The question was fraught with the possibility of a negative response, one that would turn what had been an upbeat, informative interview around 180 degrees.
Some people are just sensitive about their names.
But when Roy Rogers, the slide guitar great who has played with such luminaries as Taj Mahal, Ray Manzarek, Allen Toussaint, Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker, laughed at the query and offered an amazing anecdote about the famous cowboy star with whom he shares his name, the question-and-answer session kicked into an even higher gear.
“Yes, that is my real name, and, yes, I was named for the cowboy star,” Rogers said in a phone conversation with The Albany Herald. “Man, the stories I could tell you. I mean, just recently when we first put the new album (‘Into the Wild Blue’) up on iTunes, guess whose picture they put with it.”
For rock music fans, Rogers’ often frantic slide work on “Into the Wild Blue” brings to mind Allman Brothers Band great Duane Allman, but Rogers’ influences go farther back to the slide masters who made the Blues an American music staple … Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Muddy Waters.
“Those Delta guys, those were the musicians who influenced my playing,” said Rogers, a Redding, Calif., native who was turned on to the blues of Robert Johnson at age 13. “I’ve done some shows with Gregg (Allman) over the years, but I never really knew Duane. We were more contemporaries, and while I think the Allman Brothers are a great band, I never even had a chance to meet and talk with Duane before he died.”