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POP EYE

First Brother's First Album Finally Ready

August 14, 1994|Steve Hochman

Has it seemed kinda quiet lately on the Roger Clinton-as-pop star front?

Well, it won't be for long.

His long-promised album, now titled "Nothing Good Comes Easy," will be released on Sept. 20 by Miami-based Pyramid Records, whose roster also includes the current edition of the Band and Dave Edmunds.

And Clinton's not going to be shy about promoting the new collection.

"We've got him booked on television heavily--every major talk show and some not-major ones," says Allen Jacobi, chief operating officer of Pyramid. "And we'll be sending him around to radio stations and there'll be an advertising blitz."

That will be followed by a national concert tour, with hopes of hitching on as an opening act for an established pop performer.

The expectations?

"The album's either going to be huge . . . or not very sterling," says Jacobi. "I don't think it's going to be in between. Either we're going to capture America's imagination, and hopefully hearts, or we're not."

Ken Barnes, editor of the music industry trade paper Radio & Records, is placing his bets on the latter.

"It's a long, uphill road, isn't it?" says Barnes. "He has to go into it expecting a lot of ridicule, and I'm sure he is. It's going to take very strong material and brilliant performance."

That's fine by Clinton, 38, who says he relishes the challenge ahead of him.

"Whenever you're launching yourself into something it's an uphill battle," he says. "I do better in uphill battles. If it's downhill, I get complacent and lazy."

Can Clinton possibly overcome inevitable charges that he only got the record deal because of who his brother is (he's the President), and memories of such infamous White House-related ventures as Billy Beer and Ron Reagan's ballet career?

"Sometimes there's nothing you can do to please anyone," Clinton says.

Jacobi says the theme of the promotional campaign will be "Hearing is believing," and he hopes to keep the focus on the music, not on Clinton's relations. The album was produced by Pyramid President Scott Maclellan, with backing by the famed Muscle Shoals rhythm section. Clinton co-wrote two songs, including the title track, though the first single, "Fantasy of Love," is a romantic ballad written by Mike Pinera (formerly of Blues Image and Iron Butterfly) and Dwayne Hitchings.

One notable figure not on the album is a certain saxophone player who lives in a big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. Clinton says that he did want to have his brother guest on the record, but he learned a civics lesson in the process.

"I was pretty new at this First Brother thing and the whole ethical issues," he says. "It's something that would be quite normal for two brothers to do, but unfortunately when one's the President it can't happen if there might be any financial gain in it."

Anyway, the older Clinton's popularity is not so hot right now. Could a hit single by his little bro help boost his image?

"Nothing would make me happier," says the younger Clinton. "That'd be a real nice twist on things. I'm doing the best I can, and hopefully that in itself will help all of our causes."

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