RCPM – “There is Something in the Arizona Night”

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers at Talking Stick Resort Showroom, Scottsdale, Arizona on December 27th, 2019

Review by Fred Kuhlman
Photos by Fred Kuhlman from past shows

If you live outside of the Southwest, you probably have never heard of Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers (RCPM).  For the past 20+ years, Roger Clyne has been a major fixture of the music scene here in the Phoenix, Arizona area.  Like most local bands, he draws the largest crowd here.  I have been at shows with as few as a couple hundred people and then shows with over 3000.  If you ever saw the Fox TV show, “King of the Hill”, then you heard Roger’s song, “Yahoos and Triangles”, the show’s theme song.  In 2019 Roger and the Peacemakers were inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Nick Scropos, Jim Dalton & Roger Clyne

Initially Roger had a band named The Refreshments.  After a few years the band broke up and Roger had a big decision to make, does he stay in the music business or move on.  Luckily for us, he decided to stay and tuff it out.  Along with his friend and The Refreshment’s drummer, P.H. Naffah, they continued to perform.  They later changed their name to Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers.  Over the years the line-up has changed, but Roger and P.H. have always been there.  The current line-up consists of lead singer and guitarist Roger Clyne, lead guitarist Jim Dalton, bass player Nick Scropos and drummer P.H. Naffah.  If you are luck enough to see a show here in Phoenix, Tucson or Puerto Peñasco, Mexico then you have seen RCPM joined by a group of musicians that provide a horn section and additional percussion.  In most cases these additional members are from The Jons, a local Tucson band.

Over the years Roger has produced 10 studio albums with Native Heart being the most recent in 2017.  RCPM is one of those bands that have good albums, but really come alive when they are performing in front of a crowd.  In a lot of ways, they remind me of the early years of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  Bruce’s early albums were OK, but their live performances where outstanding.  RCPM really come alive and feed on the audience and it shows in the amazing performances they deliver.  And the audience really get into it by dancing and singing along with almost all of the songs.  I have never seen or heard a RCPM fan go away mad, maybe a little disappointed that RCPM didn’t play one of the songs they personally wanted to hear, but overall, the fan was very happy.  If you have never heard of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, then I highly suggest you give then a spin.  For me personally, Roger’s debut album as The Refreshments, Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy and their latest album, Native Heart are my personal favorites, but each of the other albums have some very good songs.

However, due to the current Covid-19 situation, RCPM has had to cancel or postpone all of their shows since March.  To try and make money and keep their crew employed, they have put on 2 online concerts.  Hopefully things will get better and we can start to see live concerts again.  I personally really miss them.  But in the meantime, we must be willing to watch virtual concerts for the safety of the band and each other.  The following are reviews of these 2 shows.

BTW: If they have future online shows during this crazy time, sign me up.  Any form of RCPM is always great.

Independence Day Rock & Roll Concert

Date: Saturday July 4th, 2020

Roger Clyne during Native Heart Debut Concert 2017

This was the second online concert.  RCPM usually has a 4th of July performance somewhere and this year they were limited to the online studio.  For this show RCPM limited themselves to only the 4 band members.  Again, it was broken up into 2 main sets that were over 1 hour long each.  In total they played 30 songs (29 if you don’t count the Girly – Reprise).  During the intermission, they played a fireworks show that lasted over 15 minutes.  For this online show, they sold 2 different levels of tickets, $20 for small parties of 4 or less and $50 for larger parties.  Also the large party purchasers could submit a 15 to 30 second video from their party that would be displayed during the show between songs.

This show also was designed as a “fan request” concert.  Fans could submit requests for songs that RCPM would play.  It must have been a large list, because the setlist consisted of songs I have never heard the band perform live before including “Feeling”.  “Feeling” was a never released track originally recorded for Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy single “Banditos” as the B-side. It was sold only in Australia (according to internet).

Nick Scropos & Jim Dalton of Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers

During the first set, Nick had a major issue with his bass guitar.  Eventually they had to replace his bass.  Roger joked that everything went well during rehearsal.  I just remember an old Eddie Trunk comment, that a great live concert recording always shows the minor (and sometimes major) flubs that occur during the show.  Stuff always happen (Murphy’s Law) during a live show and the quality of the band is shown by how well they deal with it.  RCPM did a great job, Roger actually had Jim Dalton play one of his songs, “Mi Pantalones” until Nick and the band tech could correct the issue.  RCPM played one of my personal favorite songs at the end of the first set, “Flowerin”. It is a happy and fun song that has a beat and rhythm that makes you want to dance and sing along.

The second set consisted of a new song, “Firefly”.  The rest of the set consisted on mostly songs that were normally hear at a RCPM concert.  They ended the show with a combination of “Girly” and “iViva Love!” followed the fan favorite “Nada”.

The Jons with Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers at Talking Stick Resort Showroom, Scottsdale, Arizona on December 27th, 2019

This was only the second time I have seen RCPM without The JonsRCPM was outstanding but I really missed The Jons.  They add so much more to the overall feeling to the music.  Its like E Street Band without The Big Man.

The Circus Mexicus iCyber-Celebration!

Date: Saturday June 13th, 2020

Roger Clyne & Jim Dalton jamming during Peacemakers concert at Talking Stick Resort Showroom, Scottsdale, Arizona on December 27th, 2019

Roger Clyne has been going to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico in June for the last 20 years to put on a concert.  At first it started as just them playing on a stage.  Over the years it has grown into a multi-day event called Circus Mexicus.  This year (2021) would have been their 21st year of this event.  It was scheduled for the weekend of June 4th though 7thRoger Clyne and the Peacemakers are joined by a number of other performers from all over the Southwest.  However, for this year, the event was cancelled due to the current Covid-19 situation.

So, to not disappoint their fans, RCPM decided to put on a virtual concert and have their fans join them online to watch the event.  RCPM was the only band, but they were joined by members of The Jons.  The show was broken up into 2 sets of over 1 hour each with a 20-minute intermission.  During the intermission, they played a video with clips and slides from past Circus Mexicus shows.  The concert consisted of 33 songs that were a mixture of fan favorites and a few seldom heard songs thrown in.  They also played a new song, “Yah Shoobeh”.

Javier Gámez, James Peters & Jon Villa of The Jons with Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers

This group of band members I have seen multiple times in the past.  The combination of RCPM and The Jons has always been sensational.  The Jons provided the horn section and additional percussion that added extra dimension to the songs.  If you ever get the chance to see this line-up, it is definitely worth it.  Think of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band with the Miami Horns and you get an idea of the expanded richness of the music.

RCPM Fans at New Years Eve Concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona

It is a real shame that Circus Mexicus had to be cancelled, but that is the world we currently live in.  Does this virtual concert satisfy us, maybe a little?  We miss all of the other great bands that would have performed during the 3-day festival.  But any RCPM is better than none.  I really enjoyed the show and was able to view it both live and then again days later, which was a real treat.  I personally love to see RCPM live.  They put on a fabulous show and the energy of the crowd is addictive.  You have to be a real Scrooge to not have a great time at one of their shows.  The fans are friendly and are there to just have a good time.

Independence Day Rock & Roll Concert
Setlist:                                                  (Album)

Set 1:
Empty Highway                                 (Unida Cantina)
I Know You Know                             (Turbo Ocho)
Dolly                                                    (The Bottle and Fresh Horses)
Counterclockwise                             (iAmericano!)
Beautiful Disaster                             (Honky Tonk Union)
Mi Pantalones                                    (Jim Dalton song)
Mekong                                               (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Dinero                                                 (Unida Cantina)
Don’t Wanna Know                          (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
State of The Art                                 (Turbo Ocho)
Plenty                                                 (No More Beautiful World)
Down Together                                 (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Ain’t Got The Words For This        (The Independent)
Blue Collar Suicide                           (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Flowerin’                                           (Native Heart)
Firefly                                                 (New Song)
Switchblade                                       (iAmericano!)
Leaky Little Boat                              (iAmericano!)
Feeling                                               (B side for Banditos)
Contraband                                       (No More Beautiful World)
Sin Nombre                                       (The Bottle and Fresh Horses)
Fun                                                      (Native Heart)
Hello New Day                                  (No More Beautiful World)
iAmericano!                                      (iAmericano!)
Maybe We Should Fall In Love     (No More Beautiful World)
Play On                                              (Unida Cantina)
Girly                                                   (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
iViva Love!                                        (Native Heart)
Girly – Reprise                                 (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Nada                                                  (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)

The Circus Mexicus iCyber-Celebration!
Setlist:                                                  (Album)
Set 1:
Mexico                                                 (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big And Buzzy)
All Over the Radio                            (Unida Cantina)
Tributary Otis                                    (The Bottle and Fresh Horses)
Arizona Nights                                   (Native Heart)
Down Together                                  (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big And Buzzy)
Counterclockwise                             (iAmericano!)
Mexicosis                                           (Four Unlike Before / Turbo Ocho)
Shadyside                                          (Native Heart)
Marie                                                  (Unida Cantina)
Buffalo                                               (Sonoran Hope and Madness)
Fun                                                     (Native Heart)
Mexican Moonshine                       (iAmericano!)
Wanted                                              (The Bottle and Fresh Horses)
Beautiful Disaster                           (Honky Tonk Union)
Maybe We Should Fall In Love    (No More Beautiful World)
Preacher’s Daughter                      (The Bottle and Fresh Horses)

Set 2:
Yah Shoobeh                                   (New Song)
Heaven on a Paper Plate              (Unida Cantina)
Hello Tiger                                       (Native Heart)
Banditos                                           (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big And Buzzy)
Smaller & Better Things                (Sonoran Hope and Madness)
I Know You Know                           (Turbo Ocho)
Lemons                                             (No More Beautiful World)
Leaky Little Boat                             (iAmericano!)
Your Name on a Grain of Rice      (iAmericano!)
Sonoran Hope and Madness        (Sonoran Hope and Madness)
Flowerin’                                          (Native Heart)
Blue Collar Suicide                         (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big And Buzzy)
iViva Love!                                       (Native Heart)
Girly                                                   (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big And Buzzy)
Mekong                                              (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big And Buzzy)
Mañana                                              (Turbo Ocho)
Nada                                                   (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big And Buzzy)


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