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 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
4pm-6pm PST
Listen in on

Sunday April 17th
Chicano Son At Eastside Luv
1835 E. 1st Street
Boyle Heights, CA, 90033

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

Two Great Shows On Wednesday, 10/20/10

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 18, 2010 09:18am | Post a Comment
The problem with living in a town as big as Los Angeles is sometimes you have too many choices. October 20th will be one of those days.

Celso Piña's monster hit, "Cumbia Sobre El Rio" was the best song that came out of the last decade, in my opinion. Its crossover appeal makes people of all ages dance their ass off when the track is played in a club or party. It’s the first song in recent memory that was championed by immigrant culture, gangsters and by hipster Latinos. It's also said that this song was key in influencing the whole Cumbia remix, mash-ups and Digital Cumbia culture of the last several years. Celso was already one of Mexico's biggest Cumbia artists when 2001’s Barrio Bravo was released. But with the help of Blanquito Man and Toy Selectah, they gave Cumbia a new twist, adding their Hip-Hop and Dancehall Reggae influences and making Celso Piña became a household name. Celso has released dozens of excellent Cumbia albums before and since Barrio Bravo, but that was his brightest moment.

Celso returns to L.A., along with Blanquito Man (formerly of King Chango), with dj sets from the Mas Exitos Crew.

Celso Piña-"Cumbia Sobre El Rio"

Also on Wednesday and just a few blocks away is the return of the Austin, Texas based Maneja Beto. Maneja Beto continues on a path that bands from Mexico no longer follow. Maneja incorporates traditional Mexican musical influences with their Anglo and Roc N' Español influences. They are part early Café Tacuba, part The Smiths and part Texas flavored Cumbia. They write great songs and play all assortments of electric and traditional Mexican instruments. A trip to L.A. for Maneja Beto is a rare thing these days, as one of the main songwriters, Alex Chavez, has become a college professor at Notre Dame. Maneja Beto will be rocking out at Mucho Wednesdays, located at La Cita. Also performing will be a new group called Chicano Son, a mixture of L.A. and Austin Texas Son Jarocho musicians with a different take on the classic traditional Mexican music.

Maneja Beto-"Los Cerros"

My advice? Park near La Cita. Walk to the Conga room or take the metro. After Celso Piña, head back over to La Cita and catch Maneja Beto!

Wednesday, October 20th

Celso Piña w/ Blanquito Man & The Mas Exitos Crew
800 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, California
(near Staples Center)

Maneja Beto at Mucho Wednesdays
Located at La Cita
336 S. Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Mas Exitos On The Move!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 19, 2010 11:33pm | Post a Comment

One of my favorite nights in Los Angeles for the last few years has been Mas Exitos. Every visit ensures that I will hear a gem that only a devoted digger would find or a lost classic that most wouldn’t think to drop. I dare you to find another pachanga that marries dirty Cumbias with East Los backyard freestyle jams, 60’s Mexican Beat, lost Chicano rockers and driving Boogaloos. My personal favorites jams are what the Mas Exitos crew, DJ Lengua, Ganas and Enorbito, call “paisadelic-psychedelic freak outs,” usually a single cut from a Regional Mexican LP that dipped into the psychedelic sounds of the time. You would never guess these nuggets would have come from guys that look like a wedding band from the 70’s, but it just goes to show you how important it is to dig!

Thursday, Mas Exitos will have their first night at a new location. Mas Exitos will now be a monthly at Footsie’s Bar in Highland Park. They have also moved from their Tuesday slot to a Thursday. Footsie’s also houses another great night in Rani D’s excellent Soul In The Park, which happens every other Wednesday. Between those two nights, you might as well camp out in the HP! They also get a pretty good selection of guest deejays that come through to drop some deep cuts. Guests in the past have included Cut Chemist, Quantic, Roger Mas, Tropicaza and countless others. If you haven't been in a while, come on down and dig the new scene. If you have never been, you are in for a treat.

Here are some gems I’ve heard the Mas Exitos crew drop. Some of them you can find in Amoeba Hollywood’s ever-growing LP sections.

Los Yorks- "El Psicodelico"

Cumbia En Moog-"Cumbia Del Sal"

Mellow Man Ace-"Mentirosa"

Perez Prado-"Mexico 70"

Banda Los Hijos De La Nina Luz-"Dejale Corre"

Los Angelenos - The Eastside Renaissance

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 9, 2009 09:18am | Post a Comment

When Los Angelenos - The Eastside Renaissance originally came out in 1983, I was not aware of all the Chicano bands that were popping up all over my back yard. Sure, I knew about the groups that came out in the seventies such as Tierra, El Chicano and Malo because oldies radio had been playing them for years. The only thing that I listened to at the time that was similar to The Eastside Renaissance was Los Lobos’ now classic …And A Time To Dance. Although groundbreaking in many ways, Los Lobos’ music was rooted in Traditional Mexican music and Americana. It was the kind of music that could be easily digested by the readers of Rolling Stone as being adventurous. However, to a fifteen-year getting into punk…not so much.

A few years later, thanks to the Alex Cox’ underground classic film Repo Man, a whole new world was opened to me. The soundtrack to Repo Man contained punk groups I dug at the time such as Fear, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and The Circle Jerks, not to mention Iggy Pop performing the theme song. However it was The Plugz on the soundtrack that really knocked me out. It was Punk En Español and it had a sound all of its own. The songs “El Clavo En La Cruz” and their Spanish version of "Secret Agent Man (Hombre Secreto)" made it in every mix tape that I made during those years. Most of my friends that were into punk rock at the time didn’t get my fascination with The Plugz. They could never understand how excited I was that there was this band that were Mexicanos that sang in both Spanish and English.

The Eastside Renaissance was released on the Rhino Records offshoot label Zyanya. It was a joint venture between Ruben Guevara and Rhino president Richard Foos. Ruben was the former lead singer of the band Ruben and the Jets, a soulful rock band out of East L.A. who took their name from the Frank Zappa album of the same name. Frank Zappa produced their debut album as well. Zyanya released History of Latino Rock - Eastside Sound, Vol. 1: 1956-1965 and aBest of Thee Midniters compilation, capturing the sound of East L.A.’s past. After the release of the two compilations, Ruben suggested to Richard that they should release an album of current East L.A. groups. Ruben got support from The Brat and The Plugz to add a few previous released tracks. The Odd Squad and Felix and the Katz were suggested to Ruben by other artists involved with the project and Ruben produced a few of the other groups as well, such as The Royal Gents, Los Perros, Califas, as well Ruben's own group, Con Safos. Not all the music was punk or new wave. The Royal Gents was a Latin Funk group out of Pomona. Los Perros were a folkloric group and the groups Mestizo and Califas were a fusion of Mexican folkloric, Salsa, Rock and R&B, much like groups like Quetzal and La Santa Cecilia are today.

The press for the compilation was more than the label expected. Eastside Renaissance got rave reviews from Village Voice, The Boston Phoenix and The L.A. Times. The three compilations that Zyanya released in 1983 were reminders to the rest of the world that there was more to Chicano music than just Ritchie Valens. The cover art also captures a time and place. It’s picture of a mural done by the artists Gronk and Willie Herron of ASCO fame, with old school gang graffiti lettering surrounding the photo, done by Ruben himself. There are pictures in the back of all the artists involved looking so young and fierce. Some I recognize as people that are still active in the scene today. Some of the people in the photos turned out to be crooks and some turned out to be mentors. As you can tell, it’s not just a record for me; it is a piece of history…East Los Angeles Chicano history.

For some reason, Eastside Renaissance always seemed to escape me. I could never find a copy. Eventually it became out of print. I looked everywhere for it. I even went as far as asking Ruben Guevara himself if he had any extras copies. (He didn’t.) Friends would always come up on the record, usually finding it at a discount store somewhere. Recently I heard the crew at Mas Exitos bust out the song “C/S” by Con Safos during one of their deejay sets, I spoke to one of the Mas Exitos deejays, Ganas, about how cool the song is and how I have been looking for that album for years. I think he told me Chico Sonido found it a few days before, misfiled in the Soul music section at Amoeba. Damn, right under my nose! I was crushed to say the least when he told me that.

There is a customer named Roberto that I have befriended since I started working at Amoeba. He is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Most people wouldn’t know it. He is an academic but does not play the role. He is very unassuming. Roberto is from El Salvador and with Los Angeles' ever-growing immigrant population, he blends in with the crowd. He is the type of person that you can talk to about art, politics, world events and especially music. I have to say I received a mini-education talking to him over the last five years. I try my best to enlighten him with new music, but he usually has me beat by years. One day I ran into him while having lunch. We sat for the duration of my lunch hour talking about East L.A. history and the music. One of the subjects we spoke about was our love for the Eastside Renaissance compilation. He knew the songs well and the history behind it. He had the album. I told him about my trials and tribulations of trying to get a copy. Then we talked about other East L.A. records. It was a cool conversation. After lunch we went our separate ways and I didn’t think much more of it.

A few weeks later Roberto came to the store. He told me that he came upon some great LPs, one of them being Los Angelenos and wanted to know if I would be interested in having it! For some reason, I thought he was talking about a prog rock group with a similar name. At first I told him no because I was a little out of it at the time, but he insisted that I check out the LP. On my break I went with him to the security desk, where he had his bag stored. He pulled out a sealed copy of Los Angelenos - The Eastside Renaissance. He told me that a woman sold him a bunch of records and the album was in the pile. He remembered that I really wanted the LP, so he came by the store and gave it to me. It was finally in my hands, thanks to this awesome person. I couldn’t stop thanking him.

Many people I know have given up on the record store concept. Certainly, most record labels have, choosing to release albums far in advance on download sites before offering it to retail…if at all. Blog sites will upload out of print albums for downloading for free. You can find The Eastside Renaissance on many blog sites. I’m not one of those purests that feels that it's any less of a find if you find a rare album on the internet versus digging through every record store in the country. Still, I can’t help that the people who download music miss out on the human interaction of digging. Just from trying to find this one album, I got history. Not just of the album, but the stories that came from each person that the Eastside Renaissance album has influenced. From the person who helped put it together to the deejays that are reintroducing it to a new audience to a man who grew up 2300 miles away from East Los Angeles who loved it as much as I and helped me find this classic East Los gem…and that’s something you’ll never get from any download site.

Zyanya is pronounced “Zaan-ya,” like you would pronounce “Fania,” and means “always” in Nahuatl.
The Plugz were from the South Bay…Wilmington, Ca, to be exact, and not from East L.A.,

In the Spirit Of Brendan Mullen

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 13, 2009 01:47am | Post a Comment

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the city I love, even though the name of this blog is called Los Angeles Me. Originally, I wanted to write about Los Angeles and the music and cultural scene of the city that you don’t hear about in most Los Angeles publications. Los Angeles has been my home for forty years now and I love it now as much as I ever have. I have been blessed to live and be a part of many communities, geographically and culturally. I’ve met some great people in L.A.; some are still here, some have moved to other cities and some have unfortunately passed on too soon.

The sudden passing of Brendan Mullen over the weekend has much of L.A.’s music community in shock. Brendan, who started The Masque in the late 70’s, was, as Paul Tollett of Goldenvoice said, "The first promoter of punk rock in this town, everything started with him." I couldn’t even begin to imagine a Los Angeles without bands such as X, The Germs, The Go-Go’s, The Weirdos and The Plugz, just to name a few that played at The Masque. The bands that played there influenced many others to not only play music, but to create art and expand their horizons. It could be said that Brendan wasn’t just valuable as far as helping music in Los Angeles grow, but that he helped the entire city grow as well. 

I met Brendan while performing at the L.A. Weekly Music Awards back in 2001. I remember he said some very complimentary things about the band I had at the time and how honored I was that he did. This was a man who not only championed the punk scene, but also all music that had the same rebellious spirit. He had a way of making you feel good about yourself, which is probably why he was such a great promoter of music.

So in the spirit of Brendan Mullen, I give you my humble suggestions of some shows to check out this week. The music ranges from Metal, brass bands, Latin Reggae, Cumbia, Afro-Beat to good old Rock and soul, but it all has that rebellious spirit that I hope someone like Brendan would have appreciated. R.I.P. Brendan, you will be missed by more than you will ever know.

TUESDAY 10.13 10PM

Mas Exitos w/ special guest deejay Tropicaza (Mex DF)

Tropicaza has a knack for pulling out the perfect jam like a magician pulls a rabbit out of hat. Expect the unexpected from one of Mexico’s best diggers. Rare Mexican 45’s all night with resident selectors
(and no slouches either):




Colombia to Africa, Brasil to the Balkans.

Rani D’s Wednesday night World soul sessions bring another stellar guest, the world renowned DJ Nu-Mark, formerly of Jurassic 5, playing cuts from Colombia to Africa, Brasil to the Balkans.

FREE / 21+ / 10pm-2am
Footsie's Bar
2640 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90065

THURSDAY 10.15 9pm


Help celebrate the birthday of a legend, not only of East L.A. music, but the entire world-- the one and only Ruben Guevara! As he said, you only turn 101 once! Ruben’s Rock & Soul punch has never been sweeter and with a crack band filled with great musicians [including a rhythm section of John Avila (Oingo Boingo) on the bass and Ramon Banda on the drums]. You can’t go wrong!

FREE / 21+ / 10pm-2am
Los Angeles (Boyle Heights), CA

FRIDAY 10.16 9pm

Funk Aid for Africa" CD release party + NextAid Benefit
Faeturing deejays ObaH (Dubspot/Giant Step/NYC) J-BOOGIE (OM Records/SF)
JEREMY SOLE (Afro Funké | KCRW | Musaics)  GLENN RED (Afro Funké)

Funk Aid for Africa will benefit Los Angeles-based humanitarian organization NextAid. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this compilation are going directly to charity. Funds will be going toward the construction of a “green” sports facility at a community center in Dennilton. The sports facility will be in addition to the 10 structures already completed in the eco-friendly center.
Dakota Live Music Lounge (formerly the Temple Bar)   
1026 Wilshire Blvd.   
Santa Monica, CA

SATURDAY 10.17 9pm

B-Side Players
(San Diego 2009 World Music Champs)
W/ Dj Sloepoke (Little Temple/Rhythm Lounge/Root Down)
The B-Side Players haven’t been to L.A. in a while and Sloepoke plays better when supporting them. Cumbia/Reggae at some of its finest.

The Mint   
6010 West Pico Blvd   
Los Angeles, CA

SUNDAY 10.18 8pm

Aztlan Underground, Geronimo and Kilsonic @ The Troubadour

This is the official record release party for Aztlan Underground. It’s been eight years since their last release, 2001’s Sub-Verses, and with the addition of Ignacio “Caxo” Lopez (drums) and Alonzo Beas (guitar, keyboard, synth) to the band, they have only become more intense over the years, giving new blood to a band that original members Yaotl and bassist/flutes Joe “Peps” have been doing for almost twenty years. Also on the bill is Geronimo, an insane journey through the forest of Swans, Goblin and The Locust. Kilsonic's sometimes twenty piece orchestra sounds like a trip to The Balkans via Sun Ra. See three of the best "out" bands in L.A. all in one night.

The Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd   
West Hollywood, CA

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