequently, has kind of gone by the wayside. The major labels are in the business of finding hits. And they're still doing it. That's fine, I was in that business for a while. We were in a major label situation. They actually didn't ask us to change who we were or rewrite a song or write anything for radio in the beginning.

So major labels are in a different business. They're in commerce, not art. Artists are artists, they're not capitalists to begin with. So unless an artist can find a major label vehicle, or even a minor label vehicle, whereby the art leads the commerce, I would recommend that they let their art lead their commerce. That's the way it works for us, it's in our manifest now to do that. It was risky, and it was hand-to-mouth for a long time, and sometimes it still is. But it ultimately has been rewarding. I've been in the public eye now nationally for ten years, and still paying the utility bills.

Read the rest of the interview here...

Rock on,
Madalyn Sklar
~providing one-on-one indie music consulting & coaching~
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Indie Music Success DVD - Getting Motivated!
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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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