Pizza, Music & Dancing

The East L.A. Revue All Stars rock Covina

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: February 13, 2004

Pizza, Music & Dancing

Once again, I am privileged to catch Mi Gente in musical action, as my journey through Aztlan continues in my endeavor to seek out the pockets of Chicanismo and that older, good looking Chicano crowd, proving that music is truly a fountain of youth that is worthy of drinking deep from. It is my hope & dream that, if nothing else, music & dancing unites us in a common bond of love, respect and good times. Orale!

Once again, I report to you with happy sore feet and a lingering smile!

This week's fortunate venture takes me to Covina, California, in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, to a small & obscure location known as JR's Italian Food & Sportsbar, a popular hang out for the local Gente. Much to the delight of the Gente, the increasingly popular East L.A. Revue All Star Band put on a free show, as a prelude to their big show coming up on February 15th at the Montebello Inn.

More on that later!

It has been my distinct pleasure to have become good friends with manager/producer Steven Chavez and his lovely wife Janie, a couple who began an endeavor such as myself, with a personal mission to "Bring it back and keep it alive," when hitherto, nobody else would. The ever growing popularity of the band, as well as my Internet radio show , is testament that our efforts, motivated by our love of music and our people, have not been in vain.

Together, we have proven that Chicano music, like fine wine and Brown women, only get better with time!

The East L.A. Revue All Stars, a talented group of veteran performers whose credits read like a virtual "who's who" of early Chicano Rock n Roll bands and the renown "East Side Sound", bring forth a familiar sound that can't be ignored, and are enhanced by the talents of a beautiful newcomer, lead singer Maria Conchita Sandoval, who has proven to be adept at singing the old songs with verve and Chicana style.

The band is made up of : Art Hernandez- lead guitarist, band leader, musical arranger (The In Crowd); Anthony Carroll- Bass guitar (The Jaguars); Rene Flores - Drums (Sly, Slick & the Wicked); Jimmy Meza - Rythym guitarist (The Atlantics)
Ray Ybarra - Congas (Touch); George Gutierrez - 1st Saxophone (The In Crowd); Albert Barron - 2nd saxophone (Thee Counts); Robert Garcia - Trumpet (The Vicounts); and Dan Tresse - Keyboards (The In Crowd).

As usual, the All Stars got the crowd loud and dancing right away. If you've ever been to JR's, which attracts a family oriented crowd, it's really not a place designed for dancing, and I don't think that was the initial intention of the proprietors when they invited the band to play for the evening's entertainment. But then, The East L.A. Revue All Stars are known to make things happen....

During the first 2 songs, two beautiful young Chicanitas, maybe 7 or 8 years old, happily displayed the exhuberance of childhood innocence and a sense of well being by dancing in the middle of floor without any inhibitions, much to the smiling approval of the crowd of 150 or so. Picking up on the mood of the crowd, all it took was for singer Maria Sandoval to suggest "... we could clear a little space here for you people who feel like dancing..." and IT WAS ON!!! After moving some of the tables & chairs back a bit, a pretty good sized dance floor evolved, and we all got in on it!

As she sometimes does whenever she spots me in the crowd, Maria dedicated her signature song "You'll Lose A Good Thing" to me, in reference to the fact that I was priviliged to be the first radio program in L.A. to play it, and it was requested for six weeks in a row after that, and she knows I'm one of her biggest fans! Thanks, Hermana, I always appreciate that!

One of the highlights of the night came when Guitarist Mickey Lespron, of El Chicano fame, was spotted in the crowd and asked to come up on stage for a couple of numbers during the 2nd set, much to loud approval of the enthusiastic & now standing room only crowd. With the multi-talented All Stars easily accomodating, Mickey put on a dazzling guest performance, which drew an impromptu standing ovation from the appreciative Gente. Feeling the warmth and welcome of the Gente, Mickey stuck around and partied, and I bumped into him a couple of times on the dance floor.

The crowd at JR's, which usually ebbs in & out as families drop in for a bite & leave, stayed the whole night, which prompted the All Stars to perform a 3rd set (1st time I've seen that) and more dancing. To my surprise, when I finally got the urge to check out the food at JR's, the proprietors happily announced that the kitchen was closed because they had run out of food! (1st time THEY'VE seen that!).

That's right, when it comes to the Gente and good times....we don't mess around!

Ahhhhh...as I rest my dogs (aka feet to you non-dancers), I happily close this story with another spot on the Frankie Firme radar for Mi Gente to go for good times, great food (at least that's what I surmise!), and a cool crowd.

I continue my musical odyssy through Aztlan, seeking out that classy, older Chicano crowd that hasn't lost a step, and the music & places they exist, connecting us all with a common love of carnalismo, music & dancing. The full report which you'll only find here on LatinoLA.com....

...stay tuned, Mi gente....who knows where Frankie Firme will show up next?

Note: The East L.A. Revue All Star Band will be performing live, along with SOTO,
SANGRIA, Rocky Padilla and Cory Silva at The Montebello Inn for the 3rd Annual
President's Day Jam on Sunday, February 15th (no work the next day!), hosted by
Frankie Firme. For more info, log onto: http://www.SotoEntertainmentGroup.com or call - Mr. Steven Chavez (909) 897-7705

About Frankie Firme:
When not looking for a place to party or working a job in the real world, Frankie Firme spins the finest Chicano style Oldies but Goodies on the world wide web every Thursday at 6:00 PM, only on www.kclafm.com
website: www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

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