Spirited Cinco

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers bring music, tequila to Hotel Congress for Agave Heritage Week

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers will be performing at Hotel Congress on Thursday, May 5, as part of Agave Heritage Week—and the Phoenix-based singer/songwriter will also be slinging his Mexican Moonshine Tequila at bars around the hotel. Clyne is in the midst of a tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy, his 1996 debut album with The Refreshments. On tour, the band plays the album in its entirety and then follows up with a second set of songs from the rest of his career. He says the show is bringing out "people my age and people who have just turned drinking age and everybody in between. A lot of the younger people I meet after the show are saying how they found it through their parents or heard it in junior high and grew watching their career. Here we are, all coming together 20 years later, all listening to the same music. It is humbling. It's really cool."

Clyne is now in the tequila business. (In an age of digital downloads, it never hurts to diversify.) The first batch of Mexican Moonshine Tequila was done with some Mexican cantina owners. The first thousand bottles turned out to be so popular, they got the attention of los federales—"they weren't exactly bootlegging but it was being done under the table"—and Clyne had to find new partners south of the border. (It's a long story and Clyne isn't naming any names.) Today, he's got three lines for Mexican Moonshine Tequila: silver, reposado and añejo.

Clyne spoke to the Weekly from his Rocky Point, Mexico, hideaway, where he is now part owner of a bar, Banditos. He also throws an annual music festival in Rocky Point, Circus Mexicus, which is coming up June 9-12. For more information, visit circusmexicus.net.

You're performing in Tucson as part of our very first Agave Heritage Week. Where does the agave ranks on your list of favorite plants?

It is my favorite plant, hands down. Without agave, we wouldn't have tequila, so I owe a ton of very, very enjoyable moments to agave.

You're in the tequila business now. Are you trying to keep up with Sammy Hagar?

I'm not. We're not trying to keep up, we're just trying to keep it cool. We don't want Mexican Moonshine Tequila to be a juggernaut, we just want to share a high-quality spirit with the highest-quality people. And that's what we're doing. It's still a struggle because the Big Boys have so many resources. For every peso we spend, they spend $100,000 on marketing. I will say that whenever anybody—whether they're a Peacemaker fan or just a tequila drinker—tries Mexican Moonshine Tequila against any of those premium brands, we always come away a winner. I'm really proud of our stuff and it's a great way to bring people together, sitting down and sipping an excellent spirit and listening to some cool tunes.

You have three lines of tequila. What's the difference between them for tequila virgins?

It took several years to complete the line. They're all double-distilled, triple-filtered sipping tequilas that are made from valley agaves, which are more downhill than the highland ones, so they have more of a terroir. I think they have a greater variety of taste. The thing that makes them different from each other is the time in the bourbon barrel. The silver goes straight though the distillation process to be bottled immediately. The reposado rests nine months in bourbon barrels and the anejo rests about 18 months. They're all very distinct.

And you're now the official tequila of Chase Field. Congrats!

Thanks. I have to give a shout out to the Peacemaker tequila familia—the people who signed up on our Indiegogo campaign. We were trying to stay viable in the market against really, really big players like Patron and and Jose and Don Julio. So our people helped up with donations. We took the money from that and promised to use it to expand the footprint. And that opportunity to bid for the D'Backs stadium came along and we took the money from the fans and used it directly for our bid. So I'm saying muchas gracias to them for getting us that account.

That's a grand slam for you guys, for sure.

It's a big deal. It has a lot of cachet to it. It gives credibility to an otherwise unknown or almost invisible brand.

You celebrated the D'Backs 2001 World Series victory with the single "The D'Back's Swing." How do you like the D'Backs' chances this year?

I think we're going to be good. We're tuning up a little bit slower than we thought we would but I'm still behind the team.

You're a Tucson native. What do you like about performing at Hotel Congress?

It's just legendary. It's got so much history and so much cool. It's a great spot to play. Before the Refreshments even had a drummer, we had one of our auditions there. I go way, way back with Hotel Congress. It's just old-school cool. It's the soul of Tucson.

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