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October 26, 2023

Rogers rocking the punk

Wendy Le
Bart Rogers plays bass to “You Kill Me” by Baboon in his Coppell home office. Rogers has been the bass player for Baboon since 2010, previously playing between 1991-1994.

Staying at strangers’ homes, living off of junk food and traveling across the country with a beige Ford Econoline van, also known as Mommy, purchased for less than $1,000: This was the early 20s of Coppell resident Bart Rogers as the bassist for local band, Baboon. 

Despite always having an interest for music as a little boy, nothing ever really spoke out to him. 

That was until the then seventh grade boy overheard the intense and fast-paced rhythms of punk metal rock coming from his next door neighbor’s home. 

His time growing up in Irving in the 1970s was filled with enjoying the hundreds of kinds of music blasting from a jukebox with his best friend and watching MTV in the 1980s – these revolutionary platforms of their time amazed Rogers and exposed him to broader ways of consuming music, further igniting his interest in it.

“It was an exciting time to be growing up and enjoying music and experiencing it in different ways with the advent of music videos coming,” Rogers said. “So it wasn’t just the music, it was also the look and, and everything associated with that.” 

During his senior year at Irving High School in 1988, Rogers joined his first band as the bassist. 

Many more followed until he found the one that stuck: Baboon. 

The punk rock metal band was established by its vocalist Andy Huffstetlar and guitarist Mike Rudnicki at the University of North Texas. 

Rogers joined as the bassist in the summer of 1991 and followed by drummer Steve Barnett in 1992, who replaced previous members and stuck to what it is today. 

Together, they toured across the country in Mommy.

Whether it was performing at a rural town in Texas or big cities like New York or Los Angeles, there was always a promise of an element of surprise and utmost energy at every performance. 

“One time we were performing at the Frye Street Fair in Denton to 5,000 people,” Huffstetler said. “We were all wearing masks made by Mike and, at one point, I was hitting golf balls into the audience. People were breaking down the fence and crawling over stuff. It was a blast.” 

On stage, Rogers, who is often perceived as reserved and calm, is betrayed by a loud, chaotic energy. 

“It was shocking because if you met him, you wouldn’t think that it was Bart on stage,” wife Lisa Mesa-Rogers said. “It wasn’t music, it was performance art, too. I didn’t necessarily get that vibe off of Bart. He has this conservative Christian upbringing, not the typical rockstar.”

Bart Rogers sits in his Coppell home office next to his bass guitar, surrounded by collections of CDs, vinyl records, sounding systems and artwork. Rogers has been the bass player for Baboon since 2010, previously playing between 1991-1994. (Wendy Le)

Baboons’ days on the road consists of one person on the wheels, and the three other members resting on whatever they could find, whether it’s a loveseat, a bunk they had built inside the van or the floor. 

After three years of being in the band, Mr. Rogers decided to step away in February 1994 to focus more on his family and a stable career.

The band continued to tour without Mr. Rogers until 2006 to shift focus on more stable professions and perform periodically each year. 

The same year, he and his family relocated to Coppell from Lake Highlands due to its excellent schools. 

Mr. Rogers now works as the director of cell engineering at a service network provider, while Huffstetler works as the multimedia and litigation support specialist at a law firm. Rudnicki is a principal technical writer at a security firm and Barnett is a therapist. 

Despite no longer actively playing in the band, his passion for music continues to tie itself into his everyday life. 

Because to Mr. Rogers, music isn’t just a collection of melodies and rhythms tied together; it’s a way for him to reminisce. 

“You’re always either looking forward to something that’s happening or you crave something that happened in the past,” Mr. Rogers said. “The reality is, no matter what, there’s good things that kind of come in every era. And sometimes that music will remind you of some of the positive things. I’m sure it can do some of the bad things as well, but music deeply ties you to the emotions, feelings, sights and smells of a certain time period that you’ll forget about but remember later on.” 

He brings music into his household, inspiring his son, Coppell High School junior Jonas Rogers, to embrace self-expression for his personal growth, much like the painting that sits in Roger’s office.

“When I was younger, he would dissect different kinds of music to me which helped establish a foundation for standard music that I can appreciate without it being my favorite kind of music,” Jonas said. “It has made me more open-minded to different forms of art and being more comfortable with different forms of self-expressions like dancing, acting or theater.”

In 2010, Mr. Rogers rejoined Baboon to perform periodically and has been a part of it ever since. 

And more than three decades of performing later, nothing has changed. 

Their outfits remain white, something that’s been the norm for every performance since their start. 

Their energy remains vibrant and upbeat, letting their beats vibrate every venue they play, something you can always expect when thinking of Baboon.

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About the Contributor
Wendy Le, Podcast Producer
Wendy Le is a junior and the podcast producer of The Sidekick. Through The Sidekick, she found her passion in photography and podcasting. In her free time, she enjoys scrolling through Pinterest, capturing mundane moments on camera and spending time with her friends and family.  Born in Hanoi, Vietnam, she moved to the United States as an 8-year-old. Le’s childhood consisted of traveling around the world, more specifically, different parts of Asia. Constantly on the move, she finally settled down in Coppell, TX in the seventh grade, where she met some of her closest friends. When feeling burnt out, Le recharges her social battery by sitting in her bed and relaxing throughout the day. Listening to Lana Del Ray, specifically her Lust for Life album, helps bring a sense of peacefulness to her day. You can contact her at [email protected].

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