Cruising to Cross Cultures
Ninja meets Lowrider on Internet radio
Like I've said many times before, music can cross any barrier caused by age, race, geography or culture.
Published on LatinoLA: July 22, 2004
Chicano music takes that concept to a higher level. This is what this tale is about.
So it was, on a recent sunny Southern Califas summer afternoon, that I was fortunate to have as a guest on my show Mr. Shin Myata of Tokyo, Japan.
For those of you who have not heard of Shin, he is the publisher of Japanese Lowrider Magazine, and founder of Barrio Gold Records of Japan. Coming all the way across the sea to intertwine Chicano & Japanese cultures via music, Mr. Myata became intrigued & impressed with the Chicano Lowriding culture and the music that represents an era almost forgotten many years ago. His idea of promoting the West Coast Chicano culture to Japanese youth has flourished well beyond his expectations.
Having first heard of Shin through Ruben Molina of Mictlan Publishing and Steven Chavez of the East L.A. Revue, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I received a phone call from Rampart Records legend Hector Gonzalez (who has made more than a significant musical contribution to my show & Chicano Oldies music world-wide) asking if I had time to meet with Shin, as he had heard of my show and was interested in meeting me.
Talk about rhapsody in Brown! I was in "the zone" all week prior to our meeting. I couldn't help but invite them to guest on my show, and they accepted without hesitation. Talk about a rush!
Arriving in the company of Hector and Steven Chavez, Shin seemed comfortable and at home in a Hollywood radio station. Meeting & bowing ceremoniously, Shin & I hit it off quickly, with his enthusiasm for Chicano Lowriding music setting the tone for the show.
Despite his limited English, Shin talked on the air about how he was mesmerized by Chicano Oldies & Rock n Roll years ago on his first visit to L.A., how he was lucky to meet & hook up with Hector Gonzalez, how lowriding & Chicano culture are happening in Japan, and how his dream to publish Chicano music has culminated in his founding of Barrio Gold Records in Japan. He graciously made a gift of his newest CD, a remastered recording of the legendary West Coast Chicano group, The Village Callers, which I happily played on the air. He also joked about how he wished he was a "Chicano vato" living in L.A., enjoying the music & the Gente on an everyday basis. (Some of us just don't know how good we got it! It's a brown thing, baby!) He also told me I have an internet audience in Japan.
As if this wasn't enough to make my week, Hector Gonzalez then graciously granted my request for an on-air interview, and gave some serious history to my lucky listeners on the development of the West Coast Chicano music industry. Having inherited Rampart/Gordo records from the late, great, Eddie Davis (the first major American record label to invest in a fledgling Chicano music industry in 1960), Hector also made me a gift of his new 4 volume "East Side Sound" CD set, which showcases some the earliest, rarest, hard to find Chicano Rock n Roll on the West Coast. He also spoke of his effort of love, his documentary film "The West Coast East Side Sound Story" (which I wrote about earlier this year), and his group Lava & The Hot Rocks. An accomplished man in his own right, I'm fortunate to say that we have become friends, and we agreed that keeping Chicano music alive will be a lifelong commitment for both of us.
To add icing to the cake, Steven Chavez, promoter & manager of The East L.A. Revue & Cannibal & The Headhunters, also consented to speak on the show, and he also gave up some history on Chicano Rock n Roll, as well as current concert information. Steven has bestowed upon me a lot of music that I play on my show, especially hard to find East L.A. Revue music from his personal collection. He has also become a good friend, with our common love of Chicano music & Chicanismo, both of us being Viet Nam vets, and coming out of East L.A. being a strong bond.
Am I in good company or what?
Ahhhh......what can I say? It's a Brown thing, baby. It's all good! I should hope other international ventures could turn out as well...beats having a war, and I'd rather dance & party than fight!
note: Hector Gonzalez & Shin Myata can be contacted through Steven Chavez at (909)897-7705 or email@example.com
When he's not out partying with international homies, Frankie Firme spins the finest Chicano Oldies but Goodies on the world wide web every week.