February 20, 2004

MACUILXOCHITL: Five Flower”, the Aztec god of music and dance

Los Lonely Boys – it’s all about the music

San Angelo, Texas’ Los Lonely Boys presented themselves before a sold out audience at Winston’s in Ocean Beach on February 6th. From approximately 10:55 – 12:35 p.m. the band made the first stop on their latest tour a memorable one for the eclectic and multi-aged crowd playing songs primarily from their 2003 self-titled release on Or Music.

Los Lonely Boys are the three brothers Garza: Henry on guitar, Jojo on bass, and Ringo on drums. They are as proud of their lineage, race, and parents as much as many of today’s athletes are of themselves and their self-proclaimed importance… quite a remarkable feat considering the unbelievable selfishness, arrogance, and limited scope of perception of today’s celebrity world. Oddly enough, these three with enough talent to run circles around some of their sporting counterparts hold on to much more simple objectives. “We don’t want to be big stars… It’s all about getting the music out to the people,” says Ringo. 

The band members graciously made themselves available to La Prensa San Diego by inviting this writer on to their tour bus for an exclusive interview prior to an amazing live performance that evening.

This humble yet affable and charismatic trio of brothers has been making music together since they were small children. With a decade of professional experience and the influence of the likes of Richie Valens and Carlos Santana, Los Lonely Boys write, sing, and play an astoundingly seamless brand of music. Weaned on Tex-Mex, country, blues, and early rock and roll, these Boys augment those solid foundations with red-hot guitar playing, percolating rock and Latin rhythms, and a fascinatingly dynamic interplay all topped with luscious vocal harmonies featuring the singing of each of the three brothers.

Looking as if they’d just walked off the streets of a dusty west Texas town, the brothers Garza, all under the age of thirty, carried themselves like seasoned veterans and mature, respectful gentlemen. The playfulness and lighthearted interaction present both on and off stage obviously stems from a closeness and honest love for not only one another but for life itself. They are well aware of the talents with which they’ve been blessed and yet humble enough to laugh at their own situation often giggling like little boys surrounded by grandeur, “We’re still not used to all of this,” said JoJo as he pointed to the brand new tour bus’ rich wooden interior. “We still expect ‘the owner’ to come out from somewhere and tell us to start cleaning up or something…” he adds as his brothers laugh.

The live experience serves to not only enhance the group’s recorded work, but also exercise any doubts about the members’ ability to play and sing. Those in attendance remarked about how the band’s musicianship and tight transitions and breaks are much more impressive live than on their CD, an impressive observation considering the amazing talent and cohesiveness evident on that disc.

JoJo on bass is not a physical giant, but he is a true monster on his 6-stringed instrument. Appearing in a guayabera, his boyish good looks and slicked-back jet-black locks served to make him all the more of a spectacle to onlookers, whatever their interest.

Henry plays the guitar or perhaps the guitar play him. It is something difficult to discern watching man and instrument interacting and interlocking on stage. He rips leads to shreds nearly causing sparks to fly from his Fender Stratocaster and all the while emitting spirituality with his every move. Ringo on drums combines blues and Latin rhythms to create a smooth and still energetic and dynamic style on his 4-piece Fibes drum set.

Ask no less an authority than Willie Nelson, who has called Los Lonely Boys his favorite band and invited them to record this album at his own Pedernales studio. The brothers are very proud of this fact and yet, they speak in a manner about Wilson that also expresses their closeness to him in much more a family type fashion. “He’s a good friend, a mentor. He’s been through it all. Anything he says has substance and we know we can do nothing but learn from him,” says Henry. 

And so the band took San Diego by storm… perhaps not the entire city, not this time anyway. The boys understand the way in which things work in the music business. They’re being patient, but they do vow to make a return to larger venue next time around. As the group left the stage after their encore, they promised to sign CD’s for fans who were only too eager to wait for the group afterwards, but the truth was, anxious fans had been waiting for them outside since before they had arrived at the venue at 5:30 p.m.

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