Lost Treasure Found
Pepe Marquez & The Flashbacks arrives to the land of 1000 dances, in style
Coming at you from the heart of Aztlan, the music from the Land of 1000 Dances touches the soul of my people like nothing else you can eat, see, drink, feel, smoke, squeeze, kick, or even steal! ( I know that last one might sound a little decadent...but hey... WE ALL know that simple little buzz we feel when we get away with something cool, verdad? Ha! 'nuff said 'bout that!)
Published on LatinoLA: October 11, 2005
As usual, the City of Angels was kickin' it all the way live this week~end, with the fountain of youth that is Chicano music and dancing overflowing. The fabled seaside West Coast burg of Carpinteria, Califas, stepped up and welcomed the Gente de Aztlan to check them out tambien!
It's ALL Aztlan...and IT'S ALL good! Check this week-end out, Mi Gente:
Starting off the week-end on Thursday after my show, Rudy Moreno, Debi Gutierrez, and Geoff Brown rocked the Commerce Casino, in the City of Commerce, where "The Joker's Club" is making it's mark as one of the funnybone tickling spots of Aztlan every Thursday night.
Friday night, filling the casino lounge the way Rudy had the night before, SANGRIA took the stage for some hot boogie action, with special guest star, singer Pepe Marquez of Santa Barbara, Califas, who was called in for just the occassion. SANGRIA is one of Aztlan's hotter music acts, and Friday night, with Pepe Marquez joining them, they absolutely sizzled! (You know you got it when a heavy L.A. band imports you from Santa Barbara!) When home~boy Pepe hit his rendition of Tower of Power's "You're still a young man", EVERYBODY in the house was truly impressed the the "new guy in town".
Afterwards, SATISFACTION packed the house (as expected) for their demand return performance at the Norwalk Ramada Inn that same night, with Robert & Eileen Benavides & the guys showing the Gente what's up when it's time to get your boogie on in L.A.!( LatinoLA also received reports that they rocked the Grand Ballroom of the Queen Mary in Long Beach Saturday night.)
Saturday afternoon, my Lady & I found ourselves heading up the coast to Carpinteria for the annual Avocado Festival. At the gracious invitation of Mr. Pepe Marquez and his lovely Lady Yolie (and over 6,000 of their closest friends), we were privvy to be on hand for the farewell performance of Pepe's legendary group THE FLASHBACKS, who have rocked the Festival for the last 18 years. With special guest "Conga Ray" Ybarra of the East L.A. Revue Band joining them, the FLASHBACKS were in "da zone", playing their hearts out for the wonderful people of Carpinteria, who responded loudly with love, cheers, and dancing everywhere!
Later on that night, at a suprise party held for the band, we joined them for an ample serving of food, drink, and warm hospitality, as the good people of Carpinteria let us know how much they appreciate this great group, by welcoming my Lady & I into their generous fold as Pepe's friends, and heaping praise upon Pepe and the band members. (Who are also a great group of people, to be sure!). They welcomed and treated us as familia. Mil gracias!
The spirit of Aztlan is alive and well in Carpinteria, Califas!
Sunday evening, Pepe and his Lady accepted our invitation to join us at the annual San Fernando Menudo Festival, where none other than Rudy Salas and TIERRA put on a show of shows for the Gente of the San Fernando Valley. Showing their bi-lingual versatility and multi-genre showmanship, Rudy and the guys blew the crowd away (and temporarily drew them away from some of the best menudo and Mexican food on the planet) and had us all dancing the night away.
When he isn't singing, Pepe can dance his booty off, and we both had our ladies out there, groovin' to the legendary sounds of TIERRA. After their performance, Rudy and the band members welcomed Pepe backstage and warmly welcomed him to L.A. (...a future guest appearance with one of the great groups de Aztlan?...hmmmm...my fingers are crossed!...)
That night I got a call from my good friend, music promoter Steven Chavez of the East L.A. Revue, who was dancing HIS booty off with his Lady Janie at the other end of L.A., at the Puente Hills Hop in the City of Industry, as guests of Internet TV Star Richard "Thee Mr." Duran and his Lady Pat at the 'Hoptoberfest'. Hosted by Thee Mr. Duran, the show featured Hank Castro, SUAVE, KAOS, and SANGRIA. Steven and I exchanged envy at missing each other's experiences for the night, and he told me he ran into Robert Benavides of SATISFACTION, along with Micky Lespron and Ersi Arvisu of EL CHICANO fame, all gettin' their boogie on.
I mentioned to him that I was hanging with Pepe for the week~end, and he told me:
"You're lucky, homie! I've met Pepe, and he's such a talented singer and performer, not to mention a real nice guy with a good attitude. I've seen him perform, and I've also had the privilige of having him sing with my band, The EAST L.A. REVUE All STAR BAND. This guy is going somewhere! Myself and the band were very impressed with him, and called him up on stage out of the audience to join us for a couple of songs on at least two occassions. Pepe stepped right up and gave us his heart, singing and dancing like he had been rehearsing with us all week. That's talent, my friend! Not a lot of performers can do that as easily as Pepe does! (...a future spot on Steven Chavez's talent roster?...hmmm...now my other hand has fingers crossed!...)
Jose "Pepe" Marquez, a relatively new name in the L.A. music scene, has arrived in the Land of 1000 Dances with style, after many years of performing in and around the central California coastal section of Aztlan that is Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.
He has been a guest on my radio show, has performed at The Chumash Casino Theater, performed at my fundraiser last year along with The EAST L.A. REVUE ALL STAR BAND, SATISFACTION, GILBERT ESQUIVEL, The BLUES STRAIGHT UP BAND, and CORY SILVA at the Montebello Inn, has performed at BB KING's House of Blues in the Universal Citywalk with STEVE SALAS, ROCKY PADILLA, PETE PEREZ, and ANTHONY PRIETO, appeared on the Internet TV Show "Thee Mr. Duran show", and as earlier mentioned, has performed with SANGRIA at the Commerce Casino.
He was also LatinoLA's "Spotlight on the Brown" recently, after the release of his CD "Just for you", which is featured regularly on Crazy Chuy Hernandez's "Chicano Express Radio Show" (www.chicanoexpress.com ~ broadcast out of Texas), as well as my "2nd Time Around Show", and other Internet Radio Shows.
While a guest on my radio show, we spoke of the success of his "Just for you" CD, and I asked him about his new upcoming CD, which I assumed was his second, when Pepe told me "Actually, Frankie, this will be my third". (You know me...I had to have it!) While taking Pepe for a cruise around Hollywood after my show, we played it in my car.
"Wow!", I told him, "Where have you guys been? This is great! Why hasn't anybody played this in L.A. before?" I asked. Pepe just comfortably smiled, with the humility that he is so fondly known for, and simply said "...I don't know, man. It went over well in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria though". Recorded a couple years ago, I felt I had found a lost treasure that I just had to share with Aztlan.
Since then, brother Internet DJ Crazy Chuy Hernandez and I have broadcast the first FLASHBACKS CD on the World Wide Internet radio airwaves with good response.
Along with some excellent covers of well known dance tunes "Tighten up"(Archie Bell) and "What does it take to win your love" (Jr. Walker & The All Stars), this CD features 4 original tunes written by Pepe and the Band that will fit well into any music lover's collection. Along with the original version of "Come back" (Pepe's signature song), the Motown /Tower of Power influence is evident on "Getting down in the city", "Take a chance on love", and "Love my baby", (the last one becoming one of my favorites). The FLASHBACKS offer a great music backdrop to Pepe's excellent bi-lingual vocals, with a sassy horn section known as 'the Ghetto Blasters'. The FLASHBACKS can go from Disco to Rock & Roll to Tejano Tex-Mex to Cumbias to Salsa and back with rythm & soul.
So, what's next for Pepe Marquez? "Well, most of the band members are taking a well deserved break after 18 years and are pursuing personal business ventures." Pepe says, "They've been my family, my friends, my partners...and we had a lot of great times together, which I will never forget", he adds with a touch of sadness. " I wish them all well, and they wish me well as I come to L.A. to continue my music career. I love music, I love to sing, and I love to dance... Where better to take that love than the Land of 1000 Dances?".
...and with that, my friend, LatinoLA and the Gente de Aztlan welcome you to the City of Angels, in the Land of 1000 Dances, Southside Califas, Aztlan!
...may the music live forever, ese! Si se puede!
note: for more info on Pepe marquez, go to : www.pepemarquez.com
Frankie Firme's website: http://www.frankiefirme.50megs.com