Interviewed by Robert Cavuoto (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Roger Boyd of Head East – It’s all about capturing the energy with the audience!
The classic rock band, Head East, has long set the standard for authentic, full-vocal, goodtime rock harmonies that few bands can equal. Their high-energy shows are filled with superb vocals, flashy guitar work and memorable keyboard melodies that continue to rock audiences of all ages. Their signature song, “There’s Never Been Any Reason (Save My Life)” has long-been considered by many radio stations across the country as “The Rock & Roll National Anthem.” For more than four decades the band has brought classic rock to countless audiences all across North America and now releasing a 12 song live CD, Raise a Little Hell.
I had the pleasure of speaking with keyboards / vocalist, Roger Boyd, about their new CD and the band’s longevity.
Your new CD, Raise a Little Hell really captures the energy of the band, where was it recorded?
Roger: It was recorded at two locations both of which were outdoor concerts. One was near Rockford, IL and the other was at Oneida Casino in Green Bay, WI. We’ve always been considered one of the best live bands in Rock n Roll so we wanted to capture the energy created between us and our audiences. When we perform our songs on Raise a Little Hell it does that in spades!
You have some new songs on the CD as well; tell me a little about their origins?
Roger: We have four of our own songs, plus a redo of the Trooper tune “Raise a Little Hell”. Glen Bridger penned “One Night” and “Me and My Whiskey” which are based on his personal experiences. Darren Walker wrote “Say Yeah” which is the way he approaches life, it’s his philosophy. And “Prisoner” is a song based on an old Sioux Indian legend about the Deer Woman – Greg Manahan is part Oglala Sioux.
Do you remember anything special about either day when you did the recordings?
Roger: We had performed at an afternoon festival in Iowa prior to the recording in Rockford, IL and had to fly around very bad weather to get to the show. For the Oneida, WI show, I remember the weather being windy and chilly.
What songs do you look forward to performing live?
Roger: I actually look forward to performing every one of them!
How has the music world changed since you started the band back in the seventies and how has it impacted the band?
Roger: It would take a book to really go through all the changes but for starter; CDs and digital downloads have replaced vinyl, radio has lost its importance in breaking new material, there are only a few record stores left, there are less places to play, and travel costs are through the roof.
How do you keep yourself satisfied with touring after all these years?
Roger: I love it and nothing is better than the interaction between an audience and a band. Whenever we go into “There’s Never Been Any Reason (Save My Life)” it is like hitting a grand slam home run or scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl! Also, no one does 200+ shows a year and tours year round, most of the work is in the summer and we all do “fly dates” and play on rental gear.
Are you more at home on the road?
Roger: I’ve always been at home on the road, to quote my late grandmother “Roger, you’ll always be a gypsy!”
Your music has always managed to merge rock with a country, where did the mixture come from?
Roger: The small, rural, Southern Illinois towns we all grew up in.
What do you think has been your biggest challenge, both musically and professionally, so far in your career?
Roger: Maintaining an even keel; never too high, never too low, and always remember to stay focused on your goal and the big picture. Don’t get sidetracked no matter how enticing it looks.
With all these experiences you have gone through, if a young musician was to come to you for advice about working in this industry, what would you tell him or her?
Roger: If you’re in it for the money forget it! If it isn’t your greatest passion then just do it for fun-not as a career.