Born: April 1, 1965 Primary Instrument: Bass, acoustic
I was born in East Los Angeles on April 1st 1965. Basically at the corner of the 60 & 710 fwys! There's a hospital called Santa Marta Hospital north-west of the two freeways. It was a tiny hospital at the time. My brother Claudio just got his first car a 49 Ford sedan which by the way, was the car that took my mom to the hospital. I was due on March 31st but the April Fool joke had me breathing smog on April 1st. The ironic thing was it was the same hospital my father died in. For many years we lived near Whittier Blvd and I witnessed the East L.A. riots on August 29, 1970. I remember billowing smoke three blocks away and wanting to see what was going on. My mom came running after me since I’ve always had a insatiable curiosity about life and what makes people do what they do. Years later we moved to Boyle Heights and I actually slept through famous 1971 Sylmar earthquake. I woke up on the aftershock. When our last move to East L.A. in 1973 right off of Whittier Blvd. My sister in law Elia gave me my first guitar at the age of 9 years. It was a cracked classical nylon string guitar that I played for a few months until it imploded into a cloud of dust. Claudio knew I loved playing music so when he took a trip to Mexico he bought me a cheap guitar from the town of Paracho to replace the old one. I played in all the school bands through Jr. High to High School. Eventually I bought a Silvertone guitar just like the one seen with Jimmy Page and an amp that I still have to this day made for Macy's dept store from the 1950’s. It cost me five bucks at a yard sale. But I could turn it up and get lots of natural distortion! During that time I also played in a rock band called Crimson. We played all through Jr. High and High School. I sang lead vocals and picked up bass, which was a real challenge, but I managed to become a good singer. I also played with my brother Joe in a wonderful Latin Americana folk music group called Los Huicholos. We explored music from from Mexico down to the tip of Argentenia. You could say that I was wide eyed with all kinds of music from Los Folkoristas to Jimi Hendrix with a twist of Brahms and Bootsy Collins.
A brief list of my musical influences from day one to present day:
The Beatles, Johannes Brahms, Rachmaninoff, DEVO, Led Zeppelin, Mental As Anything, Level 42, Inxs, Carlos Santana, Paco Peña, The Prentenders, Bob Dylan, The Buzzcocks, Richard O'Brien (The Rocky Horror Picture Show),Wes Montgomery, MIles Davis, Luis Bonfa, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Fear, Fantomas, Mr. Bungle, Squarepusher, Hank Williams Sr, Heart, Paul Weller, Billy Bragg, Trio Los Panchos, Los Lobos, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Stan Kenton, Van Halen (early), Crosby Stills & Nash, Cat Stevens, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Scott Henderson, Rickie Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Prince, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Los Folkristas, Strunz & Farah, Paco De Lucia, Michael Crawford, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Pat Metheny, The Bad Plus, Medeski Martin & Wood, Meshell Nedeogocello, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, Mike Ness, Bootsy Collins, Jaco Pastorius, John Denver, Rage Against The Machine, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Neil Young, U2, Wynton Marsalis, Howlin Wolfe, Muddy Waters, The Ventures, Dick Dale, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Peter Gabriel, Henry Mancini, Alan Parsons Project, Geddy Lee, James Jamerson,Diagble Planets, Andy Narell, The Yardbirds, The Birds, Red Cross, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Nina Hagen, Doc Watson, Alice & Chains, John Mellencamp, Art Of Noise, Vangelis, Tomita, Jeff Linsky, The Hellcasters, Link Ray and his Raymen, Jerry Goldsmith, Edith Piaf, Neil Schon, Bjork, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ray Brown, Joe Pass, Lyle Lovette, Joe Jackson, Rimsky Korsakov, Jerry Herman, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Phillip Glass, Ornette Coleman, Alison Kraus, Elvis Costello, Woody Shaw, Buddy Rich, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion, Jeff Beck, Gerald Wilson, The Cramps, The Gypsy Kings, Charlie Parker, Carl Orf, Paul Young, Howard Jones, Queen, Berlin, Screaming Headless Torsos, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Ravi Shankar, Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright, John Coltrane, Cachao, Dixie Chicks, John McLaughlin, J.S. Bach, Dimtri Shostakovich and a that's where I'll stop since I could write a hundred more. One thing you can say is that I’m no musical zealot. In the scheme of existence, all good music is valid and has it’s place and we’re lucky to have so much diversity in the world. It's not a coincidence that Super String Theory has music references. This art form crosses many planes of thought, emotions, existence and love that we're just starting to learn about.
I took up singing around 15 years old and I was quite bad for about a year but I kept trying and eventually improved until I could sing quite well and receive compliments for it. My friend Jeff Perez used to make fun of my singing until about a few years later he apologized for making those comments. Then I knew I was on the right track. During that time I was driving my parents nuts with distorted guitar and singing all the time in a 500 square foot one bedroom house behind a noisy Mexican cantina my dad worked at under the table. We were about as poor as it got for the most part. But my dad eventually realized that I was serious about learning music and bought me two guitars my senior year. Before that he regarded a music career as a waste of time. His idea of a musician was players traveling from smelly cantina to a more smelly cantina to play for tips. One night my junior year, I was leaving to do a rock gig and I was wearing a French cut t-shirt with black satin overalls with my long hair! Most glam metal bands were wearing pretty feminine clothes during the early 80's. He called me a Maricon which is Spanish for Faggot. I tried to tell him that this was the style and girls really dug the clothes. Thank God I didn't have a famous 80's band or otherwise I would be embarrassed to see myself in that getup on VH1 where are these bozos now? Yeah I looked a Mexican Gallagher. He scratched his head and said don't be home too late. But Dad this gig not a night out on the town. I'll be home around 2 a.m.O.K? My father was a raging alcoholic and it shortened his life unfortunately. Being a bartender gave him plenty of access to booze I guess. He was quite charming when he was sober or just one drink in him. But after a few extra he became the Devil incarnate. Rumor has it when he was a cop in the early fifties in full view, witnessed his partner execute a poor man who was the local thief in Juarez, Mexico. (His father and my grandpa gave him the job because he was the police chief in Juarez). He would only steal food to eat and right before my dad's partner shot him in the head, he had begged for his life. It happened so fast my dad didn't see it coming because some power hungry Federales goofed around with the local petty thieves all the time and my dad didn’t think his partner would really do it.. My mom believed it freaked out my father very deeply and that's part of why the family moved to Los Angeles in 1956.But you know how people interpret history, I would be hurt if the partner was really my dad himself recanting the event in his head. Knowing my dad, he would never do such a thing. I remember him having frequent nightmares and now I know why. He was rightfully tormented if there is such a thing but he could also be a great father from time to time. He died in early 1994 after a long battle with diabetes. Honestly he just didn't take care of himself and was about as stubborn as a mule. He had all the classic lost limbs and kidney failure, blindness etc. etc. He passed away right around 11 am. I was auditioning for a steel drum band called Steel Parade led by a dishonest control freak named Phil Carrillo who years later cost me an unwarranted tax audit. And right at the moment my dad had his fatal heart attack, my left arm became riddled with pain that I couldn't play for an hour. And realize I was only 29 years old and I was in very good shape at that time. I know that time line was correct because my childhood friend Robert Sepulveda was a Medic with an ambulance Co. nearby. He heard the call about a heart attack at 759 Williamson Ave. Later when I arrived to teach lessons later around 2 p.m. My brother Claudio called and that's when I learned that my Dad had died. My dad might have almost blown that audition for me unintentionally. So wherever you are Papã, I still love you very much. And yes, I did end up getting the gig even after that incident!
So all during my youth, I became aware of many styles of music. Los Lobos was a local band unknown to most outside of East Los Angeles. Both my brothers knew them real well since they all went to Garfield High School at the same time. Joe played with David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas many times in high school and taught me a lot of what he had learned. And now they are a part of music history. I learned about Jarocho, Peruvian and who was John McLaughlin. I got the Mahavishnu Birds Of Fire at ten years old as well as my brother's Santana, Led Zeppelin and Classics IV LP's. Classical music became big with me with the works of Brahms and Beethoven. But I had no one to share that with at school because you would be called a sissy and gotten ridiculed quite badly. Schools in East L.A. didn't promote high society music unless you were in concert band. I was chosen to play in The Junior Philharmonic Of Los Angeles directed by Dr. Katz. I played Tuba and was quite good on the thing sometimes coined “the chick repellent”. When he found out I also played guitar, he asked me to play the Elvis Concerto on a 50's style guitar for a special concert. Brazilian music also hit me like a ton of bricks. One of the members of Los Huicholos (The Latin folk music band my brother had) Lee Cobin was from Brazil. From the age of 15 to 18 years I watched him play guitar and fell in love with that style. The types of chords used created dissonances while maintaining gorgeous melodies along with sultry and intoxicating lyrics about love, tragedy, lust, and mythology as in Luis Bonfa's Black Orpheus. I had one lesson with Duilo who played with the legendary Carmen Miranda for a few years. I feel very lucky to have had that kind of exposure. When people ask me what style I play I get a little annoyed because I want to answer I play good music That's the style I play! As you guessed it I'm on a mission to tour the stylistic world of music. To be a chameleon when I show up to play a style. Louis Armstrong once said: There's only two kinds of music, Good and Bad!”. And I chose GOOD!
In 1985 I studied at Mt San Antonio College where I received an AA in music. I studied with the famous jazz educator Ashley Alexander for two years. He was a great player and really cared about his students. In 1987 I studied at Cal State University Los Angeles and studied under great educators like Bob Curnow, David Buck, William Hill, John Sciavo who was in the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the time and saxophone great and jazz band director Jeff Bendedict.
In early 1994 I was fortunate to say the least by having the opportunity to study voice with opera coach/vocalist great Dr. Maurice Allard. He was the conductor for the Orange County Master Chorale at that time. Before that, he has been a premier instructor at Julliard and the French Conservatory. At first I did group lessons and soon after he invited me to study with him privately. All those years of studying voice in college and when I learned from him it all clicked!! I studied with him for almost a year. He passed away in 1995.God rest his soul. He was the best teacher in my entire life hands down. I miss him very, very much.
After seeing him perform a show in which he played nylon flamenco guitar, steel string bluegrass guitar and played the stand-up bass in the same show, what else can one say? An amazing musician! Bliss- Pasadena Weekly
Sierra Madre, CA
Willing to teach:
I love teaching and performing music. I have been teaching and performing professionally for more than 20 years. I've received professional training from some of the best teachers in the business. I have an extensive background in music ranging from performing on tours with rock bands, singing musical theater and extensive work on guitar playing Latin, flamenco, rock and jazz and steel string acoustic work. Believe me when I tell you, "you'll be studying with one of the most well rounded teachers out there." I promise you a great time learning and getting you to your goal in the most effective way. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions. 626-833-0089 I have performed with The Ten Tenors from Australia, Jim Stubblefield of the group Incendio (Flamenco, Latin) and Luis Bonilla (New York jazz composer/trombonist with the Mingus Band, The Lincoln Center Orchestra and Marc Anthony). I also work at Mt San Antonio College (Walnut, Ca) as a part time faculty member in the Vocal Jazz dept. Performed and composed music in Los Angeles for TV and film. I work well with young students and work in education for Los Angeles Unified School Dist. I had the great honor of studying with late great Maurice Allard, my voice teacher for two years. Maurice Allard was the director of the Orange County Master Chorale and was a previous instructor at the French Conservatory and the world famous conservatory, "Julliard." To had studied with Maurice, you were invited once he heard you sing. I did group lessons with a band around that time and soon asked me to study privately with him for over a year. He taught me voice like no-one else has. And so can I. Mt San Antonio College A.A. Music 1988 Outstanding guitarist Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, Berkley Ca 1987-88 Cal State University Los Angeles Music 1991 Outstanding bassist Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, Berkley Ca 1991 Studied voice privately with Dr. Maurice Allard from 1993-95.