Randy Rogers began performing at just 12 years old. From playing the piano to getting up and singing, he was always involved with music. Today, Rogers continues to pursue his passion for music as co-owner and lead singer of the Randy Rogers band.
When Rogers was 13 years old, he said he could write a good song and sing it.
“That’s kind of when I knew that baseball wasn’t my deal,” he said. “It was music.”
His first gig was at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, he said. His memories from when he first started the band as it was just beginning to play professionally stand out.
“I’ll never forget those nights and those feelings,” Rogers said.
“Hellbent” is the newest album from The Randy Rogers Band. They will be releasing “Hold My Beer Vol. 2” in 2020, he said.
“(Hellbent) is more so a band record than we’ve made in a while,” he said. “What I mean is we just sat together in a room, and we all looked at each other and worked parts out and we played and trusted our guts.”
“In My Arms Instead” is his favorite song to play live, he said. That song is on the self-titled “Randy Rogers Band” album.
“(Music) has always given me peace, it’s always comforted me,” he said. “It’s like picking up a guitar, playing, writing, playing music has always calmed me down and given me peace.”
A memory that still stands out to this day would be playing with Willie Nelson, he said. He grew up wanting to be like Willie Nelson.
Geoffrey Hill, lead guitarist and harmony singer for the Randy Rogers Band, is a Texas Tech alumnus with a bachelor’s in accounting. He met Randy Rogers at Southwest Texas State, now Texas State, while getting his Master of Business Administration to become a Certified Public Accountant.
“We all had a party over at Randy’s house,” Hill said. “He drew a line in the sand and said, ‘We’re all fixing to graduate. Let’s do this or let’s not.’”
It has been 17 years since the band started playing professionally, Hill said, besides one year where they had some other players in the band.
“I’d say that playing Red Rocks is the coolest gig we’ve got to play,” he said. “Getting to play at Red Rocks is pretty much the coolest gig you could possibly play, so that was an honor.”
One time the band was in a hotel room and a woman was about to get hit by an 18-wheeler, he said. Randy jumped over the railing, ran down the street and pulled her out of the street.
“That’s when I knew Randy was a stand-up guy,” he said.
While he was growing up, Hill said he always wanted to be like the 90s rock bands such as Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots.
“I think our self-titled record, ‘Randy Rogers Band’, is my favorite one we’ve released,” he said. “’In My Arms Instead’ is on that record and it is my favorite one we have ever recorded.”
Hill said he writes 20-30 songs for every record the band releases. If the songs work out for the record, then they get recorded. If not, he plays them on acoustic sets at a small place in town.
“I’ve always said that I play music for free, and I get paid to leave my family at home,” he said. “We all got kids at home. When we’re gone, we miss our families.”
Les Lawless, drummer for the Randy Rogers band, is also a Tech alumnus. During his time at Tech from ’97 to ’99, he was a member of the Co-Ed Cheer Team and an architecture major before switching his major to public relations and before transferring to South Plains College.
At South Plains College, Lawless played in a different band, he said.
“While I was up there at South Plains, we would open shows for Pat Green and Charlie Robison,” he said. “Then the band moved down to College Station and about a month later they called me and asked me to come live with them.”
The band would go out to the bars and Randy would be playing, he said. The band would tour Friday, Saturday and Sunday so it could come back and watch him play on Mondays.
“We’d talk and hang out and he wasn’t getting along with the guy that was playing the drums for him at the time,” Lawless said. “So, I told Randy, ‘If something happens, I’ll come fill in until you find someone else.’ And we just never found anyone else.”
Lawless started playing in church, he said. He followed through with being in band in junior high and high school. When he came to Tech, he didn’t plan on playing music. I ended up buying a pawn shop guitar and learned to play in the dorm,” he said. “I just couldn’t get away from it.”
Being a cheerleader at Tech, he said everything was about pop music and going to the clubs.
“I was not a country music fan at all,” Lawless said. “In high school I wanted to play Metallica and Nirvana and all that crap. But, a good buddy of mine dragged me to a Robert Earl Keen concert and I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever been to.”
He bought a CD and wore it out, he said. Then he bought another one and wore it out. Robert Earl Keen is what got him into country music, he said.
Later, at Rogers’ apartment, when Rogers drew a line in the sand regarding the band, Lawless was all in, he said.
“We are going to quit our jobs and go all in,” he said. “That’s when I knew we were going to give it a shot and try to do this for a living.”