Roger Manning

Roger Manning - bio

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The first Roger Manning album was released in early 1989 by California punk recording label SST (Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.). I toured the US and occasionally bits of Europe for over 10 years performing wordy-solo-rock in rock and dance clubs accompanied by bass-heavy amplified 'acoustic' guitar.

The music evolved in the streets, subways, and clubs of New York City throughout the 1980s. Hitchhiking, street singing, low-income living, disgust with authority, and pondering the mysteries of love and beauty.

"People work hard and end up with nothing. I ain't got nothing either, but at least I didn't work hard for it" (from the 'Pearly Blues').

Song rhythms were largely drawn from music being spun in New York clubs like Danceteria, The Ritz, and Palladium. Early influences also include Kerouac, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Sonic Youth, Public Enemy, the Clash, Woody Guthrie, Big Audio Dynamite. Various fellow downtown New York performers, including King Missile (John S. Hall) and Billy Syndrome, were strong influences as well. These others, and I are associated with the beginnings of New York's "Anti-Folk" scene which came together in the mid 80s. Later influences include My Bloody Valentine, Liz Phair, Elysian Fields (NYC) and various forms of electronica.

In 1995, Hamburg recording label Moll released the 3rd Roger Manning album featuring a full band recorded on a 4-track cassette port-a-studio in a Brooklyn basement. The CD received a 4 star review in German Rolling Stone magazine and was followed by several tours across Germany and nearby countries.

After a long musical hiatus things started up again a bit in the fall of 2007 when Jeffrey Lewis hooked me up with a gig in Berlin. I'd spent the off time getting very involved with the movement to save the Pacifica radio network and restructure it's governance. (see

In March 2008, German Rolling Stone included "The Pearly Blues (live)" in the free CD included with the magazine. The CD's title "This is Not a Folk Song" is taken from the song. Other artists on the CD include Michelle Shocked, Billy Bragg, Camper Van Beethoven, Chumbawamba, and the Mekons.

The forth RM album was released online 12/22/14. It includes a pile of unreleased songs with plenty of big beats and trading in some of the riffage for a less wordy, more melodic approach on various selections. Players include one of my favorite drummers, Christy Davis.

Currently, I build websites, (still) in-line skate, practice yoga and spend a lot time as a clarinista with nyc lefty street band The Rude Mechanical Orchestra. There's some pictures in the photo gallery.

Releases include: "Roger Manning" - roger records 007; "Roger Manning" -Moll (Germany)/Shanachie; "Roger Manning" -Shimmy-disc; "Roger Manning" -SST; "Fuck You Have a Nice Day" (book) - Soft Skull Press; "Chyeah" - Joe Folk and the Soho Valley Boys (noise/spoken word tape) - roger records.
Click HERE for more info on these and other releases

Full RM catalog now online at:

Roger Manning

  From past reviews:

Austin Chronicle -**** "Manning's most realized effort to date...well honed songsmithing...he explores intimacies with a thorough brush that nails difficult shades of gray with remarkable accuracy."

Cake - "...strands of genius"

Rolling Stone (Germany) - ****

Option -"Writing the lyrics to be dense and then tossed off, it's a clever way way to insure that you get something whether you're listening to the words or not. But the real clincher is the way Manning and company ride the riffs like they were breaking in a colt."

Village Voice - "Always angry about the right thing, and with that rare skill of putting the feeling appropriately to both guitar and lyric, Manning's truly an unsung hero overflowing with passion."

Flagpole - "...he plays solo punk rock like no-one else...loud enoth to raise the dead."

Tucson Weekly - "...feisty and passionate in song, reserved and gently candid in-between.

Cowgirl Hall of Fame (Sante Fe) - "Vulgar"

BAM -"A definite must-hear for any serious lyricist."

Time Out NY - " of the city's most enduring troubadours."

Albuquerque Tribune - "...the lyric sheet alone will keep you entertained for hours."

Missoula Independent - "Regardless of the topic, Manning writes his songs from the heart but he also remembers to make them rock. the romantic nihilist tradition."

New Haven Register - "One of my favorite albums of the year."

The Alibi (Albuquerque) - "It's razor sharp lyrics...and unassuming confidence that sets his songs apart. A mind of his own that he shares openly through his songs, a mind that seems to make the off-the-cuff seem sage driven and as restless and angry as it is pointed and painfully truthful. Roger Manning will always be there...making road signs of metaphor."

The Springville Journal - " Bob D. on crack."

E-mail - "...the cd's fucking great! It's fucking great! It's fucking great! -signed, fucking impressed