An Interview with La Onda Tejana Icon: Johnny Hernandez

Audio: El Beto-Man talks with singer, song writer, and author of a new autobiography

By Steven Chavez/Robert Tijerina
Published on LatinoLA: September 12, 2016

An Interview with La Onda Tejana Icon: Johnny Hernandez

Q-Vo and welcome to Chicano Highlights with Roberto "El Beto-man" Tijerina here on the East LA Revue Internet Radio. On this segment we are interviewing a very interesting music composer, song-writer, and lead vocalist, JOHNNY HERNANDEZ.

They discuss Johnny's adolescent years as he worked in the cotton fields deep in-the-heart of Texas; his musical career with his brothers in the iconic "Latinaires" and "La Familia" La Onda/Tex-Mex groups; his involvement in the political scene; and his struggles and triumphs as a solo artist. We have been to many of his live performances and can personally testify that his songs/vocals are entertainingly strong and worth every second of your time.

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They start this interview with information about his parents and their eventual migration from different parts Mexico to Temple, Texas. They talk about his 13 siblings, and some of the events that occurred during Johnny's adolescence and his personal experiences in dealing with the racism, hardships, and discrimination in that area. This story is compelling and give us a personal look into the world that Johnny came from, as depicted in his new autobiography a "THE COTTON PICKER, an ODYSSEY".

In 1962, while he worked for a bridge-building company, his brother Jesse Hernandez drafted him into his older brother's band "Little Joe and the Latinaires". We get a personal insight into the beginnings of La Onda Tejana Musica and the first recordings by Johnny, Jimmy, Rocky; Jessie, and Joe Hernandez and the Latinaires. The band toured the USA.

In 1968-69, the band was performing on the West Coast (in the San Jose area) and were treated to a tour of the Height-Ashbury district to see all the hippies. During this time, the band decided to change the name of the band to "La Familia.
Beto-Man and Johnny talk about the reactions and responses of their regular fan-base to La Onda Tejana music. Also, the impact of the Beatles and the "Peace and Love" movement was very important in Johnny's life. Right about this time, "Las Nubes" was written, scored and recorded. Johnny talks about the friendships and meetings with Carlos Santana, Rick Stevens, Cesar Chavez, the Grateful Dead, and Cal Tjader. He also met with Lopez-Reyes Tijerina in New Mexico and addresses all that in his book. Johnny then recorded his signature song "Por Un Amor". Johnny stayed with Little Joe for 24 years, recording, traveling and performing . . . "no questions asked, ever".

This hour-long interview was just enough time to introduce JOHNNY HERNANDEZ' new book "The Cotton Picker, an Odyssey" to all who listen and/or read about it. This is an opportunity to get more information about his book which is available on and Kindle or go to Johnny Hernandez website

Thank you for stopping by "Chicano Highlights", with your host Robert "El Beto-man" Tijerina on Radio Aztlan KUCR 88.3 FM ( ). The interview was recorded and broadcast at the University of California, Riverside and podcasted on the East LA Revue ( internet radio for your convenience. This show was co-produced by Roberto Tijerina and Steven Chavez.

We thank you for your continued support and ask that you stop by again and check out the other features here on this music site.

About Steven Chavez/Robert Tijerina:
Steven Chavez: Owner/Operator of The East LA Revue Internet Radio; Robert Tijerina AKA "El Beto-man": Subscriber/Supporter of LatinoLA; United States Veteran
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