Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers have helped to shape rock in the Valley with its Southwestern sound.
Traveling around the world with its music, the band will return to the Valley to perform at the city of Peoria’s All-American Festival on Monday, July 4.
This is the second All-American Festival for the band — lead singer/guitarist Roger Clyne, drummer P.H. Naffah, bassist Nick Scropos and guitarist Jim Dalton.
The group performs 150 to 170 shows a year nationally, with three to four of them around Arizona.
The festival was one of the first events the band did coming out of COVID-19. Clyne says that playing again for a lively, engaged audience was exhilarating.
“It was great to come out to our hometown and play to an audience who wanted to hear rock ’n’ roll and celebrate life and America,” Clyne says.
“We don’t play in our home state as much as we would like to, but every time we do a show, it’s a blast.”
After all of these years, Clyne, a third-generation Arizonan, feels a pull and connection to his home state.
“I can be asleep on the tour bus if we are on our way home, and I can tell in the darkness of my bunk and in the rumble of the bus when we cross the state line,” Clyne says.
Known for their prowess in playing live rock, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers crisscrosses genres. Clyne has personally been influenced by punk rock.
Clyne started playing music while in high school. When he was getting ready to graduate from ASU, he made the decision to pursue music.
“I reached the end of my academic career before I was going to go into graduate school and decided to weigh the scales,” Clyne says.
“One was practicality, and one was passion. I really loved music more. I took the road less traveled with music instead of academia and got pretty lucky and found the right players and the right audience, and that made all the difference.”
Before founding Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, Clyne and Naffah were part of the Refreshments. With this Tempe-based quartet, they put out their cult classic album “Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy,” which featured the hit song “Banditos.” The song received airplay on the radio and on MTV.
A few years later, Clyne wrote and performed the theme song for the TV show “King of the Hill.”
The film “Here’s to Life! The Story of the Refreshments” highlights the band’s ’90s journey.
Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers started in 1999 when changes in the record label and internal issues with the band prompted Clyne and Naffah to form a new group.
With its debut, “Honky Tonk Union,” the band tried to experiment more with different sounds and were influenced by classic country stars such as Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins.
The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Internet sales charts that year.
As an independent act, it has released eight more Top 10 albums. In 2019, the band was inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers recently reimagined four of their older songs and recorded three new songs for an upcoming album, which is set to be called “The TexAZ Sessions.”
Recorded in Wimberley, Texas, they worked with musicians and producers such as Cody Braun from Reckless Kelly, Mike Harmeier from Mike and the Moonpies and Adam Odor from yellow DOG Studios.
In June, they released a new version of their song “Never Thought,” a guitar-driven tune about “the discovery of compassion through suffering.”
“That one, in particular, has to do with losing your thoughts, losing the idea of your sanity and your mind,” Clyne says.
“Certainly, the world in 2019, 2020, 2021 probably gave everybody that same experience. A really good song should have many lives and should be able to be interpreted many ways throughout time. I’m hoping our songs have the same quality.”
They also reworked other songs from their catalogue, including “Maybe We Should Fall in Love,” “Green and Dumb” and “Banditos.”
“Banditos” was changed up to have more of a Texas swing sound.
“That song took a heck of a turn. It’s quite the Texas swing adventure now. We will see if everyone can get on that horse and saddle it up,” Clyne says.
Throughout its career, the band has continued to evolve its sound. Recently as a songwriter, Clyne has been interested in jazz and its unpredictable chord progressions and melodies.
He has always loved Norteño music, which has also been inspiring him recently.
“We are trying to write different things, perform in different ways, explore different genres,” Clyne says.
“We change almost daily and almost every performance.”
In June, the group was able to put on its popular Circus Mexicus music festival in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, which it headlines. The four-day festival spotlighted around 30 rock, country, mariachi and jazz groups.
Clyne says that the band always looks forward to the festival. They have the chance play on the beach and enjoy the local food, especially tacos.
This was the first time the band had the festival since the start of COVID-19. The event began 20 years ago with the band playing in one small cantina, and it has grown from there.
“I just went down in a van and asked if any cantina owner would host the Peacemakers for a show. I found one sympathetic cantina owner who says, ‘I don’t have a stage, but I’ve got a roof, and I’ve got extension cords if you guys want to plug in up there.’ We did, and that was the very first one in October 1999,” Clyne says.
Clyne has always had close ties to Mexico and was hoping to do something there.
“I wanted to play in Mexico. It’s where a lot of the roots in my music are. My family’s ranch is on the border. I’ve been interested in border culture my whole life. A lot of our music comes from that,” says Clyne, whose family has owned its ranch in Sonoita for 70 years.
While in Mexico, the band also hosts charity events benefiting the local children’s home, youth sports and rescue dog organizations.
Along with music, the band has had its hands in the tequila business since 2011 with its brand of premium agave tequila Canción Tequila. The brand has four varieties and has won medals at national and international competitions.
This fall, Clyne and Naffah will bring back the local AZ Highways Tour, during which they perform as an acoustic duo in towns around the state.
Clyne says that while playing to a larger venue is exciting, he and other band members also enjoy doing smaller honky-tonks.
“We still really love the feel, the ma and pa touch of those little joints, and we do it when we can. … It’s like eating at a small table. You are really connected to everyone that’s there,” Clyne says.
Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers has a multigenerational blend of longtime fans and new listeners.
“We are really lucky that way. There have been people who have followed us since 1995. They are now showing up to shows with their kids, who are now of legal concertgoing age. I’m meeting young people who are in their early and mid 20s and sometimes 30s who are like, ‘We were turned on to you by our parents. We thought they were crazy at the time, but your band has withstood the test of time,’” Clyne says.
Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers at city of Peoria’s All-American Festival
WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday, July 4; band performs around 8:15 p.m.
WHERE: Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Avenue, Peoria
COST: Free general admission