Before I get to the mundane, I have some Great News!!!
Our latest CD effort, titled ‘El Idolo De Tejas’, is one of six (6) finalists in the the ‘Best Tejano Album’ catagory of the ‘Latin Grammys’!!! What does this mean, you ask? Oh, maybe one of those ‘Latin Grammy-statuettes to join my other Grammy, but best of all, we get to go to Las Vegas!!! I believe the date for the actual event is November 19, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
but Google it and check it out. The other five nominees are:
Alazzan, La Fiebre, Los Gallitos, Elida Reyna, and Solido! Wish us luck, Raza!
The day I started to piece this journal of events and thoughts and mentiras was the 30th day of April of 2015. Since then, my birthday and several others have come and gone and I am now officially older than dirt! The whole month of June has come and gone along with the July 4th Holiday, August has somehow just zipped by and we are now at the middle of September! As we speak, am getting ready to head west to Del Rio, Texas and a ‘Diez Y Seis’ celebration they’re having! And so as an apology not boring y’all with my ‘Gorilla-Escapades’, and where we, The Mexican Revolution and associated musicians and instrument-owners have been these past few months, I’m gonna offer a rough but potentially money-making idea for an ‘electronic game’ that I thought of while driving to San Antonio to play at one of the many locations during ‘Fiesta Week’!
‘Fiesta Week’ is an event that officialy happens every spring, but in reality, is a way of life in San Anto! Anyway, this game I thought of is a game in the ‘vernacular’ (Good word, look it up!) of such games with names such as ‘Irate Birds’, ‘Falling Jewels’, ‘Exploding Baboons’ and ‘Cascading Pumpkins’ and similar others that occupy the time of cell-phone owners while waiting at traffic lights, restaurants and the DPS, DMV, or wherever folks stand in an endless line to get their drivers license! And the idea came as I recalled a comment from one of my lovely nieces at one of our family reunions a couple of years ago when she uttered that there were so many relatives there that you “couldn’t fling a dead cat in any direction without hitting a ‘Perez’!”
‘Perez’ is my Mama’s maiden-name and most of our family tree originates with a ‘Perez'; though there are others involved. And this ‘ Dead-Cats’ ‘Idiom’ (Good word, look it up!) may’ve originated in the days of Pirates and such and the practice of punishing misbehaving sailors by whipping them with a ‘Cat-O-Nine-Tails’, which is a whip with nine (9) knotted rope strands extending from a single handle, the use of which served to ‘warm’ the backs of unruly sailors!
Picture a large Family Reunion.
This game would consist of people (your relatives) standing around at a park or large field, drinking Cervezas, Tequila Shots, Margaritas, Mint Juleps, or a beverage of their choice, and you, the one holding the cell phone, would fling dead cats (one at-a-time) to see how may relatives you could hit! I would recommend an option to change the names included in the game with the names of your real relatives! With the possible exception of rabid dogs and ‘obstinate’ (Good word, look it up!) people, I of course I don’t in any way condone the harming of critters for any reason; be they human or otherwise! That being the case, in this game, one would score points by hitting relatives with the afore-mentioned ‘dead cats’, with parents getting the least of points, followed by uncles and aunts, grand parents and great-grand parents! The older the relative, the higher the score; reason being their statistical nearness to being naturally ‘promoted to Glory’, making you a sort of hero in aiding their ‘promotion’, doncha see…! In this game, unlike real life, hitting children would result in a ‘point deduction’, and when you succesfully hit a relative, in addition to ‘points’, you get another ‘dead cat’!
And so Raza, go ahead and pitch this idea to one of your young, unemployed, lazy sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and any relatives who spend their time working at doing nothing all day and are concerned with trying to figure out how to get rich with the least of effort! This game could be called something like, “Dead-Cat Alley’, ‘Flying Felines’, ‘Calico Chaos’ or ‘Flying Fur’ or even ‘Kavorkian’s Kapers’! Originally, the old adage ‘When Pigs Fly’ gave me the idea, but other than at a ‘Pink Floyd’ concert, I couldn’t fathom the thought of flinging ‘Pigs’! I will, of course expect monetary ‘remuneration’ (Good word, look it up!) for this idea, Raza! Perhaps one of my nieces of nephews with computer skills will bring this idea to ‘fruition’ (Good word, look it up!) resulting in some extra ‘Cerveza, Chicharrones and Scratch Off’ money for me! Think about it!
Our keepers of the Revolution web site have seen fit to erase the ‘where we’ve gigged’ part of the event calendar, and this has subsequently caused me to lose track of where we’ve played! I’d keep my own record of our gigs, but I just ain’t got time! The last gig I recall is the one in Abilene on that Sunday before Cinco De Mayo! It was fine event packed with people at the St. Vincent Catholic Church grounds, where a nice portable bandstand was erected just for this occasion! Then there was that one in Lubbock where inproper electrical building wiring fried my guitar amplifier! And that one in La Mesa…My mind blurs at our mixture of ‘private’ and otherwise ‘regular’ gigs, but another that comes to mind is one we did in the great metropolis of Hurley, New Mexico around Veteran’s Day! Great crowd, great accommodations at the venue itself, which is also a place that makes great ‘condiments’ (Good word, look it up!) made from chile peppers and other veggies and is shipped nationwide to restaurants and such! There are a few other gig dates here and there, obscured in my mind due to the clutter of bookings with our local ‘Beyond Therapy’ gigs in Austin and surrounding area during the week!
By the way, Raza, have y’all noticed that while on the ground, some birds, like Pigeons, walk while others, like Blue Jays, hop? Well, have you?
And have you noticed the ‘Orange Clown’ running for president? Most politicians ‘smell’ to a certain degree, but Donald Trump reeks enough with his rampant oral defecations that it should goad, prod, or otherwise inspire everyone to VOTE! so, VOTE!!! No’ombre Shaddop!!!
Here’s the deal, Raza:
Target Venue City: Tolleson, Az (Phoenix)
Departure time: Midnight Friday, Sept. 18, 2015
Transportation: One (1) 14-passenger van (make:unknown (to me))
Occupants: 12 Mexican Revolution Gorillas + minimal equipment and chincherillo.
We gathered at the Revolution office that Friday night at the ‘departure time’ that we usually gather, to start figuring out where, when, how and why were going to wherever it is that we’re going; and in this instance, was 12 PM midnight. Of course, smarter heads would’ve determined, based on past Gorilla behavior, that our departure time should include at least a minimum 1-hour ‘buffer’ (Good word, look it up!) so that our Gorillas can figure out a few things, and those (in no order of importance) are:
1. Who is going? (How many musicians and road crew and tag-a-longs??)
2. Do we need all of our equipment (PA system, Backline, microphones, personal instruments, etc, etc.)
3. What is our mode of transportation? (Bus, vans, cars, vans and cars, bicycles, etc., etc.)
4. Where is our mode of transportation? (Bus, vans, cars, vans and cars, bicycles, etc., etc.)
5. Does our equipment fit into these vehicle(s)?
6. Is everyone present that is going?
7. Why isn’t every one here?
8. Did anyone fuel up the vehicles?
9. Where is the key to the lock that secures the instrument storage unit?
10. How big a hammer do you need to break the lock?
Right about this time in this process, Raza, me and a couple of others usually announce that we’re going to the store for a 12-pack of Cerveza. That night, it was already 1:00 a.m. and we cannot buy beer after midnight on Fridays in Texas…, ‘legally’, that is!
13. can we borrow instruments from that other band at this event?
14. Who told them they could borrow ours?
15. If we’re not taking instruments, uhhhh…?
Anyway, when we do plan for these ‘foreseen’ eventualities, which is seldom, there is usually at least one (1) of those nasty unforeseen ‘contingencies’ (‘Good word, look it up!) that crop up somewhere along the way. And that’s what happened on this trip.
Anyway, we finally crammed enough people and chincherillo to fill up a larger-than-normal-sized U-Haul truck or semi into our plush and comfy van, then headed west in the general direction of Arizona. Not one mile from the office, it was announced that the T-shirts our Gorillas sell to help offset the price of gasoline along the way, were not with us!
“Where are the T-Shirts?”
“We’re not going that way!”
“Someone is bringing them to us!”
“Where are they now?”
Anyway, a few miles west of Austin, our T-shirts people met up with us, we loaded the T-shirts and we continued west.
That’s One (1).
Another one of those unscheduled ‘continj…’ uhh, ‘eventyoo..’, those unplanned ‘things’ I mentioned earlier, happened about 20 minutes and miles after the T-shirt stop! Here’s the deal, Raza:
It is ‘Deer Season’ in Texas! A ‘Deer’, Raza, is an animal, sometimes with horns atop its head, that some of us know as ‘Reindeers’, ‘Bambis’, ‘Does’, ‘Stags’, ‘Mooses’, Cows with funny horns, etc. And I don’t mean ‘Deer-Hunting Season’, just ‘Deer Season’! Actually, ‘Deer Season’ in our Hill Country, which is on our route west on Hwy 290, lasts about 12 months out of the year! What this means is that the male deer engage in chasing the female deer in search of sexual favors (mating)! These shennanigans at times, cause these critters to traverse our public highways! About 20 miles from Austin, I sensed a sudden stopping-braking-swerving motion of our van; followed by a quick, sudden and hard ‘THUMP’, and saw our windshield get covered up with red liquid that was Deer blood! Yep. At around 2:00 A.M. that Saturday morning, our driver hollered:
“WE HIT A DEER!”
Yep! We hit one of those critters as it hit tried to cross the highway! This type of accident often results in an injured or dead animal and a messed up Radiator, Bumper, Headlights, and/or any other exterior part of a vehicle, depending on where the animal hits. This one hit the front, and once we exited our van, and while some of us checked our van, the rest searched for but could not find evidence of the animal due to the pitch-dark conditions at that hour. We then checked our van for damage. No noticeable ‘leaks”, headlights ok; and aside from a dented bumper and some loose ‘molding’, our van seemed capable of continuing on! And so we did, continue in our westward direction.
That same morning 5-hours later and around 7:00, in the middle of nowhere, I woke up to see a green, Texas road sign that read: ‘BORRACHO STA’! Our driver woke us up to announce that the van was overheating. Upon further inspection, we noticed a trickle of water/coolant from underneath the front. After a bit of ‘navel-contemplating’, we surmised that the radiator had indeed ‘sprung a leak’! We all gathered our previously purchased bottled-waters and poured them into the empty plastic container that leads to the radiatior, started the van, hopped in and continued west…for about 3 miles whereupon our dash ‘info-warning-of-bad-things system’ told us that it was HOT and we should stop and rethink our westward-bound strategy!
Our fearless leader, stating that we ‘weren’t getting anywhere just sitting there’, decided to thumb a ride and find something or someone somewhere to alleviate our travel ‘ills’. It was now 8:00 o’clock but knowing that it was only 6:00 am in Phoenix, we were confident that our fearless leaders had been through this before and had ‘Plan B’ in progress, an so we weren’t worried. Shortly, a ‘good samaritan’ stopped and gave Ruben a ride, and as they drove off, someone yelled ‘GET SOME ‘STOP-LEAK’!!!” Brother Ruben, who’d apparently not heard the ‘GET STOP-LEAK!!!’, came back about 30 minutes later with an African-American ‘good samaritan’ driver carrying several gallons of ‘Coolant’. Raza, if you have a leaking radiator and you have a choice of ‘Coolant’ or ‘Water’, choose ‘water’ because it’s cheaper and is gonna end up on the ground. ‘Coolant’ will end up on the ground and eventually seep into our drinking water! Once you fix the leak, then use Coolant (I read this somewhere) !
We poured the stuff into the appropriate engine-container and headed on down the road, arriving a few mile later at a ‘gas-station-grocery store place’ called ‘Plateau’.
This ‘Plateau’ place is situated on I10 in the manner that an ‘oasis’ exists in the middle of the Sahara Desert, minus the Arabs, Camels, Palm trees and Coconuts! (There may’ve been an Arab there but I didn’t see one…I think..!) Nothing else is there. Inside, they have bathrooms (yay!!!!) groceries of all kinds, auto parts, scratch offs, slot machines, a restaura….yes, I said ‘Slot Machines’! The rule on these slot machines is that you cannot buy ‘cigarettes’, ‘scratch offs’, or ‘liquor’ with any winnings! I donated maybe $20.00 to this establishment! I was winning but I ran out of money!
Anyway, once we realized this ‘rental-ruined-by-a-Deer’ van was unusable, and after 2 or so hours and several phone calls of trying to figure out what exactly our ‘Plan B’ was, Ruben and I caught a ride to Van Horn, Texas with a Mexican ‘good samaritans’-couple traveling from Oklahoma to El Paso. Once in Van Horn, which was about 25 miles from ‘Plateau’, we hoped we’d find a ‘Car-rental’ place.
Our ride dropped us off at a ‘Loves’ Truck Stop, where we learned (you may want to note this!) ‘there are NO car rental places in Van Horn!’
So much for ‘Plan B’!
Time for ‘Plan C’!
Fact: Van Horn is 117 miles from El Paso.
Fact: El Paso is 433 miles from Phoenix.
A bit later, Ruben arranged for someone in El Paso to rent 2 vehicles and drive them to us and we could then be on our way to Phoenix! After 2 hours of waiting and ‘patronizing’ (Good word, look it up!) the local ‘Scratch-Off’ machine and now thinking that our vehicle-delivery guys should be getting here, Ruben called to find that a ‘hitch’ in the plan had delayed their arrival and they were still in El Paso! It seems that rentals places require a valid driver’s ID for ‘each’ vehicle rented! So, once we faxed my id and some insurance papers to the rental place, the ‘get-the-vans-to-us’ process resumed.
So now, it was around 1 pm that afternoon and not enough time for the vans to be driven to Van Horn and still make the gig!
Time for ‘Plan D’
Rick Fuentes, the motivated self-starter that he is, managed to catch a ride from ‘Plateau’ to ‘Van Horn’ with a couple that I’d say, were either ‘eccentric’ (Good word, look it up!) or had consumed ‘copious’ (Another good word, look it up!) amounts of alcohlic ‘spirits’ at some point in their lives. Rick described them as ‘Crack-Heads’! For Rick to catch a ride with these two, means he was getting desperate! Rick and the crackheads arrived in Van Horn. After we fed them, we all hopped aboard their plush and comfy Buick Century, of the model-year ‘Nineteen Throw-it-way’, or as we Chicanos call it, ‘Nineteen-Tiralo'; and we headed for El Paso with the 2 Crackheads. The guy was chattering away and at one point claimed that he did some roadying work for the group, ‘Pearl Jam’! He didn’t explain, but judging by his current status, his ‘Pearl Jam’ gig didn’t last long!
Meanwhile back at the ‘Oasis in-the Saharan Desert’ (‘Plateau’), our guys were still stranded with the wrecked rental, the lease-agreement of which states something like: IF YOU WRECK THIS VEHICLE, YOU MUST LEAVE IT NO FARTHER THAN 30 MILES FROM A FORD DEALER! or something similar. So, being the self-motivated types that they are, one of our larger Gorillas pitched a deal to a Tow-truck driver to take them AND the wrecked rental van to El Paso for a nominal fee!
Driver: “How many are y’all?”
Hefty Gorilla: “Six”
Driver, with concerned expression: “Six ‘your size’?”
Hefty Gorilla: “No, not all”
Anyway, they hooked up the rental van, piled into the Tow-truck and headed for El Paso.
Meanwhile, in the eccentric couple’s plush Buick Century, Rick was driving, I was in the front passenger seat and Ruben was in the back seat directly behind me. It was raining, the back seat window wouldn’t stay up unless you held it with one hand on each side…! Rick’s window was more or less in the same condition. My window was nicely closed but I had to hold Ricks accordion case with one hand and try to do the local newspapers Crossword Puzzle and Sudoku with the other while scanning the panoramic vista through the cracked windshield! At my feet, I noticed a piece of cardboard with the handwritten word ‘JUST’ and underneath it, the letters ‘HU’. As I looked closer, I could now make out that it said ‘JUST HUNGRY’!
So, God, in his Infinite Wisdom and knowing that this Tejano Legend and his two ‘Instrument-Owning-Musician-Wannabees’ were in dire need of a ride, looked around and noticed this ‘Eccentric Crackhead-Transient-Wino-PanHandler-Couple’ who needed money and food, said,:
“These two groups should meet; that’ll larn ’em!” And it was done!
Anyway, we made it to El Paso, gave the couple some money, got one of the rentals, drove it to the airport rental place, signed some ‘WE PROMISE NOT TO MESS UP THIS VEHICLE BUT IF WE DO, WE’LL PAY FOR IT’ forms and then headed for Phoenix, Arizona!
Our previously stranded Gorillas made it to El Paso, picked up their rental van and headed for Phoenix, just an hour or so behind us!
Since our clothes and personal junk had stayed in Plateau with our trailing Gorillas, we had previously asked Louie Marines, Trumpet owner and head man for ‘Grupo Mysterio’ to acquire something for us to wear to ’embellish’ (Good word, look it up!) the raggedy jeans we were wearing! I got to wear a nice dark long-sleeved dressy maroon shirt, so I at least looked half presentable! Ruben and Rick also got some fresh rags to wear. For our first set, we borrowed Mysterios’ drummer and accordion player and Rick played bass. Trombone and trumpet owners; Rene and Rupert, respectively, had traveled to Arizona a couple of days earlier to do a gig in Tucson on Friday, so they were already present.
We did the gig to a huge crowd who seemed to not be bothered by our ‘disheveled’ (Good word, look it up!) appearance; applauding every song!
We finished, helped ourselves to some very good food and drinks in the VIP tent, then headed to a nice hotel where we spent the night.
On Sunday we left at check-out time and headed east on I10, stopping in Tucson for a nice meal, then continued on. We made a quick stop for burgers in El Paso, then drove until we got back to Austin! Whew! All I’ve gotta say, Raza, is that YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS SHI… UH, ‘STUFF’ UP!
We’ll be in Victoria at the Club Westerner this Friday, September 25, and in Floresville on Saturday the 26th.
Gotta go, Raza, it seems that again, my stockpile of Cerveza is getting low!!!
UVA Y LOS GRAPES
Until Next Time, Raza,
DON’T FORGET TO:
PRAY FOR OUR SOLDIERS!!!
PRAY FOR OUR VETERANS!!!
PRAY FOR OUR SICK, ELDERLY AND NEEDY!!!
PRAY FOR OUR SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS!!!
PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
HASTA NEXT TIME, RAZA,
CUIDENSE Y PORTENSE BIEN!
POR HAY LOS WACHO!
BABY, BABY, BABY!!!
NEVER SAY NEVER!!!
Jose Perez Ramos