Ageless Music for the Ages a la Chicano

A subtle way of removing one's foot from one's mouth

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: October 25, 2006

Ageless Music for the Ages a la Chicano

In response to the many fan responses to my last couple of pieces that somehow were misconstrued as somehow starting a controversy between 2 great Chicano performers, please allow me to clarify and set the record straight.

Steve Salas and Pepe Marquez are 2 of Aztlan's most popular artists today. One has set a standard, one has proven able to keep it going.

Both are friends, and both are friends of mine. I've been priviliged to have them both on my show, I enjoy their music immensely, and have been priviliged to debut both their CDs on the World Wide radiowaves, and attend both their CD release parties.

Many fans of both came out and represented, and I felt complimented for both my friends that their music has such faithful followings. I never thought asking for a simple "vote" for my ratings would stir such a controversy, and I apologize if fans of one took umbrage in support of the other. For that I do thank you all.

I had a chance to speak with both artists, and some other friends in the music scene from around the Land of 1000 Dances. Here's the responses I got:

Steven Chavez~RAMPART RECORDS~ They're both dynamic and talented performers. I've been a Steve Salas fan for many years...and now I'm a big Pepe Marquez fan as well as friends with both of them...and that's all I'm saying.

Singer Cory Silva~ Damn, you're crazy, Frankie! Both these guys are talented, but I must say, in different leagues. I've had the pleasure of meeting Pepe and working with him, and I must say he is very talented gentleman, and I'm very impressed with the success he's had in the short time since coming to L.A. However, at the risk of sounding a little biased, Steve Salas is a personal friend of mine, as well as one of my role models that I have had the pleasure of doing shows with over the years. He has taught me so much, as well as other performers, and we have all benefited from his achievements as a Chicano entertainer. I mean, this guy went to Carnegie Hall, performed in Tokyo , Japan , has appeared on TV many times, and still packs houses wherever he goes. I wish Pepe the same success in the upcoming years, but we're talking diferent rooms here.

Chris Reserva~ the SATISFACTION Band ~ Wow! Interesting question! I have been impressed with Pepe Marquez ever since I met him. He has the talent, the heart, and the personality & stage presence to really go somewhere. I have enjoyed sharing a stage with him. Steve Salas, however, is probably one of the biggest inspirations to Chicano music coming out of L.A. , and has been for many years. Steve & his brother Rudy have set a standard for us all and I'm grateful. Pepe represents the next generation that will keep this standard alive. (I got your back if you catch hell for bringing this up.)

Crazy Chuy Hernandez ~ Internet Radio DJ ~ Been a Steve Salas & TIERRA fan for many years, and have recently become one of Pepe's as well. Seeing them perform together at BB King's during my last visit to L.A. was a dream come true. Pepe's sound is very dynamic and powerful, and he looks great up on stage. Steve Salas is more of a crooner, and of course the seasoned Veterano with lots of hits under his belt. They both have fans in Texas , and you're crazy if you think we'll vote one over the other!

Aaron Ballesteros ~ TIERRA, EL CHICANO, THEE MIDNITERS, APB~ Ha! You probably got yourself in hot water for this one, Frankie! Let me just say that I truly enjoy Pepe's talent & music, and he is one of the nicest guys in music today, with a bright tomorrow. However, Steve Salas is an icon, still puts on a great show after more than 30 years, and doesn't look like he's slowing down. Pepe's music is one for the ages but Steve's music is ageless. Both these guys are talented performers, and if you asked for my vote...I have to vote for APB! (I have great respect for both Steve & Pepe, and that's all you get out of me!) Thank goodness we got Frankie Firme!

Rudy Salas ~ TIERRA ~ I don't really like to compare artists and have them compete against each other, especially Chicano artists , because we all share the job of entertaining people, and that's not always easy. We're talking two different generations here, and you just can't compare them in all fairness. I have a deep respect for Pepe Marquez and his talent & abilities. I have a copy of his latest CD, and I do enjoy it. However, Steve is the Veterano here, and he's spent his time in the trenches, opening doors for a lot of new artists like Pepe. Not just because he's my brother, but I honestly admire Steve's talent and stage presence, and he's played a big part in making TIERRA what we are today. He was there with me when times were tough, and he deserves the success he enjoys today. (Damn, Frankie! I just patched things up with my brother, and now you're trying to get us both jumped!) I do wish Pepe Marquez the best, however, I'm not getting in the middle of this one!

Pepe Marquez ~ Damn, Frankie ! I'm honored that you would put me in the same category, but in all fairness, you're full of it! ( I say that respectfully!). To me, Steve Salas is "the Man", and one of my biggest inspirations and role models. He's a legend in Chicano music, and has my deepest respect. I 've had the honor of sharing a stage with him, and I've even tried to emulate him. He's also a cool guy to hang out with. He gets my vote!

Steve Salas ~ Wow! I didn't know there was a controversy, but I'm grateful to you and all the fans for bringing up a friendly one. After all these years, I still enjoy singing, performing, and making new friends, and Pepe Marquez is no exception. He's a talented guy, and fun to work with, and I have no doubt he's going to succeed, because he's worked hard at it. We've both got new CD's out, and they represent a lot of time & effort, and of course, reflect our love of music & performing. I hope everyone enjoys them both! Hell, I really like Pepe...he has my vote!

...and there you have it, Mi Gente! Check out this Thursday's show on www.kclafm.com

Steve Salas and Pepe Marquez are the featured artists.

~(whew!) Frankie Firme

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme is staying out of the cross hairs of loyal fans for the moment.
website: www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

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