The Rogues began entertaining crowds in 1994 at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Formed from members of Clandestine, founded by Lars Sloan, The Rogues performed high energy music not typically heard on bagpipes and released their first recording in 1994. Being worried about the risk of selling a recording for the first time, the band figured if they could sell one tape during each show that season then they would break even. Imagine their surprise when they sold over 140 on the first day. This sparked a period of success for the band that continues today.
have been several membership line-ups within the band through the years
with Randy Wothke being the thread that tied them all together.
Beginning in 1994, with EJ Jones, Tom Campbell, Paul Rendon and Randy,
Jimmy Mitchell then joined in the place of EJ in 1995, and was replaced
by Lars Sloan in 1996 when Jimmy dedicated his time to competition.
Bryan Blaylock also came on board in ’95 as the front man for the
group. Jimmy Mitchell returned in 1997 replacing Tom Campbell, and this
line-up became the most well known of all the versions of The Rogues.
It was during this period that The Rogues achieved national and
international fame and released some of their most well-known
recordings, including Live in Canada, Eh?, Off Kilter, The Rogues 5.0
and Made in Texas. The band also sponsored several cruises and a trip
to Scotland with fans.
Critical acclaim also came in the form of
positive reviews in Dirty Linen Magazine, Piper and Drummer, etc., and
several nominations in the Grammy book, although the band didn’t make it
to the final five. The Rogues also shared the stage with many
well-known groups in this period such as Steel-Eye Span, The Battlefield
Band, Natalie McMaster and Seven Nations.
In 2002 Nelson Stewart*
joined the group replacing Bryan Blaylock as the front man. In 2004
Lars Sloan left the group and was replaced by original member EJ Jones
on pipes. In 2005 Jimmy Mitchell again left the group and was replaced
by Jeremy Freeman. Under the piping skills of EJ and Jeremy the band
produced the critically acclaimed Roguetrip CD, in which they recorded a new version of Bonny Portmore with flute, bagpipe and
keyboard. This track was later featured in the movie Kill the Irishman
released in 2011.
Another highlight in the band’s career was
their performance as a guest artist with the Air Force Symphony
Orchestra in Washington, DC in 2007. Orchestrations for full orchestra
were written for The Rogues' music and performed in DAR Constitution Hall
to a standing ovation.
American Highlander was released in 2008
and the latest album, 3 LBS of Rage in 2010. 3 LBS of Rage had more of
a pop direction, but late in 2012, to widespread approval from fans and
colleagues, the band underwent a major shift and returned to its roots,
reuniting Randy Wothke with Lars Sloan, Jimmy Mitchell, Bryan Blaylock
and Ewan Brown, Look for great things to come.
*In October of 2012 the Rogues split. Nelson Stewart and other musicians continued to perform as the American Rogues. Randy Wothke and other musicians continued as the Rogues.