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A Dirty Dozen with ROGER THAT! – December 2020

| 9 December 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Roger That! serves up a Power Pop cocktail with a glam cockney twist, taking you on a lad’s holiday you’ll not soon forget. Once you’re there, you’ll be Long, Long Gone. Mucho Gusto, baby! A hard rocking, punkypowerpop band out of New York City. Featuring current and former members of Mirror Queen, The Pink Swords, Bunkbed and Widestance. The exciting debut album Mucho Gusto will be released on the Tee Pee Records Annex imprint on Fri Dec 11.” We get guitarist Kenny Sehgal and frontman Paul Bernstein to collectively discuss new music, influences, and much more over hot toddies as they sit at an outside bar in semi locked down, chilly Brooklyn…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

It’s our first release so don’t know about diehard fans, but at first blush a casual listener might not notice that there’s some nifty songwriting moves scattered about. And that the lyrics are hilarious.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Probably the Beatles had the largest presence in the young lives of both of us, and British Blues inspired me to grab a guitar.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Paul’s into Roxy Music and Bowie, among other artists, and I’ve been doing this so long that that’s it’s a semi-forgotten mash of influences, everything from the Everlys to Motown to metal to blues.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

As to the band, and off the top of my head I’ll throw out The Cars, The Beatles, Roxy Music, The Kinks, and Big Star.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Paul says Adam Ant, the question stumps me!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Hard rocking powerpop! Drummer Jeremy and I are in a heavy rock band (Mirror Queen, which at one point bassist Steve was also part of), so we’ve done guitar driven music together a lot. This band explores my favorite catchy rock styles. We’ve never had a disparaging or disagreeable comparison! Wait, Paul says someone said we were like “Mark E Smith fronting Thin Lizzy”, which I find obtuse.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We mostly hang out in dodgy bars, except for the occasional lad’s holiday. Paul has a ukulele and a harmonica.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I don’t think that really happens. In New York, if you bump across someone of note you either just talk to them or leave them to their own space.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part is still finding and creating something new every day in the very familiar; the rock vein is not played out! As far as doing something else, I’m into the visual arts, and why Paul isn’t an actor is beyond me.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” Answer is – sure! What was the second question again?

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not really, kinda rolling with it!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

(Paul and Ken mutter about this for half a minute) Probably mid-period Beatles. They were stretching out in studio during the Help / Rubber Soul / Revolver era while creating their tightest and hookiest songs.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Seeing and being part of live performances, natch!



Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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