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Monthly Archives: April 2011

GiG On The Strip

Story and photos by Joseph Martinez

Small ,Tiny… I call it Intimate. With its comfortable sofas and love seats, you will feel right at home. Here in San Antonio at 2803 N Saint Mary. The Venue is 100% original songs sung by the artist.

Normally there are 3 acts per evening. Today there was two. (It gave me more time to enjoy them a little longer.) Local and regional talent is what you will find.

The owner, Ruben Garcia has been running thus place for the past three years. Keeping the tempo and the shows running smooothy. To find more information on GIG on the strip . Try their web site or on face book .

I was lucky to arrive on “Acoustic Tuesday”

First up is “Sugar Bear” Brandon Adams. Kind of a burly looking guy yet, sings sole full song. At time, it seems to be just a whisper. He calls it “Back to the old stuff” sort like the songs played by long pasted away singer Jim Croce. Real life, good times, bad times, and friends are just some topics covered.

All I want to say about Sugar Bear is… Very Enjoyable.

Next was Jimmy Dash, A very accomplish guitarist took command and became its master quickly. From Spanish classical intros that lead in to soft rock ballades. Jimmy’s musical talent is exceptional.

So young for the level of skill that he process.

This listening venue is GREAT for pop, folk, and soft rock music. It’s not so much for punk or techno, or that newer stuff called Dubstep.

Off the Beat: Bone Shakers

Off the beaten path you find “Bone Shakers” at 116 w Michel in San Antonio Overlooking the Charming San Antonio river is a Wonderful Place to listen to and feel the pulse of south Texas music scene for up and coming bands.

Fat Tuesday was no exception. The Beer was cold and Rock-n-roll was on the menu.

The Opening solo artist was Lisa Arnold. Playing power ballads with raw emotions punched through with her Fender guitar leading the way. I ask how long you have been playing? “All my life” Lisa said. I could tell this native San Antonio girl that, music was flowing in her veins. To find out where she will be playing Drop a line at

Adrian and the sickness an Austin band was next. I can start by saying WOW! Head snapping music started of fast and furious. Adrian on the guitar, Heather on the bass guitar, and “Alaman” on drums.

The music was TIGHT. Never skipping a beat. Playing some of their original songs and including some classics from Ozzy Osbourn Like Bark at the moon, Song from Led Zepplin and others from Garbage.

A dose of Heavy Rock Was what the doctor order for me and they did not disappoint .

A nice touch was when; Adrian did her version of “The flight of the bumble bee” on her Gibson sg guitar Can I say.. knock my socks off. (Corny but true) It was nice to see and hear talent like that.

Energy was not in short supply. Adrian blond dreads were moving to the rhythm. Jumping high and running in to the audience is cool.

Alaman relentless drumming kept it all in sync. A relatively new member to the band, it seems like he’s been playing with the band for years; A sign of a true Pro. The original band has been together approx 7 years.

Heather on bass is flawless. Running her finger quickly on the up and down the fret board it was like gliding on ice. Cool…. (Pun intended)

The interaction of the band mates was wonderful to watch. A goal to focus on playing the perfect song.

The band finished their set with “rice and beans” (It made me hungry).

I got a kick out of it. It has a good hook.

Seeing Adrian off stage, she enjoying music played by her peers.

Check her out on face book or google her .

Bug Girl ? Yup, That’s the name of the next band that plays on fat Tuesday.

On Guitar is Amber Spence, she been bug girl for approx 5 years or so. With a tattooed tiger on her arm she kept it electric. Her bass player was heather and the drummer goes by the name of “Clinno” the same drummer for Adrian and the sickness But with a twist. Or should I say more like a split personality. He seems much more alive by the way he was talking to the crowed. Carrying a Australian accent. He just drummed the night away. More hard rock was to come and more and more. By this time the night was a blur and I was slowing down Really what I can say about Amber she is a solid 100% rocker Girl!

Speaking with the door man I got some good information on a site the Just started .

Indie River Radio. A site for uploading new local music, Different types of music. Defiantly not main stream stuff. If you want to hear new music check it out.

For more info on band dates and booking contact Pill Luna at their web site

Valentine’s Day Present Turns Into Business Venture

Next weekend, Jacob Domínquez will give away a pair of Oceanview cabin tickets to Tejano Cruise III every night during the Tejano Music Fan Fair.

All anyone has to do is to register at the Tejano Cruise booth.

The innovative travel agent has generated so much hoopla that on Friday, March 18, he will be interviewed by Shaun Stevens during his live morning Fox TV-27 weather broadcast from Market Square – and this is what started it all.

In January 2010, Domínquez decided to take his wife, Marta, on a cruise as an advanced Valentine Day’s present.

“We went to Mexico, but there was no Mexican music and no Tejano music,” Domínquez said during an interview at his southwest San Antonio home.

This void gave Domínquez a brainchild. “What if I could put a Tejano cruise together for 50 of my friends and family?” he asked himself.

Domínquez, who was lead vocalist for Los Jovenes from 1990 to 1991 and later did second voice for Eddie Gonzales, then asked Gonzales if he would do a cruise and he quickly agreed.

“Next I invested $2.95 to start a Web site called and it was intended to be for friends and family only,” the young entrepreneur continued.

However, within an hour, this personal Web site, which listed his personal home telephone number, popped up for anyone that went to Google and typed in ‘Tejano.’ The result is that he was bombarded by telephone calls from Arizona to Michigan and Wisconsin, just to name a few states.

Capitalizing on the national interest for a Tejano music cruise, Domínquez started calling on his peers and got commitments from six other bands to participate in a cruise.

“Once it was set up for 2011, we started by word of mouth. Then we invested $300 for 10,000 postcards which we distributed from Market Square to the Rivercenter Mall,” the 36-year-old travel agency owner said.

“Once the word was disseminated on the World Wide Web, the next day, we received calls from the Tri-State area of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan plus other Tejano music deprived states and in fifteen days, 1,100 people signed up for this cruise when I had initially planned for 50 friends to join us,” Domínquez said in amazement.

At first, cruise ship line officials asked “What is Tay-jah-no?” But when they saw the market potential, they quickly came to know and respect Tejano music because it turned out to be their fastest selling group in twenty-five years. In layman talk, it was their money maker.

The result is that they had to break up the Tejano music fans into two cruises of 550 each. The first one, from January 22-27, featured Desperadoz, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales and the Tex Maniacs. The second one, from January 27 to 31, featured the Da Krazy Pimpz, Jaimé y Los Chamacos and Jay Pérez.

For Tejano music fans from faraway places such as Idaho, Oregon, Washington and 29 other states, it was as though they had died and gone to heaven since there was something for everybody.

“Everybody was so hungry for Tejano music that they were dancing during the sound checks and others showed up two hours before the dance,” Domínquez said.

At sea, in addition to the concerts, Domínquez made it a point to sit Jay Pérez, David Lee Garza and other artists among their fans in regular tables where everyone dined on lobster tail and an all-you-can-eat buffet. There were also formal dinners, 24-hour room service and a shipboard casino.

Another highlight of the cruise was a humongous beach party at a private beach upon their arrival in Cozumel where fans got up close and personal with all the artists and all the performers were available to autograph their purchased souvenir tee shirts.

Meanwhile all alcohol was free as unlimited quantities of tequila, beer, margaritas, other mixed drinks and straight liquor flowed freely for all to enjoy.

“Some people took a well-deserved advantage of the ‘all you can drink’ booze and all these bands had never done this before, but they’re ready to go and do it again,” the Tejano cruise founder said with a smile.

That’s how this business venture got started. For more information check out and a more detailed article on the actual cruise will soon follow.

PHOTO by Briana Domínquez

Shelly Lares Reigns Radio Airwaves and Concert Stages

Shelly Lares has grown up.

She is not longer the little 12-year-old singer with Hot Tamales this writer met in 1983 and had yet to record her first single with said band until 1986 before being signed to Colores followed by RP/Sony Records and Manny Guerra releasing her first long-play vinyl album in 1991.

To date, the two time Grammy Award nominee and business savvy songbird has been a restaurant owner, a radio personality, is now the owner of her own record label and as for her future, the sky’s the limit with the Divine guidance of God.

“I don’t have publicists and all these things working for me. I pick out all my own material. I am my own producer. I’m involved in the mixing and the mastering. You name it. I wear a lot of hats right now. But I’m not alone. I’m not afraid at all because my precious Jesus is with me and I have a great family, who is the foundation of what I do and I wouldn’t be here if not for them,” Lares said during an interview in the VIP section of the Fats Tuesday event at Wonderland of the Americas.

“Even in my Manny days, I was mixing. That’s why it (her new compact disc) is going to be like anybody else’s. It’s going to be me and my new single, ‘Maldito Corazón (‘Mean Hearted’),’ is going to set the standard for what the rest of the CD will be because we take a lot of pride on the CD as a whole and not for just a couple of singles. We do our best to be sure each song from one to ten will stand out on its own. That’s why we’re more selective on what I do, because in the long run, it is going to pay off for us,” she continued.

“There’s no school for our industry. You just have to dive into it.”

“Maldito Corazón” is a tune written by Carmen Ravena, a proven songwriter with hits by Gary Hobbs and Jimmy González y Grupo Mazz.

“The song is about a woman getting tired of taking her man’s crap. He was not faithful to her and she’s tired of suffering,” Lares explained.

In regard to the selection process, Little Miss Dynamite said, “You know it’s a great song when you first hear it. Just don’t send me an arranged song because I’m going to change it. J.J. Reyes and I been working since 1989 and we knew how we wanted it to be. We still know how to write and how to produce. So we disregarded the pre-arranged version and re-arranged it to suit my style.

Lares added that the Tejas Records released “Mirando Adelante” was the first CD in her entire career that she did not arrange and produce and hence the reason it did not do well.

“The true fans know what’s up,” she added. “This next CD will take my fans on a musical journey and that’s why I’m taking my time. But we released the single to tell people, ‘hey, we’re still here.’

Lares says she named her own label, Shell Shock Records 3, because it’s a name she’s had in mind fifteen years and because the name makes an impact.

What few people realize is that Lares moved to Lubbock, Texas in the winter of 2005. There, she owned and ran Don Lencho’s Cocina.

“It did really well and I went into a difference business venture so I wouldn’t have to rely on the road for income,” the 39-year-old Tejano Roots Hall of Fame inductee explained.

Another little known fact is that while there, she also did a stint as a radio personality at KXTQ Magic 93.7, where she worked the 3-7 p.m. evening drive slot.

“That I did as a novelty,” the petite warble said.

It was also in Lubbock that Lares was invited to attend Templo Jerusalem, where she sang and eventually became the youth director.

“As a child, I went to Catholic school, but I never took my Bible to class and here I started feeling the Holy Spirit. Before I never glorified and it was here I felt God put his arm around me in a warm embrace. I thank God for sending me to Lubbock and now I give all the honor and glory to him.”

By spring 2010 Lares had to choose between the restaurant and music and as she says, “Music was always going to come first. During my five years in Lubbock, I took a step back and I wasn’t completely out. I was just trying other things.

“The main reason I came back home was to start my label and record myself in my own way. This is my hometown. My office is here and my parents are such a big important part in my life that the label would have to be here 24/7.”

In regard to Lares’ musical career, which has seen its share of blood, sweat and tears, she has turned her life over to God.

“He’s in total control all of the time and he will definitely give you all of the blessing. I’m here by the Grace of God and as for my absence, just consider me re-charged; now God is working through me.”

“Maldito Corazón,” which men like because of her vocal performance, is fresh and will catch today’s youth with its instrumentation and the new CD is going to blast everyone out of the water when it comes out.

Best of all, her single can be downloaded at and those who subscribe to her Web site also receive a free ringtone and the choice of one of her classic hits.

Next on Little Miss Dynamite’s list of things-to-do is to record a full Christian CD and embarking on a Christian tour with Javier Galván.

A look at Lares’ calendar shows that locally, she is performing at the Tejano Music Fan Fair on Sunday, March 20 at 7 p.m.

This gig is followed by performances at the Poteet Strawberry Festival on April 3 and at Fiesta 2011 on April 17.

Hollywood Comes to the Alamo City

The Greater San Antonio Film Council is on a mission and that’s to bring Hollywood’s big bucks to the Alamo City.

In 1927, a silent movie about World War I was filmed in San Antonio and it went on to become the first film to win the Academy Award for “Best Picture.” Furthermore, “Wings,” also won a second Academy Award for “Engineering Effects.”

Since then, numerous other movies have been produced in the River City, but not as many as Austin. The state’s Capitol City boosts a total of four film organizations and this accounts why Austin gets so many of Tinseltown’s productions.

“All that is about to change because we have a great film community,” Al Frakes said during an interview at the Lion and Rose pub. Frakes is the chairman of the board of the S.A. Film Council. Minerva Nadler, vice president of Nadler’s Bakery and Delicatessen, plus also a member of the council’s board of director echoed his remark.

“We have actors, directors, producers, entertainment attorneys, film editors and scriptwriters,” Frakes continues.

“Minerva owns a bakery, but the bottom line is that everyone is part of the film industry because crews have to eat, dress, sleep and drive. This means they spend for restaurants, hotels, car rentals and gas. This is why the film industry is so important to San Antonio.

“Mayor Julian Castro is a strong supporter. Furthermore, his brother Joaquin and Councilman John Clamp serve on our board. The reason is because there’s money to be made.” Tejano singing superstar Rubén Ramos is another board member.

In fact, some of the celebrities present at the Northside pub were songbird Patsy Torres, Rita Verreos (“Survivor Fiji”), Brandy López (“General Hospital”) and Ricardo Lentini. The Italian actor was once Roberto DeNiro’s bodyguard and also appeared in “The Untouchables,” “Crime Stories” and “Good Fellas.” Now a local resident, he and Joel Sauceda are the co-owners of two New Forces Fitness Juice Bars.

Frakes and Nadler — who were once part of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau over six and a half years and oversaw the film commission — decided the film-makers community needed a civilian side because the S.A. Film Commission was so limited.

“It is only allowed so much because of their budget,” Frakes continued. “So in a way, their hands are tied. Meanwhile we have strong connections in Los Angeles.”

The result of these connections is that their first venture, “From Mexico With Love” starring Kuno Becker, Steven Bauer, Bruce McGill plus others will hold its Texas premiere here on September 29th.

“Therefore our priority is to bring more movie productions, to get more work for our city and that translates to more money for the city,” Frakes stated.
The S.A. Film Council’s motto is “Bringing the passion of filming back to San Antonio, Texas.” A tag line on their Web site also reads: “Remember when making movies was fun? Then come to San Antonio and find that magic again.”

For more information, or if you’re looking for the perfect location for those exterior shots, check out

A.B. Quintanilla’s All Starz Hypnotize with “Hipnótika”

A.B. Quintanilla’s All Starz is no understatement because an all-star ensemble participated in “La Vida De Un Genio,” his latest musical production.

His own All Starz are vocalists Jason “DJ Kane” Cano and Lee “JR” Gómez, Chris Pérez, guitar; Gilbert “Gipper El Animal” Nieto, accordion; Robert “Bobbo” Gómez, keyboards; Nick Banda, keyboards; Liz, congas; and Joey Jiménez, drums.

However the list of Class-A international all-stars which recorded on different tunes in his most recent compact disc are José Feliciano, Jon Secada, Gilbert Santa Rosa, Marciano Cantero of Enanitos Verdes, Shaila Dúrcal, Julio Ramos, artistically known as Voltio, Jorge Celedón, Alex Lora of El Tri, Albita, Luis Enrique, Reyli Barba plus other surprise artists.

This coup d’état was made possible by Luigi Gilrado, the groups musical arranger. Last but not least are the remaining Dinos, Suzette Michelle Quintanilla, Pete Astudillo, Ricky Vela and Joe Ojeda, who are recording and performing together for the first time since 1995.

The All Starz arrived in San Antonio straight from Chiapas, Mexico and before that they had put on shows in Bogota, Boliva and Medallin, Colombia. But jet-lagged as they must have felt during their sound check at Sea World, they were energetic and in great spirits.

Backstage, AB, who wrote the entire contents in this compact disc, said, “I dedicated this CD (“The Life of a Genius”) to my dad because my father is a genius and at the beginning, we sometimes experienced hunger, but he pulled us through this and many other obstacles by pushing us to the limit. And I’m glad Ricky (Vela) was able to pull everyone together for this project.”

When they appeared on the Cristina Show on Monday, May 10th, Cristina looked over at his father and said, “Abraham, it’s hard to see if you are happy or proud because you always have the same stern face.” But off camera, around family and close friends, Abraham smiles, laughs and his face glows with love and pride for his kids and grandchildren.

AB’s pride in his family and his love for his late sister, Selena is overt because it is tattooed all over his body. His right forearm alone bears a beautiful tattoo of Selena surrounded by roses and the song title, “Cómo La Flor.” The latter actually preceded the image and roses. On his wrist is “Marcella,” his mother’s name. Skipping the thumb, four fingers bear his birth year on his right hand and the word “Loco” on his left hand. And that’s just the beginning. Enough said this article is on the CD and not the tattoos.

From the opening notes, “Hipnótika” mesmerizes the listener with a James Bond theme-like intro followed by a creative mix of vocals by DJ Kane and Marciano plus Voltio’s rap. During live performances, AB and JR fill in for the two guest artists.

The same applies to “Naci Para Sufrir,” a haunting international ballad with a taste of mariachi featuring Feliciano and Astudillo. Again, JR fills for Feliciano at each gig.

While the Capitol Latin CD is being described in concept as like Santana’s “Supernatural” album because of the number of guest artists, A.B. told Billboard’s Ayala Ben-Yehuda, “It’s cumbia villera but on steroids.” By this he was referring to a mid tempo, synth-heavy street style with a nearly reggae beat.

“I was able to take what they’re doing with scratchy, raw loops and put electrónica on top of it and layer that with tropical brass and the A.B. Quintanilla flavor. And just went to town on the singers alone . . . it’s eclectic, weird, down to Jorge Celedón singing with El Tri on ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ with the harmonica playing on a cumbia — it’s the weirdest, coolest thing you’ll ever hear.”

The album is scheduled to go on sale, here and in Mexico, on Tuesday, May 18th. However, fans were privy to hearing a preview of some tunes during the All Starz’ Sea World concert. Then AB stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort in the Alamo City until Monday in order to do an exclusive early morning interview with Jonny Ramírez at KXTN, Tejano 107. That same night everyone appeared on the Cristina Show.

Following the initial release, Capitol Latin is considering an August release in Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Spain and even Japan. Meanwhile the record label will have AB on an extensive grueling promotional tour of radio stations, television programs, meet-and-greets plus even doing acoustic sets at Wal Marts all over the United States.

As for this writer, I thank Abraham for inviting me and Jesse García of Los Agues to accompany him to Sea World and afterwards giving me a flashback to the past when after the show, we pulled into a Whataburger parking lot and he gave me an audio sneak preview into his latest musical discoveries – Elissa and Olinda Cordova — more on these two talented young songbirds in a future article.

For more information, check out and

The Best Guitarist in Mexico Calls San Antonio Home

Gilberto Puente and his twin brother Raúl rank among the “Worldwide Top Five” in the history of Mexico’s Golden Age of Trios.

Aside from that honor, maestro Rubén Fuentes, a classically trained musician, who has served as composer, producer, arranger and director with Mariachi Vargas, the “World’s Best Mariachi” for sixty years, named Gilberto “La Guitarra de México.”

In addition, Gilberto is also considered one of the best requinto players in the world. That’s quite an accomplishment for someone born in the small town of Anahuac, Nuevo León, México and whose parents, Gilberto Puente Quintero and mother Amparo González had no musical inclination.

“The only musician in our family was Tio Jose “Pepe” González and he played bajo sexto,” Puente said during an interview at his Northeast San Antonio home.

In 1945, his parents moved to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas where he continued his education.

“I was nine when my elementary school teacher, Juanita Pacheco, asked our class if anyone played an instrument, sang or recited poetry and nobody raised their hand. This was in February and the school was looking for talent for a Mother’s Day show.

“I didn’t even have a guitar, but they lent me one and I had to learn how to play it by May. That’s how I began,” the world famous guitarist explained.

A year later, his brother Raúl also learned how to play guitar and they formed Los Cuatitos Puente (The Puente Twins). Their first break came in 1947 when they met Felipe “El Charro” Gil, who later married San Antonio’s own Eva Garza.

Felipe’s brothers are Chucho and Alfredo “El Güero” Gil, the latter being one of the original Trio Los Panchos. With Felipe, Gilberto and Raúl recorded two songs written by Felipe Valdes Leal as 78-rpm singles for Discos Colombia.

With the addition of their brother, Gustavo, they started out the decade as Trio Los Hermanos Puente.

“In 1954, we lied to our father, who was an accountant. We told him we were going to Mexico City to work at a bank, but it was really to try out our luck as musicians at hotel restaurant bars,” Gilberto revealed.

“At Hilton Hotel, we performed for Jorge Negrette, Maria Felix, Dolores Del Rio plus many of the celebrities that stayed there and they would give us $100 peso tips. It was circa this time and at Los Globos Night Club that Virginia López baptized us Los Tres Reyes.

Gilbert was only twenty when he custom-designated his own requinto.

“The regular requinto had 18 frets and I extended mine to 23 frets; and most important, I did a recorte (cut inset) to my left hand would reach the high notes without any problem.

“We were doing well and in 1957, we read that Hernando Avilés had quit Los Panchos. So we invited him to join us,” the 74-year-old famed guitarist continued.

The following year they signed with Rogerio Azcárraga Madero’s Orfeón Records, they recorded “Odiame,” a song written by Federico Barret with music written by Rafael Otero López and which Los Panchos had turned down five years prior. Then it went on to sell ten million records.

“The most famous trios during the 1950s – in the order they were ranked worldwide — were Los Panchos, Los Diamantes, Los Ases, Los Cabelleros and us.”

“Incidentally, ‘Tristezas’ by José ‘Pepe’ Sánchez, considered to be the creator of the Cuban bolero, was registered in 1883,” Roberto “Bebo” Cardenas added.

In 1959 the trio recorded Bobby Capo’s “Poquita Fe” and that turned into another multi-million selling single. Their career skyrocketed as they toured all over the Latin Hemisphere on their own and also backing up Libertad Lamarque, Lola Beltran, María Luisa Landin, and Lalo “El Piporro” González. These tours included performances at the Alamo City’s Alameda Theater.

In the process, they reached the Silver Screen when they appeared in “Yo Quiero Ser Artista” backing up Virgina López on “Celoso;” and accompanying Agustin Lara on “Perdon” and “Hasta Morir.” Other films they appeared in were “Sin Carátula” and “Oro Blanco, Droga Maldita.”

They beat out Elvis Presley in popularity during the late 1950s, but when the Beatles hit the scene and English music invaded Mexico, trios started to lose popularity and in 1966, Los Tres Reyes disbanded.

However, they didn’t hang up their gloves completely. The twin brothers forged ahead as a part of numerous bands and orchestras that backed up Marco Antonio Muñiz and other Mexican greats.

Gilberto also wrote “O Papa Gallo” with a bossa nova beat and it was included in a movie soundtrack.

Twenty-two years later, in 1988, they regrouped with Johnny Albino on lead vocals. The Puerto Rican vocalist was also a former member of Los Panchos. Then he was replaced by Leonel Gálvez, of Los Tres Caballeros, followed by Luis Villa, who came onboard in 1993.

In between Gilberto continued to be in demand as a songwriter, a guitarist and a requinto player and joined Linda Ronstadt on her “Canciones de Mi Padre” sixty-city Tour.

He also backed up Placido Domingo, Vikki Carr, Pepe Jara, Fernando de La Mora and Soledad Bravo.

In 2004, Bebo Cardenas became the trio’s lead singer.

Three years ago, Gilberto, Raúl and Cardenas entered a recording studio in Hollywood to record “Hay Amores” with Shakira for inclusion in the movie soundtrack of “Love in the Time of Cholera.”

“We were recommended for this project by Andrea Bocelli’s guitar player,” Puente said.

This year alone, Los Tres Reyes have performed with the San Antonio Symphony, performed for a Smithsonian Museum National Folklife Festival in Butte, Montana and recorded a 20-song compact disc for the Smithsonian Institute.

Los Tres Reyes just returned from Puerto Rico and on September 28, they are headlining El Festival de Trios in Cali, Colombia.

As music icons, dozens of Los Tres Reyes videos can be seen on and there’s a kick-butt Q-Productions video and CD available at most record stores.

The one thing this writer did note is that in spite of their worldwide success, this legendary trio has yet to receive one award or be inducted into any music hall of fame; and it’s sad to know these icons have been overlooked for their contributions to music.

On Friday, September 24, Gilberto and Raúl will accompany Cardenas when he performs “Tierra Mexicana” at the Sing for Hope and Justice Awards show to be held at the Restoration Centre at 6401 Bandera Rd. Pre-sale tickets are available to Del Bravo and Janie’s record shops. For more information call Dr. Paul Ruiz at (210) 979-0575.

Open Letter to StreetTalk Magazine re: Joe Lopez

In response to your blurb on whether Joe López is innocent or guilty? I can no longer remain quiet and allow people to continue taking pot shots at the former lead singer of Mazz.

There is no doubt Joe López is innocent and the ‘Justice for Joe López’ organization has the proof.

Joe did not have to go to prison because he was initially offered four months in jail followed by probation. The result is that he fired his lawyers for even fathoming the thought of such a deal. Instead, López adamantly professed his innocence.

“Imagine that. If I had indeed done that and was offered only four months, I would have said damn, let me kiss your feet and hugged them outside, right? But I didn’t do anything. So why should I admit to a crime I didn’t commit in exchange for a light sentence?

“Ni lo mande Dios (God forbid),”López said during a prison interview as he shook his head in disbelief.”

Joe refused the plea bargain because that would be admitting guilt and he repeatedly stuck to his guns in regard to his innocence.

On Tuesday, October 31, 2006, Joe was sentenced to 32.5 years in prison. This was a pretty stiff sentence when one considers that the punishment for third degree murder is thirty years.

“It was a hanging trial and we (the family) are now all in prison,” his oldest brother, Raúl López Jr., stated.

To help out Joe, Tejano living legend Gilbert Rodríguez is asking performers to donate their talent for three fund-raising concerts – one in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas — to cover the legal costs of attorneys Roger Z. Guevara and Art Vega in San Antonio plus Philip T. Cowen in Brownsville to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

“Now, just as O.J. Simpson, I have several attorneys . . . and the support of Jaimé P. Martánez behind me,” Joe said in his most recent letter to Gilbert Rodríguez.

To date, every single Appeal has been denied and the only thing left is the Writ of Habeas Corpus, but attorneys don’t work for free. According to Lorenzo and Judy López, the deadline to file is March 30. Therefore, he needs all the help he can get. Otherwise Joe, now 60, will not have the freedom we all take for granted until he is 88.

Any band and vocalist wishing to participate may contact Gilbert Rodríguez at (210) 673-2990.

To acquiant Street Talk’s readers with what really transpired, I was allowed to share the following few tidbits of information – including copies of actual medical records.

First of all, let me introduce the main character being the alleged then 13-year-old rape victim. Her name is Krystal Benita López, daughter of Joe’s brother and his then wife Blanca Estela Chávez. Therefore Krystal is Joe’s niece.

The courtroom figures were District Attorney Armando Roberto Alexandre Reyes Villalobos, Judge Leonel Alejandro, who presided over the 357th state District Court.

Joe’s defense attorneys were Micheal (pronounced Michael) Pete Trejo and Michael Lee Young.”

Chapter One of the book I was commissioned to write starts out as follows:

As will be outlined and practically proven, Joe was wrongfully accused, was charged on four counts based on a downright, outright lie and had to stand trial due to a fabricated story of an alleged rape. And it didn’t help when a few people perjured themselves on the witness stand.

Moreover, lack of time for new defense attorneys to properly prepare for his case and ineffective counsel lead to his wrongful conviction.

The facts contained between these two covers will prove that Joe was innocent because he was not guilty of the charges brought upon him.

The facts that would have saved Joe from being convicted was all the alleged victim’s medical records, correctional center’s papers and other documents deemed inadmissible in court because the alleged victim was a minor at the time of the trial.

Furthermore, Joe’s defense attorneys advised him not to take the witness stand and the reason for this gross error will unfold within these pages. In the process, this book will also give some insight to the corrupt so-called justice system we live in.

It is his family’s prayer that this book will exonerate Joe as you the reader will be made privy to all the facts, what really happened, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth


A written reenactment of many events outlined in chronological order and in story form is based on numerous interviews and the sworn testimony of this case’s witnesses when they were asked to take the stand. So what transpired has been a careful, timely process of piecing together all the witnesses’ statements and answers to both the State and Defense according to the reporter’s record transcript.

It was like putting together a difficult jigsaw puzzle. This process helped cut down pages of repetitious, redundant questions and answers. Otherwise, the reader would have 775 pages of tiresome, boring transcript which would put one to sleep.

From this point on and through coverage of the trial, the entire scenario will be explicitly detailed, word per word and will adhere to the time-line and time-frames stated by the many witnesses that testified.

For utmost accuracy, all quotes are verbatim as they appear in six volumes of court transcripts. While there was the temptation to edit and make many corrections due to fragmented sentences, wrong word usage, grammatical errors and other mistakes, they were left intact, ‘as were transcribed’ by court reporter, Cynthia L. Garza, CSR, RMR.

Therefore, some of the dialogue may not make sense due to the improper use of the English language by a few witnesses.

What really transpired will definitely open up more questions than those it will answer, and this questions and their answers is what could have proved Joe’s innocence and set him free.

This is not a book about Mazz, or the musical story of Mazz, but about an innocent man – and about any Joe that is behind bars for a crime he did not commit.


Most of the information is extremely touchy and cannot be divulged until Joe is granted a re-trial so I will have to tip toe through some important points. But it is a fact she lost her hymen at 12 and by 14 was a sexually active teenager.

In 2004, Joe was performing with excruciating pain due to a hip injury and his time on stage was minimal. After this, Joe was unable to take one single step without a walker, and he was prescribed even stronger medication. After falling off the stage in Dallas, he spent the next few months more drugged up than a junkie.

By April 2004, Joe was still unable to walk without the aid of a cane and he was under so much pain . . . his wife Tina made sure he was not without a bottle of Chivas Regal for his pain and a bottle of pills to put him to sleep in what became his new lifestyle. His brother Lorenzo also said that Joe had to sleep on a recliner because he was unable to climb on top of the bed without physical help.

There were days that Joe couldn’t walk, much less even move; and on weekends, he was on cocaine and heavy medication to take the pain away in order to perform. Once onstage, he grabbed the microphone stand and held on to it for support without making his condition obviously to the audience.

As a man, the pain medication killed his urge, his longing, his sexual appetite, his passion, lust or whatever one wants to call it. Therefore he was unable to have an intimate relationship with his wife because the hunger and yearning was not there. He couldn’t climb up on his bed on his own and there was no feeling in his groin, except that of numbness.

But when it came time to testify on Joe’s behalf, his attorney made her change her tune.

During a one-on-one interview with the Grammy Award winner at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, Texas on April 28, 2009, Joe said, “You know what my attorney told my wife to do, to state that she had given me sex in the bathroom, in the bed, in the living room. And I told Tina, ‘why are you lying like that?’

That statement drove in the last nail on Joe’s coffin because it made him come across as being capable of having sex.

During the trial, there were numerous times Krystal’s testimony, as well as that of others could easily constitute reasonable doubt, but they were never questioned. In fact Krystal and her mother’s statements raised more questions, but no one bothered to clarify any conflicting and contradicting statements. Not one witness was pressed for more information to fill in the missing blanks.

Therefore the jury was left to decide in whom to believe – an adult, a responsible mother and wife, or a teenager with a history of being a troubled child?

For example in just one sentence, Krystal was “unsure” about three different things as she answered, “I’m not sure,” “I think” and “I don’t remember.”

Some testimonies were 180 degrees opposite of each other. And in some case, there were three different versions of what happened. Yet there was no further search for the truth. How could any attorney overlook these inconsistencies?

FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2004

According to the transcript, after the alleged rape, Joe went to sleep and Krystal was not restrained. She was completely free to run out the door and in less than a minute reach the Rancho Viejo Police Department to report the alleged rape.

Furthermore, the police department was then at 3461 Carmen Avenue, cater-corner, across the street and less than a two minute walk from Joe and Tina’s condo.

As Tina testified on the third day of the trial when asked about the location of the police station in relation to the condo, she stated, “It’s like catty-corner, right there … It’s just across the street. Like … maybe a hundred (feet), I’m not sure.”

When Young asked how long it would take one to walk from the condo to the police station, Tina stated, “A minute, two minutes, not even.”

The question an average person would ask is, “Why would a rape victim ‘walk,” wouldn’t one assume they would run? And why didn’t Krystal immediately dart out the door and run across the street to the police station?

Instead of running out for help, she got a Coke from the refrigerator and sat back down in the living room. Then she picked up the telephone and called her boyfriend.

Moving along the court trial, when Villalobos asked Krystal if she had showered after the alleged rape with “wouldn’t you want to be clean?” she stated, “Yeah, but I didn’t take a shower.”

“You weren’t thinking to yourself this whole time, ‘gosh, I can’t wait to get this off of me. I can’t wait to clean up. You never said anything about feeling like that, did you?

Looking the district attorney straight in the eye, she said, “no.”

To top it off, that same night, Joe, Tina and Krystal went out to eat at his sister Alma Trevino’s house. And later that same evening Krystal went fishing with her father, Joe and Omar Rodríguez, a family friend who says she seemed to be having a good time.

Based on what he has seen while working in his current position at a juvenile detention center, during a one-to-one interview, Omar, who knows most of the signs and body language exhibited by someone who has been raped, said, “She wasn’t distance, withdrawn or appeared to want to seclude herself.”


I could go on and one, but it would be hard to condense a 36 chapter book. However, I will leave your readers with some food for thought. Her Rape Kit test turned up ‘negative.” We initially had the permission of Christina Hernández, founder of Justice for Joe López, to publish two pages from Krystal’s medical records from the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department Medical Department.

In the “Drug History” section, readers would have seen black and white proof that Krystal smoked, drank hard liquor and test positive for marijuana, PCP, ecstasy and downers plus had a few serious ailments.

The second page revealed she tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease and if Joe had slept with her, he would have contracted Chiamydia trachoactis.

To have published those medical records would have violated the patient/doctor confidentiality, therefore they were pulled at the last minute.

All evidence against Krystal was inadmissible in court because she was a minor. Instead the DA painted a virginal picture of Krystal. In addition, police officers that had stopped Joe for suspicion of marijuana use in the previous decade were brought in to testify in a case that had nothing to do with drugs. The purpose of course was to damage his character.

Another giant flaw is that the court allowed Leticia Cisneros García, a woman whom Joe’s brother Lorenzo had dated twenty years prior, not only to serve, but was also named ‘jury foreman.” Furthermore, after she got married, her husband Robert Sierra and Joe had a falling out in 2002.

Many other rules were broken and they are all detailed in the book. In summary, all the cards were stacked up against Joe. To know the truth and the injustice that has been done to Joe would turn anyone’s stomach.

There were numerous instances of more than ‘reasonable doubt and times when Joe’s attorney objected or asked for a mistrial. And each time the judge sustained and overruled all his objections and his motions were each time denied.

Again, I remind the reader that attorneys have until the end of this month to file a Habeas Corpus. Not one of us is a saint. There is no exception so let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Call Gilbert Rodríguez and find out how you can help him raise the money to pay Roger Guevara file the Habeas Corpus.

Very respectfully, Ramón Hernández