Bill to Last

Fueled by a defiant frontman, Rogue is beyond driven.

At an outdoor festival in Terre Haute a few years ago, a female fan died at a Rogue show. Two songs into the set, she suffered a stroke, fell into the middle of the mosh pit and hit her head. As paramedics moved in, the bandmembers stood on stage, slack-jawed. "We were flippin' out," Terrell remembers. "We were like, 'Whoa, shit!' Then, when they moved her away -- they don't teach you in rock school how to win a crowd back from a death experience -- within two songs, we were like the Who. My parents were at that show, and that was the first time they had seen this band. My mom was like, 'You were killing people and shit.'"

On that same tour, Terrell came pretty close to death himself. Rogue had just finished playing a biker party in Illinois, a seven-kegger in the middle of a field, with an eighteen-wheeler's flatbed for the stage. Terrell was drinking heavily and didn't notice when a fan slipped him something. He spent the rest of the evening convulsing, lying helpless before his befuddled bandmates, who held him up and talked him through the ordeal. But he recovered the next day -- "All I had to do was shave my facial hair and I was fine," says Terrell -- and by that night, they were back on stage.

Such tenacity comes when a band is driven by a common goal. Terrell likens the outfit's relationship to a marriage -- one that he controls. "I'm like one of those dudes living out in the country with four wives," he says. "They all do my laundry and listen to me. It's cool." And the other members agree. "We just trust that more times than not, his instincts are right," Bollack explains. "It's gotten us a lot farther than anything we've done on our own."

Headliners: Bill Terrell and Rogue members Devon 
Kimzey (clockwise from right), E.A. Schuster, Butch 
Putman and John Bollack.
Anthony Camera
Headliners: Bill Terrell and Rogue members Devon Kimzey (clockwise from right), E.A. Schuster, Butch Putman and John Bollack.


With Silencer, Midgard, Powder Munki, Semi Freak and the Fong Jones Band, 9 p.m. Saturday, February 21, Cricket on the Hill, 1209 East 13th Avenue, $5, 303-830-9020

"A good team doesn't go anywhere without someone playing quarterback," Putman adds.

But sometimes Terrell's audacity gets the best of him. A few years ago, drunk and disgruntled that a member of the media was passing him over, Terrell engaged not only the offending party, but his boss, too. "I'll be honest; I mulled over that one in my head for six months," he says. "I opened my mouth a little too quick. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't done things in a certain way. But everything I did back then got us to where we're at. Now I'm known as being the consummate professional. Anybody who works in this business -- either radio or promoters -- will tell you that I'm on my shit. I never let them down. I'm a man of my word. At that time, I was a good businessman, but I was really young."

Although age and experience haven't settled Terrell much, the people who know him -- the acts he's mentored over the years, the musicians seeking advice who ring his phone off the hook -- insist that beyond the braggadocio is a generous spirit. He's happy to share the love. Last fall, Terrell spent five weeks on the road managing Motograter, whose members he'd worked with when he operated an Aurora bar called the Blitz Room. And Love.45's recent success has a tie to Terrell, too: A chance meeting with Three Doors Down's Chris Henderson led to a relationship that just may result in a deal for the outfit.

Despite these connections, though, Rogue isn't signed to a major label. "Why? Who knows? I don't spend my time thinking about that shit," says Terrell. "This industry sucks balls. Nobody's selling records. I don't judge our success on getting a record deal. I know the business. I've learned. I'm educated. Whereas people who aren't educated might say, 'You're just squirrels out here searching for a nut.' That's fine, but I'm getting more of them than you are. I'm loading my basket, and you can't even fucking feed yourself.

"I know what I've accomplished. I could retire tomorrow, and I've accomplished more in Denver than anybody who's ever played in this fucking town. I have, and I know I have. If I die tomorrow, look at this," he continues, picking up Rogue's three discs and dropping them back on the table. "It's a legacy. As long as we leave a legacy. Besides, we've been headlining the Ogden for five years. The people who talk shit about us can't headline the Cricket. And they're talking shit about us!"

Terrell plans to keep building that legacy -- Rogue's members are now writing songs for a fourth full-length, tentatively dubbed Cycle of One -- and to keep taking on those who hide in the shadows and talk shit.

"I don't know who that anonymous guy is," he says, returning to his guest-book writer. "But he's got a hell of an ass-whoopin' coming his way."

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