Sunday, December 20, 2009

Looking forward to 2010

The Resonators will put 2009 to bed with a couple of private parties coming up. Traditionally we perform in public at New Year's Eve, but this year we will be playing for a wedding party, so come catch us next at Padre's in Marfa on February 20th.

Looking back over this past year, a few notable things come to mind. First, in spite of a really tough economy, we managed to keep playing fairly steadily. That's saying something because when so many national institutions were on the brink, somehow many people felt it was still important enough to have live music. Second, we successfully played a high school prom, which was a pleasant surprise. I guess between playing a good show and having Manolo DJ the rest was just the right combination. And finally, we welcomed Alfredo Santana to the band as our new bassist. Alfredo is the kind of musician that any band would welcome: great player, terrific singer, and a real good guy.

So how will 2010 distinguish itself? Let me make a few predictions:
  • The band will have its best year ever (to date). We'll all be a year older and wiser-- emphasis on the wiser part.
  • Our song list will have several new additions.
  • A recording.
  • Our territory will expand to a 250 mile radius (Midland/Odessa, El Paso , southern New Mexico, and Chihuahua).
It's so easy to be a self-promoter and forecast a rosy scenario, but the way things are going, we will have no problem making this all a reality. The mood within the band is that we want to challenge ourselves and always look for ways to grow. Essentially, it boils down to desire, and you, the listener, will be the judge if this is merely hype, or if 2010 really will be something special.

Have a happy holiday and a great new year!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Resonators at Padre's in 2010

Although it may still be a couple of months away, we are excited to tell everyone that we will make our first appearance at Padre's in Marfa, Texas on February 20, 2010. Padre's is an establishment that books live music, and you can grab a bite to eat while you're there, too. Venues like Padre's and Railroad Blues are, without a doubt, THE places in far West Texas to showcase what you can do as a band. For our fans who will be joining us at Padre's, plan on partying 'til you drop. This could be one of our best shows ever. Thanks very much to David Beebe for giving us the opportunity to play at Padre's.

The Resonators will be practicing on Taro's back patio on Sunday at 1:00-3:00 PM, so stop by!

Nos vemos! Everyone take care!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving came and went here in Presidio, Texas. "Thankfully" everything has been real quiet and relaxing. I did loan a fellow musician from Chihuahua some sound equipment so that he could entertain diners at Las Palapas de Aldama, an incredible seafood restaurant here in town. Yesterday I also attended a quinceanera mass in Ojinaga and really enjoyed hearing the choir sing. There are at least two members of the choir who perform in Acuario 90, so the singing was inspiring. Then later we went to the quinceanera and heard Quinta Banda (5ta Banda), a tambora group from Chihuahua. They played well, although I can only take that type of music in smaller doses.

I have a personal blog I started a while back called My Presidio, Texas Dreamworld. It's sometimes my take on things Presidio, and at others, just some rambling thoughts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Behind the scenes

It seems like the music scene here in Presidio/OJ is feeling the effects of the economic downturn, with nary a paying gig in November. Not even our buds from Revane are playing, and they're just a duo (read "cheap"). But certainly not to worry because we are using the time to augment and polish our repertoire. We have a couple of pretty important private parties coming up in December, and we want everyone to leave at the end with their socks blown off. Once the Resonators come up for air in a public venue, you're going to be impressed.

For the fans of old school Tejano, how about a few covers of Augustin Ramirez or Sunny Ozuna? For the "quince" age group we'll be rolling out some material that may permanently alter the image of the band unlike anything we've done before. We're talking the next chapter of the band's story! All in all, we're really excited about seeing everyone again, and the music will definitely do a better job of speaking for itself than I could ever write here.

As far as the "behind the scenes" title of this posting is concerned, I wanted to share a few details of how the band gets to the point where it's ready to put on a show:

  • Rehearsals: Alternate between Taro's back yard in OJ and John and Lucy's "music room" at their house in Presidio.
  • Equipment: Owned mainly by the John. Expensive! One decent mic cable will run about $25. We normally need around 20 mic cables or more for a show. You do the math...
  • Equipment truck: Owned by John. A 1995 GMC box truck bought off eBay from a guy in Colorado Springs, CO. An excellent vehicle, other than a bad radio and slips out of reverse all the time.
  • Musical arrangements: Mostly done by John using a vintage Scorewriter program. Taro also has several great arrangements he's done for the band.
  • Number of drummers so far: 6
  • Webmaster: John's dad, John.
  • Band motto: We're lucky enough to have this cool band out in the middle of nowhere, so let's go make some people happy through music.
Take care and thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sabados En El Parque (Saturdays in The Park)

The outdoor concert season in Presidio/Ojinaga comes to a close this year on October 31st as The Resonators perform at the final "Sabados En El Parque" in downtown OJ. The plan is: 1) Take the kids trick-or-treating, 2) Stay in costume, and 3) Get thyself to Ojinaga and party hearty with Los Resonadores! The crowds at these events are always good, plus they love free entertainment.

For those of you who are really into "Saturday In The Park", guess what? Chicago is in concert in Chihuas (Chihuahua City) on Saturday, October 17th and it's free! I just might have to get myself a room at the San Francisco, seek out a groovy dinner, then go soak up a legendary band. The concert is at El Palomar, which is walking distance from downtown.

Nos vemos!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

An American neither here nor there

One of the most distinct qualities of a Resonators performance set list is that it is ever-changing. Because the group is diverse, and playing in settings ranging from wedding parties, to community celebrations, to high school proms, we never even come close to settling in on a collection of songs that are repeated in a specific order. I sometimes wish we would come up with a set list that doesn't change much, but it would not serve us well at all. There's nothing quite like a gig that includes "Summertime", "500 Novillos", and "Pride and Joy". Or a set list minus any Spanish music at all (Remember that we are on the border!).

Considering this, deciding on what kind of new material to bring aboard is not to be taken lightly. For a white boy raised in the DFW Metroplex in the 70's and 80's, I think I do respectably when it comes to a relative command of musical literature that works for a dance band straddling both sides of the border. If you were wondering what I mean, start with the American side of our repertoire: classic rock, rock-n-roll oldies, soul and R&B, country, and some easy listening for the digestive process. Now let's take a look at the Spanish language side: cumbia, Tejano, nortena, bolero, cha-cha-cha, mambo, and danzon. If you were to ask me three years ago about some of the Spanish music, I wouldn't have been of much help. Fortunately, when the band evolved into a 50/50 mix of ethnicities, the musical floodgates opened up. I think--no, I know--that this revelation of new musical styles has gone both ways in the band.

So now The Resonators have this treasure trove of music from which to select. Pick your decade, starting in about the 1940's and move forward. If the requested song falls within that time frame, it may very well be something we should consider knowing. Other than a few genres that would obviously not work too well for us (speed metal, hard core rap, etc.), we're game for giving most music a try, if that is what the audience is asking for. This very specific aspect of flexibility is what makes The Resonators a sought-after band in west Texas.

Strangely enough, my favorite music that The Resonators perform is Latin. Give me salsa, cumbias, and mambos any day of the week. Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that the trumpet figures prominently in all three of these genres... Now if I could just retool my vocabulary in order that I could proficiently compose lyrics in Spanish!

Most of us that once-upon-a-time played in the school band, and even fewer who continued on in college pretty much are relegated to playing in the local community band, jazz ensemble, or church orchestra as mature adults. A very elite few made it as a career performing. I feel very fortunate that I get to play like I do. It's not a full-time, lucrative type of performing, but it is a lot of fun. If I weren't playing those cumbias and mambos, I doubt I'd be playing in a group at all. All things considered, living out in the middle of nowhere, I play quite a bit, and I'm pretty sure the demand for our music will just go up.

Here are some tunes making their way through the works and may be heard soon:
  • Lo Que Yo Tengo
  • El Cafetal/Machaca
  • Let's Stay Together
Speaking of, come see us on the following dates:
  • October 10th, Free Street Dance in downtown Presidio
  • October 31, Sabados en el Parque, Ojinaga

Monday, September 21, 2009

And after the mariachis finished...

Well I'm not saying that our Mariachi Santa Cruz is bad luck or anything, but we've had a couple of "what happened next" experiences right after mariachi performances recently that might make you wonder...

It all began at the Marfa Lights Festival on September 6th. Mariachi Santa Cruz played a one-hour set as part of a scheduled four-hour engagement we had to close the festival. The crowd was great, the setting perfect, but with just a few grey clouds rolling in... Hmm, was that a raindrop I just..yep, it sure was. Uh-oh there's some more. And as we played the final note of the final cancion, the heavens opened up with a rousing downpour.

Thirty drenched minutes later the skies cleared and the glorious sun came back out. Unfortunately the sound people felt it was unsafe to "turn the juice back on," and the day came to a premature end. The good news is that we rescheduled that gig for Sunday, September 27th, this time at Vizcaino Park (Marfa). It's free and the time is friendly to the whole family: 5:00-8:00 PM.

Okay, so we played another mariachi gig on "lucky" September 13th in Presidio, along with the La Rondalla de CeTIS 98 (Ojinaga), Ballet Folklorico de UACH (Chihuahua), and some other very terrific musicians from Chihuahua. It was the "Grito de Independencia"--Presidio-style-- held in the parking lot of a defunct grocery store. Mexican Consul Hector Raul Acosta organized the event and did his customary GREAT JOB. A wonderful evening in the old town of Presidio.

A few days later--on Thursday the 17th--we had yet another mariachi gig near Marathon, this time with several students from Presidio High. Once again, the setting was unmatched and with very gracious hosts. The gig went quite well, but rather late. Nevertheless, we arrived safely back in Presidio at 2:30 AM. It was a long day, but a good one.

After crawling in the sack, not more than an hour into La La Land, my tummy-tum-tum awakened me. Living on la frontera, this is not unusual because we eat food on both sides of the border. Sometimes it's spicy, maybe a tad greasy, or who knows why? Anyway, so I have a humdinger of a stomach ache, only this time my side hurts. Oh no, not my kidney! (Family history.) Long story, short: yeah, it was. Miraculously, by Sunday afternoon it was all over. Three little stones kind of doing the "Fantastic Voyage" through "that" part of my body. No fun, but thank goodness it wasn't any worse.

Hey but if this is the worst of my luck, then I'm not doing too bad at all.

Come see us this Sunday, September 27, in Marfa!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tour 2009: Ft. Stockton and Pecos

That motley bunch of border musicians from the Texas Big Bend and Ojinaga--you know them as The Resonators--just wrapped up their 2009 tour with rave reviews. With an early Friday morning departure on August 14th, the band blazed a musical trail across the expansive Trans-Pecos region of Texas, logging 410 miles, crossing numerous county lines, and bringing economic development to countless eateries, Wal-Marts, and budget hotels. When the group finally rolled back home, we--in our own individual ways--basked in the glow of two triumphant gigs in two days. Wow! I guess it's time to get on eBay and see if there are any tour buses (in the $1000-2000 range) on sale to meet our incredible travel needs which most surely will follow...

Well, actually the two gigs were very cool, and hopefully we'll be playing out and about more often. We played the 2009 Roadrunner Biker Rally in Ft. Stockton on Friday--a first for us. The outdoor venue was excellent, the weather, perfect, and the folks attending lots of fun to play for. Great success! We're hoping to play again next year. Thanks to Joe Schuster and Manny Rodriguez for having us play.

The the tour continued to its final leg in Pecos. One word: PARTY! The band was on and the wedding party was eager to have a great time Saturday night. After all was said and done, it was one more reason to be grateful that we do what we do. We discovered a great restaurant called "El Rodeo" the next morning. Mmm-mmm good! A great time in Pecos.

Tomorrow it's back to school, at least for teachers. Looking forward to working with Lucy, Taro, Julia and Juanito keeping the music alive and well in Presidio.

Monday, August 03, 2009

2009 so far

2009 has been an interesting year for the band thus far. Most importantly, we have had a pretty good run of gigs. We have also had the usual rocky moments a lot of groups go through, but we survived them and are probably stronger for it. One interesting note that has probably been most surprising is how we have continued to line up playing opportunities in spite of the shaky economy. I don't know what exactly to attribute this to, but I'm thankful we still play as much as we do.

Playing at The Granada in Alpine during Fiesta del Sol was a treat. The facility is terrific, plus you get Mark Pollock to run sound. Then we played for the Presidio July 4th. Other than a power glitch midway through the evening, it was a "blast" to entertain the locals. After a little time off, we played a very satisfying party for a nice bunch of folks in Marfa on August 1st. Next up is a motorcycle rally In Ft. Stockton on August 14th--a first for the band. Just like playing for the prom back in May, hopefully we'll have the right stuff. We're sure gonna try!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fiesta del Sol

A highlight of The Resonators' summer performance calendar is the upcoming Fiesta del Sol in Alpine. The gig will happen at the Granada starting at 8:00 PM, so we'll see you there! If you haven't seen a show at the Granada, it's one of the classiest performance venues around, plus it's smoke-free. Mark Pollock--music biz heavy-hitter extraordinaire--will run sound for us, so we'll be good to go.

Last Friday we played a great show at Railroad Blues. Leading up to the gig we had a ride snafu that was--at the time--pretty unnerving. In a nutshell, Taro, Chino, and Manolo went straight to Alpine, while Lucy, Marty, and I waited in Presidio for them. After two and a half hours passed, we guessed they had gone on their own, which they had. Planning to arrive at the Blues by 5:30, we finally rolled in at 8:00 PM. After hashing it all out, it was determined that the ride arrangements got lost in communication. All in all, I guess you could say it was a scary afteroon wondering what was going on, but it really did seam to get the adrenaline flowing for the show.

Saturday we played a party at La Cienega (Cibolo Crek Ranch). The gig, again, went very well, but not until we spent an hour trying to figure out which ranch gate we were supposed to use. Nothing like staring at a picturesque ranch (with camels!) and knowing you have a job to play, but wondering how everyone else got in, except us! Finally a ranch employee answered the phone and we figured everything out. Hurry up and wait, verse 2!

Once again, we sure hope to see you all this coming Saturday!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Summer in Presidio

School's over and we're a week into June. It's definitely summertime in Presidio.

The Presidio schools have their act together, offering summer school to students who need it, plus enrichment and work programs for any others who are interested. Outside of not having a city swimming pool (and that's a major deficiency!), kids shouldn't have many reasons to be bored. Thanks to Presidio Schools superintendent Dennis McEntire for spearheading these activities for our youth.

The community will celebrate July 4th with a free street dance and fireworks. The Resonators will play and the volunteer fire department will handle the fireworks. Everything will happen downtown, starting at sundown.

Other than that, gotta love that oven heat which is Presidio summertime! Actually the summer for us started around May 1st (and a few selected days in April). If you've never been to Presidio when it's hot, you should come visit. Presidio is one of those places known for being really hot. We don't sunbathe here. In fact we take cover under the closest rock and don't come out until around 7:00 PM. Now if you want to know what extreme heat feels like, go to Phoenix or Death Valley. Believe it or not, there are places that get even hotter than Presidio.

Our summers stretch easily until mid-September, with warm days lasting until late October. Usually the September 16th celebration in Mexico coincides with the beginning of cooler evenings.

Enjoy your summer wherever you are!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Some....

For those of you who may have read my previous post, The Resonators pulled it off at the high school prom recently. While not nearly as hip as Daddy Yankee, or with as dazzling a light show as Madonna, the music remained the key to our listeners' enjoyment--and enjoy, they did! Not bad for a bunch of middle-aged guys and a gal. Even though I've been involved in music for 37 years, I'm still learning news tricks in the music business. A couple of the tricks that are so obvious are effective lighting of the dance floor and budgeting for party favors (balloons, party hats, etc). With those two--and good music--you can't lose.

So here comes summer, and the band has no plans to languish in the dog days. We've got a few gigs set, plus probably a few more to be added soon. We're looking forward to the company of a young musician named Benjamin Vega. This kid's a real music lover. He plays Latin percussion, drums, and is an excellent singer. Hopefully we can put him to good use. In addition, we may see the return of Juanito Dominguez every now and then. And if that doesn't get you going, I'm in the process of growing our horn section into a quartet, by adding a second sax. My heart is beating faster just thinking about the possibilities!

Also over the summer, we hope to add material that will hopefully make our shows even better. We've had some requests to bring back some tunes Lucy sang once upon a time (Black Velvet, This Love, Game of Love, etc.), so we're going to try and work them back into the mix. In addition, Marty wants to do a few rock guitar tunes which we know you'll like. Then finally, we're working on some dance music that will always bring the house down, so we've got our hands full.

Take care and I hope to see you at our next show.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Presidio High School Prom: some thoughts

The next Resonators gig is one that most of our fans won't get to take in, but it's worth mentioning: a high school prom. Yes, we actually have the opportunity to do our thing in front of an audience (read: teenagers) that don't know a whole lot about us. Recently we played a quinceanera ( a sort of Mexican "sweet 16") that went very well, so I think that we have the material to keep the party-goers hoppin'. Often, though, when you're the "home-town" (fill in the blank), it's not nearly as cool as if you came from 200 miles away.

The Resonators have been around for over five years, now, and it's interesting to consider where we've been. The group basically began with musical inspiration coming mainly from Los Lobos and The Blazers. We started in a little tool shed at a rent house in Alpine. Soon thereafter we move rehearsals to another tool shed at another rent house, also in Alpine. The only difference was we added Lucy to the group, with accompanying material that had her on vocals. We slowly began to build a fan base, playing just about any gig we could.

We won a 2nd place at a "Battle of The Bands" in Odessa in 2004. The judges were really impressed, but they openly admitted they couldn't categorize our music. I guess when you play a set of Average White Band, Santana, and Pedro Fernandez, it might be a little tough to put your finger on it!

From 2004-2007 the band continued to emphasize a Latin rock sound, with as many cumbias and polkas thrown in as we could think of. At this time, we were mainly playing in Alpine, so our forays into dance halls wanting music heavy on cumbias, Tejano and country, were met with polite, but not real rave reviews.

In the spring of 2007, due to some changes in the band line-up, the band's direction also changed. Along with what we started with, we also really tried to bring in music for folks who were wanting some country. This, along with more emphasis on Mexican dance music seemed to be the right mix for the band. In the end, it was about pleasing our audience.

Along the road these past five years have been many highs and a few definite lows, but I'd like to think we're moving forward and giving folks a reason to want to hear us play. We've had opportunities to learn from some other great bands along the way, so we hope we can transform all this into something worth coming to see the next time we play for you.

Lets see what the kids say at the prom...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Alpine times 3

May 2nd will find The Resonators in Alpine at the annual 5 de Mayo Fest. We've played this festival several times, and it's a blast! Alpine is where we got our start once upon a time, and playing there is always a privilege and a pleasure. The band is really playing well lately, and just the thought of playing for the 5 de Mayo Fest will bring out our best. Immediately after the gig we'll metamorphose into Mariachi Santa Cruz for a great set of fun mariachi fare.

Hey, and whaddaya know? We're back at Railroad Blues on June 12th! The Blues is always the venue where we can play to our hearts' content, so it's awesome to have a date with Richard, RC, and the rest of the Blues family coming up soon.

As if that weren't enough, then we return to the stage at the Granada on June 20th as part of Fiesta del Sol. Mark Pollock was gracious enough to invite us to perform in this wonderful venue, so we shall not disappoint!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Local home-grown talent

Our local Presidio High School tuba phenom, Uriel Uranga, just made Texas All State Band for the third time. That would be like The Resonators playing for the President's inaugural ball! Uriel comes stright outta good ole Presidio and he has accomplished a feat that may never be repeated again in Presidio, ever. And what a nice kid! He's never had a problem with his head fitting through the door, plus he makes damn-good grades, too. Let's hope that he spreads the love at college next year. Felicidades, Uriel!

And while we're talking about the next generation, it's getting close to the time when Molly and Max will take the stage with The Resonators. Molly's got some pipes, while Max is scary creative. This won't be a novelty; 100% business.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wow, what a night we had in Presidio, Texas on New Year's Eve! It was The Resonators' fifth gig together to ring in a new year, but by far, the best. The Sta. Teresa Church Committee did a fantastic job selling out every seat in the hall, plus the headliners--Generacion X--rocked! The party finally ended a little after 2:00 AM, with everyone getting 2009 off to a really fun start.

The Resonators will play a private party in Alpine, Texas for one of our dearest fans on Valentine's Day. It will take place at the newly-renovated Granada Theatre, so it should be a terrific party at a really promising venue.

For further information on upcoming gigs, stay tuned!