David Rogue Talks "Victim of My Circumstance"
Mon, 08 Oct 2012 11:36:32
Song after song, David Rogue transfixes on Victim of My Circumstance.
Blending an effusive old school sense of class with '80s-style bombast, Rogue's got a sound that's genuinely unlike anything out there. His voice resounds potently, echoing Jim Morrison but with a bounce a la Billy Joel. Ultimately though, he's a rogue in his own right, and that's what makes Victim of My Circumstance so unique and undeniable.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, David Rogue opens up about Victim of My Circumstance and so much more…
What's your take on Victim of My Circumstance as a whole?
I really put a lot of thought and time into the sequence of the songs. Each song is its own thing. A lot of my influences are from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. A lot of the music is a bit retro. Some of it is more '80s retro, while some of it is more '60s retro. I wanted to mix it up on the album and make sure it ebbed and flowed correctly.
Did you have one vision lyrically?
In terms of my vibe, my influences are so multi-faceted that I think the best way to put it is to call it "David Rogue". Over the past few years, I've performed around the country, and different people have said different things. Originally, I wanted to become a singer because of Jim Morrison. I heard The Doors when I was eight-years-old. My mother played me one of her vinyl records. I always loved it when people said, "Oh, your voice sounds like Jim Morrison". As I've matured as a musician, the Jim Morrison references aren't as common. I'll get more entertainer comparisons to folks like Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond. For me, it's about catchy, melodic songs presented to preserve good, classic musicianship. That's how we thought about the record. We wanted to get as many great musicians as possible to make complete songs. The idea was to create a timeless vibe that would appeal to all ages.
What's the story behind "The Ride"?
Thanks for asking about that one! It's actually the oldest song on the record. I started writing it almost ten years ago. It's been waiting to be recorded for almost a decade. I put it on the backburner. When we were in the studio, we needed a ballad though. It kept getting bigger and bigger once we began working on it. We ended up getting Phil Ramone to produce the vocals. He's come off his duet album with Tony Bennett. In between Paul Simon and Tony, he spent some time with us. We brought the song to L.A. and added some percussion and drums. It became this huge project within itself on the album. It's funny you ask about that one in particular.
Where were you coming from lyrically?
One day, I woke up from my slumber in the morning with two songs in my head. I sat at the piano and I had two songs ready to go. That's the first time that's happened. One of the songs was "The Ride". The other one hasn't been recorded yet, maybe it will at some point. "The Ride" came first. I had this thought of an older man losing his love and not wanting to go on. It started with a vision being about an older man who lost his love. Phil saw it as something that could happen earlier in life. Lyrically, I was trying to achieve the sense of a guy reflecting back on his life.
What's the story behind "Right to Know"?
I was piano-based back then. I picked up the guitar when I started the career performing. That was a song I felt on the piano. At some point, there may have been a girl involved and things didn't work out. It felt like an anthem. A lot of my songs aren't necessarily about particular people, but I'm an emotional guy. For some reason, I felt the need to give someone a second chance. The chorus felt right, and I sang it over and over again. I imagined myself on a mountaintop, and the lyrics reflect that. Sometimes, you have that need to let it out and scream. A lot of people keep their emotions within themselves. That's not healthy. It's important to let things out. I usually like to end my shows with "Right to Know" because it has that anthemic quality.
If Victim of My Circumstance were a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a great question! I've played "Talk to Me" for a number of confidants, friends, and other musicians. Almost everyone has commented that it sounds like a movie soundtrack. It's cool you asked that question. There's an element of this being a James Bond-type movie. Each song has its own vibe. It'd be a film that takes place around the world. If you heard songs pop up in different scenes, you'd be in Vienna one minute. The next, you'd be in Asia. Then, you'd be in the U.S. in the South. We designed the album so people all around the globe could have something to connect with. I hope it'd be an adventure movie taking place around the world.
Maybe Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark…
Indiana Jones sounds good. I like paleontology and searching for treasure. That sounds good to me [Laughs]. Go with that.