NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 18, 2013

A rockin' hobby

With his guitar and gigs, Rogers escapes from the workday

(Continued)

“He was my first musical hero,” Rogers said, adding that he used to collect Elvis Presley trading cards in the same way that other kids collected baseball cards. “And then of course there were The Beatles, Chuck Berry and all those people.”

Perhaps the most influential artist on Rogers early in his life was legendary blues guitar player B.B. King, who he met when he was 16 at the jazz club Lennie’s on the Turnpike in Peabody back before King was a rock and roll superstar.

“That was a life-changing experience,” Rogers said. “I’ve been a fan ever since.”

Rogers has played in a variety of bands over the years, mostly rock ‘n’ roll, but he has branched out into jazz and gospel more recently. These days he typically plays with his son Cyrus, who has a similar passion for music as his father. Cyrus plays bass and is currently a member of the local band, Dead Air Project.

These days Rogers isn’t really in a band, but he still performs around the area from time to time when his schedule allows it. Typically the engagements he performs are charitable or personal events like weddings, birthday parties and funeral services.

Wait, what?

Yes, believe it or not, there have been occasions where Rogers’ two passions have collided and he has performed at a funeral service. He cited one occasion where a member of the local Grange organization passed away and Rogers and a harmonica player who were friends of the deceased performed during the calling hours.

Although you would think dealing with grieving families and death all the time would be depressing, Rogers said he actually finds his work to be very gratifying — although there are times where his work can be difficult.

“I find it to be a very rewarding profession, I think the majority of people that we serve are appreciate of what we do for them,” Rogers said. “The hard part of it is taking care of children. That’s not something you have to do all the time, but if you had to do that all the time you might find something else to do.”

But even after one of those hard days, Rogers can always slip back into his basement studio and escape into his music when the day is done.

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