Kenny Rogers: "Music Is the Great Memory-Maker of All Time"

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Piper Ferguson
Kenny Rogers is scheduled to perform on Sunday, March 23, at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler.
Even with a storied career spanning more than five decades already firmly implanted in the American pop culture landscape, country music legend Kenny Rogers is still breaking new ground, furthering his achievements, and streamlining his talents.

In 2013 alone, Rogers found himself accepting the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, earning his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, publishing the novel What Are the Chances, releasing his 22nd Top 10 Country Album, You Can't Make Old Friends, as well as receiving a Grammy Award nomination for a duet with Dolly Parton on the album's title track.

Oh yeah, and the Professional Photographers of America awarded Rogers with an Honorary Masters of Photography this past January at a ceremony right here in Phoenix.

"It's been a great year," Rogers tells me in his identifiable soft, raspy voice with a bit of a chuckle. "I don't know what to look for next."

Fans may be wondering why the flare for photography? Well, it's simply in his nature and his never-settle-for-less, championship mentality. It is the same kind of winning quality and characteristic that NFL teams seek year after year when hunting that ever-elusive franchise quarterback. Or, to hear Rogers sum it up--"I impulsively get involved with something and I obsess with it. Once I do something kind of well, I think, 'How well can I do this?' and I apply myself. That's what gets me through the days out here."

Simply put--the 75 year old musician is still kicking ass while also teaching these modern day musical youngsters a thing or two about standing the test of time.

"Pay your taxes on time, and put twenty percent away," Rogers advises as if he were channeling "The Gambler" wisdom on knowing when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. "Some of the young talent won't have a dime when they're fifty years old, because they go through it with total disregard for when it ends. And the problem is, it will end-- that's the nature of the business."

Up on the Sun spoke with Rogers in the days leading up to his performance at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler this Sunday. He talks in-depth with us about the best album he's ever made, his view of the music industry in the last fifty years, teaching people English through his music, and so much more.

You were recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and won a lifetime achievement award.

The Country Music Hall of Fame was a great experience. I said at the time that I am so glad it didn't happen at the peak of my success, because I'm not sure that I would have appreciated it as much. I have identical twin boys that are nine years old, I have two grown sons who live in California, and for all of us to be together with my wife and my brothers and sisters really meant a lot to me to finally accomplish and achieve that.

With the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, those things are always wonderful, and I really appreciated being considered [for it], and I appreciated winning. This past year, I've also been given an Honorary Masters Degree of Photography by the Professional Photographers Association. It's been a great year! I don't know what to look for next. [laughs]

Can you describe your passion for photography?

Well, I'm an impulsive obsessive. I impulsively get involved with something and I obsess with it. Once I do something kind of well, I think, "How well can I do this?" and I apply myself. That's what gets me through the days out here. When you travel like we do, you have an hour and a half of this incredibly emotional high at nighttime where people are laughing and clapping and singing, but then you've got twenty-two and a half hours of nothing to do. So, I've always tried to fill that time with positive things, because I don't want to get into drugs, I never wanted to do that. I didn't know what else to do while I was on the road.

I love my ability to succeed in all of these genres. You know, I actually played tennis for ten years. [I] played eight hours a day, carried the tennis pole with me on the road, and developed a national ranking in doubles just from working hard and spending a lot of time at it. So, that's my nature.


Location Info

Map

Ovations Live! Showroom at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino

5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler, AZ

Category: General


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107 comments
Pat Hexemer
Pat Hexemer

I saw the great Kenny Rogers in Lakland ,Fl. in the mid 70s ..Still love him.

Elroy Podratz
Elroy Podratz

One of my favorite all-time male singers. Kenny - remember when you performed out in the country near a little town called Parker Prairie, MN? I was there - great performance!!!

Melissa Lewis
Melissa Lewis

At 75 still gorgeous still kickin music but you are one of the best would love to see you in concert again always my favorite,love you

Judy Fraser
Judy Fraser

So loved the face he was born with, so sad he didn't.

Gary Reeser
Gary Reeser

AMEN TO THAT....THE TALENT ROLLS ON & ON.....NEVERENDING....WHAT AN AWESOME MAN/MUSICIAN/WRITER/PERFORMER!!!! Bless you Kenny Rogers

Margaretha Hamberger
Margaretha Hamberger

Just ordert your book love your voice to bad i live in spain would love to see you on stage .do you ever give concerts in europe.?your voice is pure gaensehaut ,!!!!K

Robin Nelson
Robin Nelson

Kenny just pulled into Bluewater Resort in a Beautiful motorhome. Can't wait for the concert tonight!!!

Deanna Martin
Deanna Martin

Love you Kenny, So happy I got to see you @ the Cannery on the 14th, You 1 awesome man :)

Patricia McLeod
Patricia McLeod

You are the greatest. I live 2 towns from you in NH. would you write me? Thanks. Patricia McLeod. I live in Franklin, NH.

Buffy Wilkerson
Buffy Wilkerson

Kenny Rogers is THE man...his music has been touching my soul for over 30 yrs....Keep up the magic Music Man...Love you to pieces....

Lorene Wynn
Lorene Wynn

Love this man, he is awesome. Saw him a few years ago at the Colorado State Fair. He puts on a great show. Love him and Dolly together.

Rennae Marshall Christman
Rennae Marshall Christman

And 75 never looked so stinking good...LY Kenny Rogers...Through The Years..Still makes me cry!! You Can't Make Old Friends...Love it and you!! Your photography...Freaking rocks!!

Donna Williams
Donna Williams

I want to go to one concert and have him sing (to me) Lady..... I'd melt.....

Faith Gilman
Faith Gilman

I didn't even recognize him. When I lived in NY I went to each and every Christmas show he had. I met Garth Brooks at one of Kenny's shows. Sorry I can't look at him now !!

Teresa Seivert
Teresa Seivert

Mr. Roger, I was wondering if you were still with us. I grew up on COUNTRY MUSIC those were clean, pure, wholesome songs back than. The songs they have today is not that GREAT. I miss hearing you and Dolly Parton sing together. I need to ask you, are you a Christian? Can someone tell me if you are still with us?. May God Bless you and family and may He keep you ALL SAFE from harm.

Christy Morris
Christy Morris

I am shocked that Houston, or anything close to here isn't a stop on the tour. I guess it is not a big deal 4 the hometown of his success, is an afterthought. I believe there are venues that are available in the vastness that is the first to know his name in secular country music, and he jad friends here. Cant make old one's, so you don't look back.

Beatriz Maradiaga
Beatriz Maradiaga

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Valeria Ciaramelli
Valeria Ciaramelli

There are people who never should grow up, and he is one of them. People love and need Kenny, 4 ever and ever.

Gail Postell
Gail Postell

Kenny is a legend and the best singer ever in my opinion!!! Love that man.....

Pamela Klingler
Pamela Klingler

I love all Kenny's songs. He's my favorite singer. Then it dolly

Yolanda Escarzaga
Yolanda Escarzaga

I love Kenny Rogers......" LADY". i love many many of his songs... but the song "LADY" number one for me.. xxooxxoo

Maria G Bustillos
Maria G Bustillos

we want to see you in concert when you came to Boise but we couldn't make it. Our Wedding Song is Lady My Song from my Guy

Terry Lecompte
Terry Lecompte

I have Always loved your songs Kenny. Islands in the stream is an all time favorite!!

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