Give us the most rad achievement you got because of your music?
Back in college, I was really into hard-core instrumental jazz-rock fusion. I was able to hook up with like-minded players, and form some killer bands. Several times, we would play a “talent show” at our dorm. Most people had no idea what to make of us, but they could tell it was super intense music — so they kept giving us awards!
How would you define your rock and roll?
Guitar-driven Latin rock. It brings in a lot of the influences I’ve accumulated over the years, from the afore-mentioned jazz-rock fusion to traditional Latin to super accessible pop music. I have a wide variety of tastes.
What was an impactful concert you got to see that inspires you to keep rockin’ and rollin’ yourself?
Years ago I went to see the heavy metal band Dokken (I was and still am a fan). They were opening for Aerosmith; this was when Aerosmith was finding their way back from their long hiatus. Arrived so late that Dokken was on their last couple of songs. I didn’t really have any interest in Aerosmith, but didn’t want to hit the road again so soon, so decided I’d stay for a couple of songs. Wow — what a show! I recognized every tune, and the band just killed it! It’s obvious why they’ve been so successful.
Do you dare to compare yourself to other artists?
Yes and no. I certainly have been very influenced by other bands over the years, and I will still listen to some of my favorites if I get stuck, most often with arrangements. But I have always worked to get my own sound, and have been told that I do have a recognizable signature — especially on guitar.
Is there a positive way to keep competitive?
There’s nothing wrong with friendly competition — after all, it’s likely what spurred Paul McCartney and John Lennon to such heights in the Beatles. But I also believe in competition with yourself. Here’s a nice riff, some decent lyrics. Okay, how could they be better? What can you edit / delete / add to make the whole thing stronger?
Learning more about yourself comes with the territory of creating music. Has there been something that you had to face and wanted to change?
Back in school (ElHi), I was kind of a smart-assed little snot. It took me a while to learn that I didn’t ALWAYS have to shout out the answer even though I knew it. Learning to be more patient eventually made me into a much nicer person, I hope.
What do you think is the most special part of yourself that you never want to change?
My “obsessive” tendencies. My family calls it “focus,” but it’s very easy for me to get hyper-focused on things to the exclusion of everything else. What I’ve learned over the years is how to use it for positive purposes: like improving on the guitar, designing effective websites, and getting in really good shape. I’ll never be a jack-of-all-trades, but thankfully I’ve been able to master a few.
Demanding more of yourself is a given when in a deep dive of your art. But what do you do for your mental health to keep yourself engaged with more than just your art?
Working out 7 days a week is an enormous help. And chocolate doesn’t hurt, either!
Give us important dates, events and all the goodness you have coming up with your music!
Finally starting to gig again, after a very long dry spell — just like almost every other band. So we have four shows already booked, and likely more to come. You can see them in the Calendar portion of our band’s website.
What’s your NEXT chart topper?
Angelina has been getting a lot of plays lately (over 106,000 views on YouTube, to date). I’m really glad about this, as it comes the closest to reaching what I wanted to achieve with the album: a true melding of guitar-driven rock and salsa music.
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End of Interview