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We Are Richmond: Roger Dawkins

Roger Dawkins
Rita Thames

Like other towns, Rockingham has its share of talented artists. Singer/songwriter artist Roger Dawkins, lead singer of the band, Underwater Trailer Park, has lived in Rockingham all his life. He grew up listening to rock and roll and watching The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, while Pink Floyd is his all-time favorite band. Dawkins’ career in music began in 1990 when he, his nephew, and a friend “started jamming.” Dawkins proclaims he wasn’t a very good guitar player but says “I could pick enough to figure out the song.” His friend, however was a very good guitar player. Between the three of them they played old cover songs, blues, rock, and jazz. Then he began writing some lyrics; he got a riff in his head and before he knew it he had a song. He thought, “That sounds pretty good!” As it turned out, this was the first among many songs he was to record. Dawkins says his first two songs, Ball and Chain, and Back in the Day, were recorded at Luap Studios in Rockingham. He had some other lyrics in mind and decided to see what he could do with them. Over time, Dawkins wound up with enough material for an entire album of original songs. That was four years ago. As of today, Dawkins has recorded 22 songs, waiting to record the last two for his second album at Red Arrow Studio in Seneca, South Carolina.

 

Dawkins has a unique method of preparing his songs for recording. First, he records the song acapella on his phone before sending it to the studio to have the music added. After getting it back, Dawkins picks out the tune on the guitar to see if he likes the music before completing a final studio recording. He works hard to make each song sound different.

About 4 years ago, something happened to change Dawkins’ life. He experienced a heart attack during the time period he was recording an album and had to take about 6 months off. Dawkins says it took him a while to recover, but he eventually got back to his music. “Recording live songs is very exciting but it does take a lot of energy”, he states. “I’ve never been much of a public speaker, but I get in the studio and get up to that microphone and it’s all I can do to contain myself.”

There is another chapter to Dawkins’ story, a darker chapter, but one with a happy ending. He fought drug and alcohol addiction, but has been sober for 30 years. He shares, “When I was 12 years old, my brother got killed in Vietnam and that just changed something in me. It hurt. I was mad. I took my anger out on God. So, for 13 years I rebelled against Him, just being as mean as I could be, just as hateful as I could be.”

Dawkins says drugs and alcohol seemed to make him happy for a while but the happiness didn’t last. When asked if he received help with his addictions, Dawkins emphatically states, “Yes, I was saved!” He said when he was about 25 years old, he cried out to God for help. He says, “I was so sick but God healed me right there. I haven’t had a drink since.” Dawkins sings about some of these experiences in his song, Cold Turkey.

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Dawkins’ wife, Kim, not only supports his music but serves as an inspiration for some of his songs. From his first album, he says she inspired UBU I’ll Be Me, because the couple are as different as night and day. This song has also proven to be his biggest hit on YouTube.  From his second album, Dawkins was inspired to write the song Black and White because his wife likes to watch old black and white movies. He believes Black and White is one of the best songs he’s written. Dawkins jokingly refers to a lyric in the song, She’s All Mine, “If you learn to make an apple pie, I promise to love you till the day I die.” It’s easy to see that Dawkins feels blessed to have Kim in his life. When asked how he arrived at the name, Underwater Trailer Park, Dawkins says he borrowed it from another band that rejected it as a name for their own fledgling band. The name seems to be working well for Dawkins as, much to the pleasure of his fans, he continues to compose and record his songs,

 

Roger Dawkins’ music can be accessed through the following: YouTube: (Type ‘Roger Dawkins’ to see the videos or ‘Underwater Trailer Park’ to hear only audios.), iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Google Play.

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