Bill Rogers

As a teenager in the era of Them, Rolling Stones, The Animals, Spencer Davis, Manfred Mann, Paul Butterfield etc. I was inspired to start singing and playing harmonica (and later saxophone, and sought the roots of this powerful music (Ray Charles, James Brown, Howlin Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Fats Domino etc.). Roots which have continued to burn and have been essential baggage through three decades of R'n'B and Rock & Roll bands. Most of the music which really hits me can be traced back to the southern states of USA.

My 'apprenticeship' was with Perth bands Roadband (a quasi jug band playing anything from Bo Carter to Chuck Berry) and then Last Chance Cafe (influenced largely by the New Orleans style of Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Dr John etc), who moved to Melbourne in the mid-70's and began to write and perform their own songs.

These influences and a passion for live performance led to being recruited as a front man by Pop-Rock hit makers Dragon in an attempt to develop some R'n'B muscle in Marc Hunter's absence of 1979; recording several singles and an album, as well as touring extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand. A short stint as saxophone player with John Paul Young's All Stars followed, culminating in a nationwide tour as support to Fleetwood Mac in 1980, at the height of their career.

Cold Chisel, also at their most rampant, hired me as a sax player for their notorious nationwide 'Youth in Asia' Tour, several concerts of which were recorded in both Sydney and Melbourne, resulting in the triple platinum 'Swingshift' live album. Studio sessions followed - Chisel's 'Twentieth Century' album (including the hit 'Saturday Night') and Don Walker's soundtrack to the 'Freedom' movie.

Returning to Perth in the early 80's, I continued to play in a succession of bands including The Outlaws, The Essentials, A2Z and The Hallucinations - contributing as singer, songwriter and playing saxophone, harmonica, percussion and keyboard.

Then, in 1992, Lucky approached me with the idea of starting a band to play some Zydeco. With Lucky, Kent and I as founders, the Zydecats began. Between us, many styles of music have been thrown in the pot, including all kinds of Blues (country, Chicago, New Orleans & Jump Blues), R'n'B, Soul, Western Swing, Country, Rockabilly, Rock'n'Roll, Cajun and Zydeco.

Joining the Zydecats has been like coming home to me. Learning to play some new styles, particularly Cajun and Zydeco, as well as some of my first loves - New Orleans music, blues and soul. It has been a fertile environment for writing (with 3 songwriters), and singing, with 3 lead vocalists and 5 contributors to arrangements. Being a member of a good band has always been my aim and this is the best band I’ve ever been in.

Instruments

Vocals, Sax, Harmonica & Rub Board.

Discography

DRAGON - vocals, sax, harmonica

Album - 'Powerplay' (1979)
Singles - 'Love's not enough' / 'Four Short Solos' (1979) / 'Counting Sheep' /

COLD CHISEL - sax

Album - 'Swingshift' live album (1981) / Twentieth Century (1984) / Single -'Saturday Night' (1984)

DON WALKER PRODUCTION - sax

Album - 'Freedom' soundtrack (1981)

THE ANDY DURANT MEMORIAL CONCERT - sax, harm, vocals

Album - 'The Andy Durant Memorial Concert' live album (1981)

THE ESSENTIALS - vocals, sax, harmonica, keyboards

Single - 'We're all in this together' (1982)

A2Z - vocals, sax, keyboards, harmonica, percussion

Album - 'A2Z Reggae' (1984)

THE HALLUCINATIONS - vocals, sax, keyboards

Album - 'Harp of the West' (various artists - 1988)

KELLY NEWTON-WORDSWORTH - sax

Album - 'Changing Hearts' (1991)

IVAN ZAR - sax

Album - 'Track me Down' (1996)

ZYDECATS - vocals, sax, harmonica, rubboard

Album - 'Zydecats'(1999)

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