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Slamburgers

The care and feeding of reporters

We'd love for you to come to the Randy Rogers video shoot," coos the P.R. rep over the phone. "Come at lunchtime, he'll be able to sit and talk with you then."

Excellent, lunch with Randy Rogers, a Texas country singer with a new CD and a hot single. How cool is this going to be?

It's shoot day, my lunch date with Randy. I walk in to the Houston Studios (707 Walnut St., 713-223-0951), and sure enough, everyone -- crew, band, P.R. reps and various hanger-oners -- is munching out. Muffulettas, cookies, pasta, iced tea, salad, more cookies.

Randy Rogers films a video for his new CD Just a Matter of Time at Houston Studios.
Todd Purifoy
Randy Rogers films a video for his new CD Just a Matter of Time at Houston Studios.
Mardo is working on cheaper prices for music downloads.
Mardo is working on cheaper prices for music downloads.

"Are you Olivia?" a lovely woman says, coming at me all smiles and big hair.

"Yes," I tell her, hoping I remember to keep my elbows off the table in front of Randy. I smooth out the front of my black blouse -- my special "Just in case I spill something, it won't show on this" blouse, my eye already on an extra fat muffuletta.

"Please come this way," the lovely woman tells me as she ushers me past the buffet and lunch tables. "Right in here," she says. "Randy will be right with you -- as soon as he finishes his lunch."

"Wha ...?" My smile slips a little as I look around. It's the soundstage. The empty effing soundstage. There aren't any sandwiches in here. There's no iced tea, no cheesecake. There aren't even any (gag!) tofu imitation burgers or gross-ass trail mix. What the hell is this?

I'm still standing there, stunned, my mouth hanging open and empty, when Randy walks in.

He's a regular guy, looks just like the Baytown boy that he is. Almost short, on the chubby side, with a mess of reddish hair (don't all recording stars come in tall, thin and blond?).

He holds out his hand -- it's empty. I give him a mean look of disgust. Oh, I'm sorry, he wants to shake hands with me. I thought he was going to hand me a sandwich there for a second.

We settle in to start the interview. Well, actually Randy settles in -- I'm kind of fidgeting. Maybe he'll ask if I'm okay and offer me a doughnut or something if he thinks I'm nervous.

"Ah, um." I'm rummaging through my reporter's bag, tape recorder, digital camera, extra batteries, notepad, pencil, pen, not a single damn candy bar. More batteries, another notepad, not even one wretched boiled egg. "Ah, well, how would you describe your band's sound?" A pat question, something to keep him busy while I look around for fruit rollups. Peanuts. Anything.

"Well," he says, "we sound like Texas, I think. We're country, but with a little pop, a little rock and roll. Okay, actually, there's a lot of rock and roll." He smiles.

"Uh-huh." I think I can smell raisin somewhere. "And, uh, what's it like to, umm, .... Hey, is that a brownie over there?"

"What?" he says, looking over at the black datebook someone left on a table.

"I mean, ah, how is it doing your video right here in Houston? So near to the Spaghetti Warehouse? It's down the block, you know?"

"What?"

The interview goes downhill from there.

And it's too bad. Rogers is a really nice guy, with a good sound, and it looks like he has enough talent and ambition to really do something on the country music scene. He's giving me intelligent answers to my mumbled, jumbled questions. But I can't hear him talking for the sound of blood rushing though my ears. Hungry blood. A makeup woman comes over after a while, "Ready for me?" Randy says, hopefully. The woman nods, a can of hairspray in one hand, a skinny comb in the other.

"Okay, well I've got to get back to work," Randy tells me as he starts backing away from me. "It was nice meeting you," and he sticks out his hand again. Tuna fish? No, his hand is empty. Again. I get faked out by that handshake thing twice in one day." Yeah, yeah. Whatever," I say as he turns and walks away. He really is a nice guy. And it is a good CD. And the single is hot. But where was my damn muffuletta?

(To Randy's PR people: here's a hint, never invite a reporter to an interview at lunchtime if you aren't going to feed her. Hungry reporters can't spell. Worse yet, hungry reporters don't want to talk about anything but the fact that they're hungry. They won't care about your client's new CD at all -- no matter how good it is -- if their mind is on cheesecake and hungry blood is rushing through their ears.)

The Randy Rogers Band appears as part of the KILT Fall Fandango on Sunday, October 1, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands. Dierks Bentley, Kevin Fowler, Jason Boland, The Lost Trailers, Wade Bowen, No Justice and Stoney La Rue also appear. Call 281-363-3300 for more info.

Egghead Rock
Robert Mardo isn't just another dumb headbanger

Robert Mardo, who, along with his brother Aron Mardo, founded the rock band Mardo, has strong opinions on the music business and his role in it -- most of it controversial and cutting edge. This, ladies and gentlemen, isn't your average headbanging rocker.

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