New Kid in Town

Santa Barbara's Anthony Prieto catches fire in LatinoLA

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: October 18, 2005

New Kid in Town

Once again, the Goddess of Ritmo and the caressing winds of Aztlan sing softly in my ear, soothing my soul with the magic that is Chicano music, bringing me a sense of pride and power that is not easily relinquished.

The unique quality of bilingual (English~Spanish) Rock & Roll, R & B, Soul, Disco, Tejano, Cumbia, Blues, Salsa, Boleros, Ballads, and Latin Jazz that epitomizes the Chicano de Aztlan flavor of music is increasingly emulated by some of the most talented artists in music today, regardless of ancestory.

My friends, there is no such thing as a musical, racially elite melody. Any melody can be transformed, added to, re-interpreted, juxtaposed with other influences, turbo-charged, or just mellowed out by the creative juices that flow in the veins of the type of artists known as singers and musicians, inspiring yet more melodies.

It's all different, and it's all good, and it all has the same purpose, no matter what part of the World it comes from...It is made to be heard, shared, and enjoyed by people, an artistic form of communication that crosses age, gender, generational, and racial boundries, that makes you move, makes you think, makes you dream...and brings you closer to fellow human beings.

I just happen to hold Chicano music closer to heart, being a life long resident of the Land of 1000 Dances and all that, tu sabes. I bear no malice to others outside of my realm, nor do I invite it from them.

Sometimes I just wanna dance to music as a celebration of life...and no other reason than that is good enough for me & my people!

That being said, it has been my luck and privilige to meet others on this planet that are on the same page, trip, and ride in life as I am. My world is constantly changing, but my appreciation of the art that is music, and those who create it stays constant as I cruise through musical corridors and boulevards of Aztlan.

In my travels, I have met some good people throughout Aztlan. I recently had the privilege of meeting a young man from the land of Pepe Marquez, Santa Barbara, Califas, that has me wondering why it took me a half century to start noticing this beautiful seaside village as a borough of Chicano Music...

...this young man is Mr. Anthony Prieto.

Born in Santa Paula, Califas, Anthony began singing as a teenager with the Victory Outreach Church Choir throughout California. Living a short time in East L.A.'s Silverlake area, Anthony had lost some family members to gang violence, and had joined the church as a way of reaching out and helping others avoid the pain & suffering he and his family had endured.

But something else tugged at Anthony's heart. "You know...it has always irked me that there is such a large Latino population in the Santa Barbara~ Carpinteria area, but the music that is available, promoted, and broadcast usually centers around the white oriented rock music," Anthony said. "It's not that I don't like it, or white people, don't get me wrong. I'm a people person. It's just that I would only see Latino music being promoted or performed at town Festivals, and then be forgotten again until the next Festival".

Inspired by such groups as East L.A.'s legendary TIERRA, and other artists like TAVARES, LUIS MIGUEL, LUTHOR VANDROSS, EARTH WIND and FIRE, the OJ's, and being in the proximity to catch performances by PEPE MARQUEZ & The FLASHBACKS, Anthony's taste of music was formed into a style he happily states can only be described on way:

C H I C A N O !

Taking bits of this, and bits of that, trying this, then trying that, Anthony formed a group that now boasts a 14-member strong assemblage of some of the best Chicano musicians in the Santa Barbara area. Along with an impressive 6 member Azteca dance troupe, with Anthony at lead vocals, this 20 member musical Army de Aztlan are ready to move.

"All our songs are original, Chicano music compositions. We play Rock & Roll, Latin Soul, Oldies style ballads, R & B, Hip~Hop, Funk, and Disco, with an occasional cover", Anthony says. "When we first started our musical quest in and around the Santa Barbara area, promoting 'CHICANO', we were looked upon as thugs and subversives...got some hostility as we set up for gigs," Anthony laughs, "but after we would do a complete set, people would come up to me and say 'Wow! We didn't know a Chicano group had so much versatility, you guys are GOOD!'...that insired us to keep on going. It was like a mission."

In the mid '90's, The Anthony Prieto Band caught the attention of Lighter Shade of Brown member "Chulo", who helped them get started on the idea of recording their first CD, "Cruisin'" which was released in 1999.

Then, in 2003, he got his first L.A. area break when Pablo "Tripp" Trevino of radio station KUCR FM~Riverside, invited him to perform at Riveride's annual Radio Aztlan Music Festival. The warm response of the crowd made Anthony realize he had finally made it to the mythical music land of Aztlan. "The people of Riverside made me feel so welcome, and I owe a debt of gratitude to Tripp Trevino and the staff of KUCR FM", Anthony says.

Earlier this year, I was invited to catch the Anthony Prieto Band in action at the Pasadena Rose Bowl's Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival by his Santa Barbara home~boy, singer Pepe Marquez. Along with L.A. music legends Steve Salas and Rocky Padilla, Anthony & Company "smoked" the crowd, drawing new admirers and fans, yours truly included.

Since then, I have caught his performances at such venues as The Chumash Casino, BB KING's in Universal City, and most recently at the Rumba Room in the Universal Citywalk, where he shared the stage with the likes of Rudy Salas and TIERRA. Music promoter Steven Chavez was seen enjoying the show with friends that night, and I had to ask him what he thought. "TIERRA's always a great show, and this new kid Anthony Prieto sounds pretty good too! He's in the League!" Steven now adds Anthony's CD's to his ever growing collection.(...and he doesn't buy just anything, either.)

I had the privilege of meeting Anthony's most ardent and loyal fan & supporter, his lovely Lady Laura. "L.A. can be so intimidating for newcomers, and I had my reservations," Laura laughs, " But Anthony's talent, integrity, honesty, and let's face it, his good looks, have brought him so far in such a short time. I'm really proud of him. He really fits in here in L.A. now." The many new appreciate fans in L.A. couldn't agree with you more, Laura!

Anthony has also been featured on my "2nd Time Around" Internet radio show, as well as Texas' Internet "Chicano Express Radio Show" with Crazy Chuy Hernandez.

His 2 CD's "Anthony Prieto~Cruisin'" and "Life, Love, and Desire, are some beautiful compositions, all original cuts, all masterfully performed with an excellent band. I highly encourage lovers of Chicano music to pick these up. You won't be disappointed, I assure you!

And so...as is our privilege to new Chicano talent, LatinoLA welcomes Mr. Anthony Prieto to the City of Angels, in the Land of 1000 Dances, Califas, Aztlan.

Make it good, and make it last forever Canalito! Si se puede!

note: For more info on Anthony Prieto, go to: www.anthonyprieto.com

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

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