Kenny Rogers’ nephew remembers rising up with ‘The Gambler’: I am unable to wait to see him once more’

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Kenny Rogers' nephew recalls growing up with 'The Gambler': I can't wait to see him again'

2022-04-23 11:30:57

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Dann Rogers is decided to maintain the torch of “The Gambler” burning.

The singer/songwriter, who’s the nephew of nation music icon Kenny Rogers, has led a profitable decades-long profession pursuing the household enterprise of creating music. At 15, he impressed John Lennon and went on to jot down for quite a few artists, together with legends Glen Campbell and Dottie West, amongst others.

Most not too long ago, the artist has launched a single and music video for “Lesson in Love,” which he stated focuses on the troublesome and complicated choice surrounding abortion. It was a dangerous subject for Rogers to tackle, however he was compelled to share his feelings by track – one thing he has completed all his life.

Rogers spoke to Fox Information Digital about what it was actually like rising up with an icon, how he carved out his personal identification within the music trade and why Campbell insisted he had the most costly rubbish can on the earth.

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Dann Rogers (left) along with his late uncle Kenny Rogers.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Fox Information: You come from a musical household. Wanting again, what impressed you to develop into an artist?
Dann Rogers: My father was an R&B file producer. He finally owned a file firm. So I had all these well-known R&B artists in my home and my life. Rising up, my dad would take me to the recording studios or radio stations the place he was selling a track. I grew up in that atmosphere. However I knew at 11 years previous that I used to be going to be a songwriter. And that’s all I wished to do since then.

At age 15, I wrote my first hit for Johnny Nash referred to as “My Merry Go Spherical.” John Lennon despatched me a private message by Johnny Nash stating that it was probably the most stunning track he had ever heard in his life. So while you get a message from a Beatle at age 15, you recognize you’re onto one thing. I wish to child round and inform individuals, “I began on the high and labored my means down.” The place does a younger child go when he will get a message from a Beatle? I imply, that actually set the bar for me. And I needed to take my craft critically.  Billy Cox, Jimi Hendrix’s bass participant, I’ve identified him since I used to be 17. And he stated to me, after I was 17, “You don’t have a alternative.” And he was proper.

Fox Information: Because the nephew of Kenny Rogers, have been you fearful that music critics would forged you in his shadow?
Rogers: That’s a pure course of I skilled after I was younger. At first, once they would examine me to him, it simply felt so unfair. However as I grew up, I spotted that he was on the market opening doorways for me. And I simply should be good sufficient to know the best way to react and the best way to deal with myself. And he was an enormous affect – how might he not be? He and my dad have been my two heroes.

Dann Rogers (left) described his uncle Kenny Rogers as one of his heroes.

Dann Rogers (left) described his uncle Kenny Rogers as certainly one of his heroes.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Fox Information: How would you describe your relationship with Kenny Rogers?
Rogers: We have been very shut. If I ever wanted to speak to him, he was there. We have been household. We knew one another all of our lives, so I checked out him in a different way. I by no means referred to as him Kenny. I referred to as him “Uncle Cash.” *laughs*. However our relationship was like some other between uncle and nephew. We supported one another.

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Fox Information: Do you keep in mind the final time you noticed him?
Rogers: … I keep in mind we have been alone. And I knew it was the final time I’d ever see him as a result of he appeared actually unhealthy. He was actually worn out from being on the street. I stated to him, “I need you to know that you just’ve spent a lifetime creating an amazing identify for our household. And I promise you that I’ll do every thing in my energy to maintain our household identify good.” He was touched. He nearly teared up. He stated, “Thanks.” Household was so vital to him. We hugged. I instructed him I like him. We took one image collectively. And I knew that will be the final image I’d ever take with him. That was the final time I ever noticed him. It was touching, however it was very stunning.

Fox Information: You should have many, however what’s one reminiscence of your time with Kenny Rogers that makes you smile every time you consider it?
Rogers: My favourite story I like to inform individuals is after I was 5 years previous, he got here to our home in his model new Buick Riviera. Kenny at all times had type. Even when he was very younger, he was decided to have type and look good. So he got here to the home and requested my mother if he might wash his automobile on the driveway. She stated, “Certain.” He seems to be at me and goes, “Come on Danny, you may assist me.” He threw a rag at me and I used to be washing the wheels whereas he washing the automobile *laughs*.

Kenny Rogers performing on stage, circa 1978. 

Kenny Rogers acting on stage, circa 1978. 
(David Redfern/Redferns)

Afterward, he stated, “Come on, I’m gonna take you to Dairy Queen and purchase you ice cream for serving to me.” We go to Dairy Queen and he stated, “Inform her what you need.” And I stated to the girl, “I need the most important ice cream you’ve bought!”  He simply appeared down at me, grinned and stated, “I knew you have been gonna say that.” And he tells the girl, “Give me the most important ice cream you could have.” And positive sufficient, I bought the most important ice cream I’ve ever seen on this cone. I used to be attempting to eat it so quick. I went to get in his automobile and he goes, “No, no, no, no!” He made me sit outdoors and eat the entire thing earlier than I bought within the automobile as a result of he didn’t need me dripping ice cream everywhere in the automobile. *laughs*.

There’s that different time when The First Version broke up. He referred to as me and requested if my band might again him up on his first 4 exhibits as a solo artist. We did. Standing on stage with him was a significant spotlight for me. It was a second of delight as a result of he was certainly one of my heroes that I appeared as much as. Nice recollections – I’ve a lot of them… I keep in mind the instances I spent with him driving horses out on the ranch that he had… I can’t wait to see him once more.

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Fox Information: What recommendation did he offer you on making your mark as an artist?
Rogers: He positive did. The very first thing he instructed me was to at all times be good to individuals. If individuals such as you, they may exit of their means that will help you. And the second factor he stated was the extra success you could have, the prettier the ladies get.

Dann Rogers was determined to carve out his own identity as a singer/songwriter.

Dann Rogers was decided to carve out his personal identification as a singer/songwriter.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Fox Information: I’m positive that was an enormous motivator for you.
Rogers: It was! *laughs*

Fox Information: Is it true that Glen Campbell ended up recording one of many songs that you just initially threw within the trash?
Rogers: Sure, that’s true. I’m sitting in my condominium broke one Friday night time. One in every of my shut pals that performed in my band was writing for Glen and taking part in in Glen’s band. Apparently, he performed a few of my songs to Glen. I get this telephone name at night time. It was Glen Campbell. He goes, “I simply heard a few of the songs you’ve written and I feel you’re unbelievable. I used to be questioning for those who might come as much as my home and play me some extra.” I stated, “I’d like to, when would you like me?” He goes, “How about proper now?”

I bought within the automobile and went as much as his home and stayed there for 3 days. Then someday he calls and says, “I’m in Vegas, why don’t you come to Vegas?” One in every of my different band members, my keyboard participant, was taking part in in his band on the time. So we ended up in his room throughout a break between exhibits. He began taking part in this riff on a keyboard. I leaned over and began singing a lyric. We bought midway by it. I stated, “Oh this isn’t any good.” I crumpled up the lyrics I wrote and threw them within the rubbish can. I went downstairs and [songwriter] Steve Hardin, who I wrote it with, pulled it out of the rubbish can and performed it for Glen.

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Glen Campbell passed away in 2017 at age 81.

Glen Campbell handed away in 2017 at age 81.
(Jasper Dailey/ Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs)

Six months later, I get a name. Glen was searching for me. He was doing my track on “The Tonight Present.” I requested, “What track?” I used to be instructed the track I wrote with Steve, “Dangle on Child.” I stated, “I by no means wrote something with Steve.” They usually stated, “Sure, you probably did. Glen stated you probably did. And he’s searching for you. That’s his new single.” I used to be sure they bought the fallacious man. I hung up and 20 minutes later, it got here to me. It was that track I began writing with Steve after which threw within the rubbish can. I then get a name from Glen and he stated, “No matter you do, don’t you ever throw one other track till I hear it. I feel you’ve bought the most costly rubbish can on the earth!”

Fox Information: Inform us about your single “Lesson in Love.”
Rogers: It is a track I wrote about 12 years in the past whereas I used to be doing a 40-day quick. I hadn’t written something in just a few years. I wished to place my spirit above my abdomen and get myself in a religious state and see if I might nonetheless write once more. I bought hungry for the reality. About eight days into the quick, I began writing and I couldn’t cease.

This track is a couple of lady considering abortion. And I didn’t write it from a controversial standpoint. I wrote it from a standpoint of empathy of a person what a lady goes by emotionally. The beauty of this track is we haven’t obtained detrimental suggestions. Hopefully, it’s serving the next goal for ladies who’re going by this. I can’t think about what it have to be like for a lady to undergo this and ponder this choice.

Fox Information: Why have been you so compelled to discover the complicated choice surrounding abortion by track?
Rogers: I can’t say that I used to be compelled. I simply picked up a guitar and performed. If I latch onto a musical passage, I’ll sit there, play it and sing some melody. As soon as I’ve the melody of music to encourage me, I’ll write the primary line of the track. After which the track writes itself. I had no intentions of sitting down and writing a track a couple of lady considering abortion. The primary line simply got here out of me. “She stares on the night time alone in her room.” I believed, “What’s that about?” And the track started to unfold. And since I had gone by the abortion course of with a girlfriend a few years in the past, I used to be in a position to relate to the sentiments and the feelings. So as soon as I spotted what I used to be writing about, the track wrote itself.

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Fox Information: Some artists can be cautious of eager to discover such a controversial subject. However you’ve described how listeners have been accepting of the track. How do you are feeling about that acceptance?
Rogers: Relieved. I did a spotlight group earlier than I launched the track. It was 50 individuals – not one detrimental remark. And I feel it’s due to the way in which I wrote it. I wished the listener to attract their very own conclusions. I wished the message to talk to them personally. So I’m very relieved that it hasn’t offended anybody. That’s why I didn’t file this track for 12 years. I left it alone. I believed it was too controversial of a topic.

However about 10 months in the past, I simply began getting this nagging feeling that I wanted to file this track. I used to be actually involved as a result of I by no means wish to offend anybody. However as an artist, I’ve to be true to my artwork and myself after I write it. It was time for this track to be heard. I’m simply hoping it helps one one who hears the track. Then it’s going to have all been value it.

Dann Rogers said nothing will hold him back from keeping the legacy of his family alive.

Dann Rogers stated nothing will maintain him again from protecting the legacy of his household alive.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)

Fox Information: What else do you could have within the works?
Rogers: Nicely, I used to be simply out on a farm in Nashville for 2 weeks with my producer. We’re on the point of launch a track with a brand new video this summer time… I launched a double album, “Life.” It was alleged to be launched in late March 2020. Kenny handed away and I put a cease to it. I didn’t launch it till September. I simply couldn’t. I couldn’t launch a file and go on the market and discuss myself whereas I used to be grieving the lack of certainly one of my heroes. Now, I really feel able to go on the market and stick with it the household identify. I wish to spend extra time taking the music to the individuals.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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