INSIDE ROBERT EARL KEEN, RANDY ROGERS’ FICTIONAL STRYKER BROTHERS DUO

The idea started with a brush fire, but before long it took on a life of its own. Two lives, in fact: Coal and Flynt Stryker, a pair of mysterious siblings who died in a prison fire, leaving behind a batch of long-lost country recordings. Except that they didn’t. Cole and Flynt never even existed. The Stryker Brothers were nothing more than an excuse for Robert Earl Keen and Randy Rogers to make an album together.

So why did they go to all the trouble?

“I thought it was just funny and cool and interesting. Let’s have a little mystery in life,” says Keen, sitting with Rogers in a soundproof control room backstage at ACL Live in Austin, Texas, one afternoon in December. He’s splayed out sideways in his chair, as though he’s discovered a new plane of comfort at this absurd angle. “It’s surprising how many people were like, ‘Now, what’s going on?’ If you have to explain it to ’em, it’s kind of like having to explain a joke.”

Keen and Rogers are preparing to take the stage for the first — and as far as they know, only — time as the Stryker Brothers. And they likely never expected to get this far. Since they started writing the 13 songs that became Burn Band, released last September, they constructed an elaborate backstory, had friends like Todd Snider, Bruce Robison and Shooter Jennings lie about it on video, and even brought an astronaut with them to tonight’s show. But none of that was the plan when they started. Read the full article at RollingStone.com.



Robin Schoepf