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A Valentine's Weekend Visit to Califas

Texas's Crazy Chuy Hernandez visits LatinoLA

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: February 14, 2005


A Valentine's Weekend Visit to Califas


Even though it rained in L.A. over the Valentine's week~end, the Gente brought out the sunshine, and the stars shined brightly, for the long awaited visit of Texas Internet Radio DJ Crazy Chuy Hernandez to the City of Angels, in the Land of 1000 Dances.

Landing at LAX on a soggy, early Friday morning, Chuy & his lovely wife Janie made the flight from Dallas, courtesy of the Gente de Califas, in good form.

After visiting with family in Somis, Califas, Chuy was driven down to L.A. where he & I finally met face to face. We both had a good laugh at our initial meeting, teasing each other about us both "expecting to meet an older vato". (See how music keeps you young?) After some brief formalities (i.e. meeting his wife Janie and brother Rex, sharing complaints about the weather & L.A. traffic, etc), it was off through Friday night downtown L.A. traffic for our first stop in Wilmington, where SATISFACTION was performing.

We arrived about 15 minutes before showtime, and members of the SATISFACTION band warmly welcomed Chuy & his wife as their guests, and we took some time for a photo op with the band and Cable/Internet TV personality Rick "Thee Mr." Duran of the "Thee Mr. Duran Show", who also videotaped an interview with Chuy & I for a future broadcast. Also on hand to meet & greet Chuy was LatinoLA's Abelardo De La Pena Jr., who was sponsoring this evening's show.

Never ones to disappoint, The SATISFACTION band then put on a great performance, quickly filling the dance floor and keeping it that way, as always.

Regretting the moment ever so much, our schedule had us leaving after SATISFACTION's first set and a good tamale dinner, in order to cross town and get the the San Gabriel Valley, where Rudy Salas & TIERRA had invited us to be their guests and catch their second set at the Puente Hills Hop.

As we arrived to the always packed, standing room only Hop, we were greeted by Rudy Salas himself, as he made Chuy, his wife & brother feel most welcome. By a stroke of luck (or was it good planning...?) Rudy's wife Joanna and drummer Arron Ballesteros's wife managed to find us some front row seats right on the dance floor, where Chuy & his wife could catch the show. Before beginning their set, Rudy & lead singer Billy Mondragon publicly welcomed Crazy Chuy to L.A. and the Gente responded warmly & loudly.

Then, TIERRA opened up with their trademark "Zoot Suit" entrance and put on a dazzling 45 minute set that had the crowd screaming for more.

After their much demanded encore, we met with members of TIERRA backstage for some more pics & video. Rudy Salas, bassist Steve Falomir, singer Billy Mondragon and drummer Aaron Ballesteros hung out with Chuy and I for awhile, treating us like familia. The guys in TIERRA have always been that way with me, and they had no hesitation in sharing love & carnalismo with Crazy Chuy, who felt most welcome.

Leaving the Hop around midnite, we made it back into downtown L.A. for an early breakfast before parting company for the night. Chuy had made the drive interesting as we chatted the miles away, discussing music & artists from both California & Texas, just like I knew we would.

Early Saturday afternoon, we hooked up in Norwalk , California, where Steven Chavez of the East L.A. Revue, Bruce Soto (leader of the group SOTO and founder of SOTO Entertainment Group), and Guy Zimmerman of the Norwalk Ramada had made luxury accomodations for me, Crazy Chuy & his wife, along with his brother Rex and his wife. Talk about puttin' on the Ritz!!...we had a luxury VIP suite, a reserved table up front, a gourmet dinner, champagne, and the following morning a menudo breakfast buffet feast! Legendary keyboardist (original member of TIERRA, now performing with SOTO) Joey Guerra and his Lady sat at our table for most of the evening. Singer Pepe Marquez from Santa Barbara made his way up through the crowd to say hello, as did Guy Zimmerman.

Although I was hosting & introducing the acts & entertainment at all 3 of the sold out ballrooms, I spent most of the evening with Chuy in the main ballroom. After opening the night's entertainment with the famed Mariachi Voz de America, I called Chuy up on stage with me, where he introduced the East L.A. Revue All Star Band to a loud & welcoming crowd. ( Later on he told me he was nervous & uneasy about coming up in front of such a large L.A. crowd, but you would have never known it!!)

As expected, The East L.A. Revue All Stars kicked it up & out with their legendary "East Side Sound", that had the dance floor shoulder to shoulder crowded with their first song. These guys & gals know how to work the crowd with the Oldies, the veteran pros that they are! I couldn't help it but get out there and boogaloo with the Gente!

Afterwards, announcing the reurn of RAYLEEN and guest star master percussionist John Soto, I had the privilige of introducing the stars of the night , SOTO, who put on a dazzling display of Disco, Rock, Funk, R & B, and lights, exciting the crowd to a frenzy. Then, as if this wasn't enough to trigger some mild cardiac arrest, singer Steve Salas (the original lead singer of TIERRA) came on stage and wowed them with his classic "Together" and other great tunes.

As the night ended, Chuy & I took some more flicks & video with The East L.A. Revue and members of SOTO, saying goodbye to everyone, and ending a most memorable week~end.

It was indeed a pleasure having Texas's premier DJ in L.A. , and we hope to have him back soon. He has also graciously invited me to Texas...and plans are in the works!!

It's a BROWN thing, baby!...did you have any doubts?

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme's website:
http://www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

Crazy Chuy Hernandez's website:
http://www.chicanoexpress.com




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