Paul Rogers

2018 Cotati Accordion Festival Honorary Director

Paul Rogers came by his position as unwitting champion of the accordion in a rather roundabout way.

A native of Dearborn, Michigan, he earned a degree in music composition from Ohio Wesleyan in 1975. Heading west to San Francisco, Rogers became immersed in the local pop music scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s. He played keyboard and fronted New Wave bands The Dinks, The Baxter Brothers and The Jimmy Knight Band. He also joined the now-legendary Christmas Jug Band, penning some of the group’s best-known holiday hits (including NPR’s 2002 Christmas Song of the Year, “Santa Lost a Ho”).

Then came the unlikely meeting that turned him into a squeezebox rocker. In 1990, he fell in with an impromptu group calling itself Those Darn Accordions. The ragtag group’s frenzied accordion raids attracted media attention in San Francisco and beyond. Soon, TDA was performing throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Rogers assumed the role of TDA musical director in 1992. The band began recording and touring the United States, including an unprecedented 10-year run at Milwaukee’s massive Summerfest.

The band’s six releases include many of Rogers’ songs, many of which have shaken the gazebo at the Cotati Accordion Festival. With TDA, he has appeared on numerous television shows, including “The American Music Awards,” “Penn & Teller’s Sin City Spectacular” and “The Donny and Marie Show.”

In 2016, Rogers wrote a song to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Cotati Accordion Festival. He and the festival headliners performed “We Came to Squeeze” at the Grand Finale that year.

Rogers continues to promote the versatility of the accordion in traditional and popular music. In 2016, he began co-producing an accordion festival in PortTownsend, Washington. The PT Deep Squeeze features TDA, plus many other local and touring accordion players each Labor Day weekend.