Amoeblog

Radio Sombra Debut & The Future of Internet Radio In East L.A.

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 20, 2011 11:50pm | Post a Comment
Last Thursday, I took part in the debut of Radiosombra.org, a new Internet radio station based out of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. My show was one of several that debuts that night as part of a new collective. Among the debuts were The Tao Of Funkahuatl hosted legendary Ruben Funkahuatl Guevara, Art & Grooves, an aptly titled show by art curator and deejay Reyes Rodriguez. Another show is Merkado Negro, hosted by Nico from Los Poets Del Norte and DJ Libre. their show concentrates on everything underground in the real Eastside from subversive art and music to community –building projects. My personal favorite is the brilliant Heart Break Radio, hosted by Lady Imix from Imix Books. Just like the title insinuates, it's a collection of songs to cry yourself to sleep.

Discos Immigrantes is the name of my show. It will focus on the migration of records and people, which in some cases are quite similar. In future shows, I will have interviews from folks who have either immigrated to the U.S. or who are the product of immigration (i.e. first generation Americans) The show will focus on their stories and music they have brought with them, whether in the physical form or in their memories.

Radio Sombra is the brainchild of Marco Amador, a musician and long time community activist, who set up the station and for the time being, is financing the operation. I spoke to him briefly on why he felt the need to start an Internet station in the heart of East L.A.

What made you start this station?


I felt although the technology to start an Internet radio has been around for some time now, it was not something common in our neighborhood. Sure, people have access to join other Internet radio stations around Los Angeles and that is good, but we wanted to create radio programming that is unique to our community. I feel that it is important to have our own space, our own voice. Our goal is that our station would be defined by the community its in.

What was behind picking the hosts for the debut?

All the hosts are people have spaces for creativity or create great art themselves. The hosts have created spaces such as Imix Books and Tropical De Nopal, events such Eclectica and CaminArte, or in the case of Ruben Guevara, have been creating music and movements for decades. It is important to introduce them to the community that may not know them. The best thing about Internet radio is that it is worldwide, in a sense; we are introducing some of the most creative minds of our community to the rest of the world. I want to give a voice to those who have been doing great things in the community for a while. 

As you mentioned earlier, there are many great avenues for people to have radio shows in Los Angeles. Dublab.Com has been strong for 10 years. Killradio.Org opens its doors to new programming on a regular basis. Even KPFK 90.7, allows some sort of community programming. Why not them instead of starting another radio station?

Our primary objective is to make it available to people in the community of East Los Angeles and not only offer them the chance to broadcast but a space to create as well. Yes, you can find other avenues but you can’t find it in East Los Angeles, and that’s a problem. Most community programs offered in East L.A. are geared towards children, which is great, but what about adults? What avenues are given to artists or the community organizers to express themselves? There needs to be something for them as well. A way to express themselves artistically as well as socially. Some of the other progressive stations have an all-talk format throughout the day, with a few music shows at night. We want to have a balance of both. On top of that, Internet radio is great for learning to link with other community through out the world. Our voices will be globally as well as locally.

What is next for Radio Sombra?

We will continue to build our programming; we also will be broadcasting live from Eastside Luv on November 30th. It will be musical performances by some special surprise guests & myself. It will also feature DJ sets from our Radio Sombra DJs. That will be from 8 pm to 2 am. PST

So What's New With You? The Shameless Self-Promotion of Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 10, 2011 11:33pm | Post a Comment
A few people have wondered why I don’t use the Amoeba Blog to promote myself, so here I go. I promise to return to World Music and Amoeba Hollywood on my next blog.

As a deejay I’ve had some great gigs recently. I have performed with the likes of Celso Piña, Very Be Careful, B-Side Players and Buyepongo. Anda! A monthly retro- Cumbia/Salsa/Merengue party that DJ’s Juan Lennon, Gazooo, Mando Fever and I started three years ago is still going strong. Our Next Anda on May 7th will have DJ Nu-Mark as our guest. If you haven’t heard Nu-Mark’s latest mix, “Take Me With You” on the Mochilla label, you are in for a treat. It is a mixtape of Jurassic worldly proportions, to say the least.




I have a new residency at the Grand Star in Chinatown, joining the Intensified crew every second Saturday of the month. Intensified features great Reggae, Rocksteady and Latin sounds with The Lawless One and King Steady Beat. I am very happy to be joining them. Speaking of King Steady Beat, we will be releasing an all-vinyl Cumbia mixtape as The Mucho Lucho Sound System. That will be released in May. Artist Lalo Alcaraz did the artwork for the CD. He is the creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip "La Cucaracha” and it’s an honor that his art will be on the CD.


On the radio side, I continue to be a part-time contributor to 90.7 KPFK’s Travel Tips For Aztlan (Saturdays from 10pm to 12am), although with the frequent weekend gigs I haven’t had much of a chance to contribute as of late. I did, however, get a chance to record my first set for Dublab, which you can download by going here. My set was a tribute to the Mas Exitos crew. I really miss them spinning every other Tuesday at the Verdugo. Many thanks to Frosty for letting me play on the Dublab spaceways. April 15th I will be doing a set on Kill Radio.org from 4-6pm on the show An Urban Manifesto. For more info, click here.



As a musician, I will be playing keys with the band Chicano Son on April 17th at East Side Luv. Due to the DJ gigs and the writing, I haven’t been playing much music of late, so this will be fun. I do plan to record over the next few weeks, so who knows what will transpire. 

Speaking of the writing, I continue to write for the Amoebblog. Los Angeles Me started as a blog about Los Angeles but I felt that there are many people that write about Los Angeles much better than I. L.A.M. now features reviews on new World Music releases and what World Music the people of Los Angeles are currently into. In the coming months I will be interviewing more World Music related artists and fans of the genre. I really love that so many people are starting to explore music from other countries that they never would have before. I also enjoy that immigrants and first generation Americans are rediscovering their roots through music.

So far 2011 has been good to me. I enjoy that at part of my income comes from writing and deejaying. I never expect to get paid for the things I love to do but I’m always pleasantly surprised when I do.

Upcoming Shows

Friday April 15th
Live DJ Set on An Urban Manifesto on Kill Radio.org
4pm-6pm PST
Listen in on www.killradio.org

Sunday April 17th
Chicano Son At Eastside Luv
1835 E. 1st Street
Boyle Heights, CA, 90033
9pm-1am
21&Over/Free

Saturday May 7th
Anda! W/ DJ Nu-Mark
Mal’s Bar
2331 S. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA
21 And

Joe Bataan Returns!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 13, 2008 01:12am | Post a Comment

Joe Bataan made a return to the to the L.A. area for a couple of shows this weekend. My friends and I drove down the 710 to the 91 to get to The Hop in Lakewood where Joe was to perform. Entering the venue, I got one of the most thorough pat downs from the security lady. The dress code was in full effect: no baseball caps, no t-shirts, no white tennis shoes, no jerseys. The message was clear: you can lean like a cholo, but you can't dress like one.

Truthfully, the performance was not as good as last year's show at The Montebello Inn but it was still a great time. The sound at the Hop was horrible and I felt the crappy sound affected Joe's performance. His set list was pretty much the same ("Ordinary Guy,"  "My Cloud,"  "I Wish You Love Parts 1 & 2") which kept all the homeys at the show content. A special bonus for me is that the audience was mostly from barrios of the South Bay (Gardena, Compton, San Pedro,Carson & Wilmington, for those who don't know) which is where I grew up. On top of that many of the Long Beach locals...or shall I say...locos, were in the house.

There were a lot people with tattoos of their children, more than I've seen in a while. Lots of of couples ass-grabbing during the slow jams as well as more women with the pencil thin eyebrows than you could shake a stick at. In short, I felt like I was home again. It was good to be back.

At the end, Joe thanked everyone for the years of support and headed to his merch booth to sign autographs. He said, "I'll sign anything you got. If you want to hang out or want me to come over your house to have some Menudo, I will. Just give me a ride! "

Can you imagine Thom Yorke or Kanye West saying that?

Yeah, I don't think so.

The Hand Lowers During "I Wish You Love Part 1"



More Couples Dancing



Getting Down and Violating The "No T-Shirts" Dress Code



Joe Says "Goodnight" and "Keep The Menudo Warm"

Los Lobos Live At The Santa Monica Pier 8/30

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 6, 2007 09:32am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Records sponsored the Concerts On The Pier in Santa Monica that happened every Thursday during the months of July & August. Included in the series were Patti Smith, Plena Libre, Arrested Development and Junior Murvin, just to name a few. The series ended last Thursday with East L.A. heroes Los Lobos. Many of us that work at Amoeba volunteered to work at the Amoeba Booth that was to the left of the stage. We sold CD’s and T-Shirts and gave away discount coupons and various Amoeba swag. It was a great way to get away from the heat of Hollywood and work outdoors in the cool ocean breeze. Plus, there was the music! Los Lobos is one of my favorite bands, dating back to 1983 when I first heard "…And a Time to Dance." That night Los Lobos played many of my favorites, including "La Pistola y la Corazon," "Saint Behind The Glass," "Mas Y Mas," "Cumbia de la Raza," "Don’t Worry, Baby" and a volley of cover tunes such as "Cinnamon Girl," "Let’s Go," "Volver, Volver" and of course, "La Bamba."

The influence Los Lobos had on me when I was a kid was phenomenal. Back then to hear a band play Mexican music and rock on the same album was foreign to me. The Latin Rock artists at the time sounded more like bands from England then from their own country and it was understandable. When Rock music was still rebellious in America, it was even more so everywhere else. Most bands that sounded like their Anglo counter parts did it because they were tired of their parent’s culture being forced on them. Why would they want to play Mariachi, Corridos or Baladas? That was their parents' music. In the eighties, to sound like The Police was rebellious and for the young Latin Rock bands it was their own culture. With Los Lobos, both rock music and Mexican music was their culture. It was the first time I realized you could like both and not feel embarrassed by the other.
 
Side note: Los Lobos went to #1 on the Billboard charts with their version of “La Bamba.” Can you name two other Chicano artists to score #1 hit singles?

Los Lobos have released many great records over the years. Kiko is the Chicano Pet Sounds for sure. La Pistola y la Corazon was an introduction to Son Jarocho music for many of us. Will The Wolf Survive?, Colossalhead & This Time were all solid albums. But it was The Latin Playboys side project that really did it for me. Both Latin Playboys albums consisted of home recordings made by Los Lobos members Louie Perez and David Hidalgo, who further manipulated it with musician/producers Tchad Blake and Mitchell Froom in a real studio. It is a mixture of Captain Beefheart Blues, Traditional Mexican music, and field recordings that created a soundtrack to East L.A. life. The Latin Playboys records are by far the most experimental releases by the Los Lobos crew and a classic in their own right. Just like “…And a Time to Dance” was influential to me as a kid, so were The Latin Playboys albums. They showed me that you could be experimental and still hold on to your culture. With Kiko & The Latin Playboys releases, The Lobos camp took career risks, especially after scoring a #1 hit single, creating art over commercial success. After the show as Los Lobos signed autographs at the Amoeba booth, I remembered I had that Latin Playboys CD in my car. I ran to my car and to get the cover. I had David & Louie sign the booklet. I think I may have to frame it now.

Overall it was a great night for me, and to top it off, the Amoeba crew got to ride on the roller coaster that’s on the pier for free. I have to say it’s the least scary rollercoaster I’ve ever been on, but it was much appreciated after working at the booth all night.

Ok, Here is the answer to the trivia: Freddy Fender (Baldemar Huerta) in 1975 with “Until The Next Teardrop Falls” and Linda Ronstadt with “You’re No Good,” also in 1975. Just bubbling under were Ritchie Valens’ “Donna,” which went to #2, Selena's “I Could Fall In Love” and Tierra’s “Together,” which both went to #12.