Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Formed from the ashes of the Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop, and the Gin Blossoms, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers emerged in 1999 as a Southwestern supergroup specializing in literate, pop-tinged Americana. The Arizona-bred frontman Roger Clyne had previously established himself with the Refreshments during the post-grunge heyday of the ’90s. Although the cheeky pop anthem “Banditos” earned the band some national recognition in 1996, the Refreshments were dropped from Mercury Records after their sophomore effort failed to chart as high as its predecessor. Clyne and drummer P.H. Naffah subsequently retreated to Tempe, Arizona, where the two composed a slew of new songs during a week-long excursion through the Sonoran Desert. Intimate shows at local bars followed, and the pair steadily pieced together a lineup of local veterans that would soon comprise Roger Clyne & the Peaceamkers. By 1999, Clyne and Naffah had been joined by ex-Gin Blossoms guitarist Scott Johnson, ex-Dead Hot Workshop guitarist Steve Larson, and bassist Danny White.
Embracing their frontman’s reflective side, not to mention his country influences (which had made themselves known on the Refreshments‘ sophisticated sophomore effort, The Bottle & Fresh Horses), the Peacemakers introduced a twangy hard rock on 1999’s Honky Tonk Union. Released on the band’s own label, Emma Java, the album debuted in the Top Ten of the Billboard Internet Sales charts (a feat the group would repeat on their subsequent five releases, making them the only independent band ever to do so). Shows throughout the Southwest and Mexico kept the Peacemakers busy, and the live album Real to Reel (released in fall 2001) established the group as a dynamic live act. Clyne took his lyrical poetics a step further for the band’s second studio effort. Released in February 2002, Sonoran Hope & Madness combined a sultry mix of country and folk while sifting through Clyne‘s visions of nature encumbered by human recklessness. Americano followed in 2004, featuring a slimmed-down band (Johnson had since left to join the reunited Gin Blossoms) whose rugged take on heartland rock had grown steadily cohesive since their late-’90s debut. Following those recording sessions, White left the group to pursue work as a Nashville producer and was replaced by former Gloritone bassist Nick Scropos. The new lineup immediately hit the road, releasing one of their raucous shows as Live at Billy Bob’s in 2005 before issuing the Four Unlike Before EP the following year. 2007 saw the release of No More Beautiful World, which toned down the band’s rollicking style in favor of mariachi beats and humorous narratives. That winter, the Peacemakers decamped to Mexico to write and record a wealth of material in eight straight days. Daily video installments broadcast their efforts on the internet, allowing the group’s audience to watch the eight songs take shape. The resulting Turbo Ocho was released in the spring of 2008. After touring extensively in the United States and Mexico, the Peacemakers made their first ever U.K. tour. They resumed recording in late 2010 with guitarist Jim Dalton (the Railbenders) replacing Johnson, and emerged in the spring of 2011 with Unida Cantina. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi