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Media Clippings- Page 12

Mark Guerrero (2009- 11)

Tejano and Grupero News
Corpus Christy, Texas
February 6, 2009


The story below ran in Tejano and Grupero News, a Corpus Christy, Texas newspaper, on www.ramiroburr.com, and in the San Antonio Express News.

Friday, 06 February 2009 01:13

Mark Guerrero Enshrined in the Grammy Museum

Mark Guerrero may not be a household name but he follows a legacy established by his late father, Lalo Guerrero. In this report, our correspondent Ramon Hernandez outlines Guerrero's musical contributions.

The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles was officially opened on December 6th and among those honored with an exhibit is Mark Guerrero.

Not only is this an honor, but a great accomplishment for the singer-songwriter-musician, who is the youngest son of the legendary Lalo Guerrero, the acknowledged “Father of Chicano Music.”

The display features the 59-year-old’s controversial 45 rpm single “I’m Brown,” a photo of his band at that time, and the original manuscript of his lyric in “Songs of Conscience, Songs of Freedom,” the first major museum exhibit to explore the full 200-year history of music and politics in America. Guerrero’s artifacts can be seen on the second floor of the four-floor facility where his peers are Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne plus many other musical innovators.

“I wrote ‘I’m Brown’ when I was 21 and in 1972, I recorded it as a solo artist,” Guerrero said during an interview at his home in Cathedral City, California.

   “It was sort of a protest song, but the chorus says, ‘Don’t you know I’m brown, Can’t you see my face, but I’m first a member of the human race.’ I’m proud of that song because it expresses Chicano pride, but also says, ‘hey, I’m first a human being.’ I also love the music and the magical atmosphere of the recording.

“It came out on Capitol Records, but they didn’t promote it for probably a lot of reasons. One reason is that it was almost five minutes long at a time when records were normally three minutes. But who knows, there might have been some other things behind the scenes, like, ‘Oh, it’s kind of radical and who’s going to buy that. So they may have just buried it.

“The next year, when I had a sort of country-rock group call Tango, I was signed to A&M Records, ‘I’m Brown’ was included on our album as well, so it came out twice. However, we didn’t get to tour, so the album sort of died on the vine. Nobody knows about that record because it kind of got buried in these two situations,” the 59-year-old composer revealed.

In spite of the lack of exposure, airplay or touring to promote the record, the single which was practically shelved did not go unnoticed since it was selected by the Grammy Museum as an important part of musical history.

For Texans not familiar with Guerrero, he grew up in East Los Angeles. At 13, he formed Mark & the Escorts, who often shared the bill with hit bands such as Cannibal and the Headhunters, The Premiers, and Thee Midniters. Mark & the Escorts were also included on the 1965 album “West Coast Eastside Revue,” which featured all the top East L.A. bands of the era.

He was a student at Garfield High School when at 15, he recorded his first two singles, “Dance With Me” and “Get Your Baby.”  Many of the popular musicians who were part of the East L.A. music scene at the time went to Garfield, including The Blendells and a couple of future members of Los Lobos.  This is also the high school that a decade later had on its faculty the phenomenal math teacher, Jaimé Escalane on whom the movie “Stand and Deliver” was based.

   Next he led “The Men from S.O.U.N.D.” and at 21, he wrote and recorded the Chicano equivalent of James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud” and Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” and which became his most famous opus.

Guerrero is a musician because he plays guitar, bass and keyboards, but along the way, he also became a radio personality as the host of “Chicano Music Chronicles,” on crnlive.com based out of Phoenix, Arizona.

“The idea of the show is that I would pick about a dozen of my favorite songs by the guest artist and we’d talk about them, each song and about their career,” Guerrero explained. “Some of my guests were Trini Lopez, Chan Romero, Tierra, and El Chicano.”  “Each show ranged from about an hour to two hours and you can still hear them on my website.”

That brings us to the living legend’s latest feather in his cap, that of being webmaster of his own website. At www.markguerrero.net, he chronicles the history of Chicano music. And without realizing it, he also became a musicologist and writer since his site features in-depth interviews with a ‘who’s who in Chicano music. It is also here that La Prensa’s readers can receive a detailed crash course on Guerrero’s illustrious musical career.

Fast forwarding all the way to the present, the singer-songwriter-musician is also featured in “Chicano Rock: The Sounds of East Los Angeles,” a PBS documentary that aired on December 14, 2008 and will continue to be intermittently aired throughout the remainder of this year. Check www.pbs.org or your local TV Guide for future airings.

“It’s a great one-hour documentary that tells the story of particularly the Chicano rock & rollers out of East L.A. and I’m in a couple of interview spots and a performance spot.

“The graphics, the way it’s put together, the way the story is told – it touches on the discrimination that we’ve gone through and it talks about the Chicano Movement and the radicalization of the music, the riots in East L.A., the Viet Nam War, etc.,” Guerrero raved. “It touches on not just the music, but the sociology and the history around it. It’s really inspiring.

“I also want to tell you about the Trini López television special that we just taped on November 11 at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles. It was a seven high-definition camera shoot for PBS and it is called ‘Trini López Presents Latin Music Legends.’ Tierra backed me up on my dad’s ‘Los Chucos Suaves,’ then Trini came out and did a few songs with a big band.”

As we were talking, his cell phone rang and it was Trini López, who almost lives next-door to Guerrero in Palm Springs. Excusing his self, without losing his excited state and without skipping a beat he continued, adding the other performers on the special; Little Willie G. & Thee Midniters, El Chicano, Tierra, and the Gregg Rolie Band. Also, Los Lobos, Julio Iglesias, and José José provided videos which will be inserted into the show.

While Guerrero’s noteworthy achievements have brought him national recognition and high prestige, he still has to make a living. So as he says, “I perform five nights a week at Las Casuelas Terraza, an outdoor nightclub in Palm Springs. (Not to be mistaken with Las Casuelas Nuevas in Rancho Mirage where his father performed for many years.)

“This is my ‘meat and potatoes,’ ‘pay the bills’ gig and we (Hot Rox) are a great cover band. So I don’t do any original material because it’s really a ‘top 40’ kind of gig.

As for the future, Guerrero said, “Chan Romero and I are planning to go Liverpool (England) this summer and perform together.

“On February 21st, I’m doing a re-union concert with Mark and the Escorts. We haven’t played together since 1966. I got five of the original members and we’re going to perform in Van Nuys at a garage rock ’n’ roll blow out kind of concert. There’s going to be 13 bands and out of the thirteen, there are two Chicano sixties bands from East L.A., that’s us and Thee Ambertones. I’m pretty excited about the show and am going to video tape our performance and put it up on ‘you tube.’

This is a ‘don’t miss’ event and as long as you’re in Los Angeles, go check out his exhibit in the Grammy Museum. For its hours and exact location, go to www.grammymuseum.org.

If this article has sparked your interest in Guerrero’s repertoire, his recordings are available at www.markguerrero.net. In addition, you may view seventy videos of the Grammy Museum honoree in action at www.youtube.com/markguerrero49, about twenty of those are with his father Lalo.

Fans can also meet Mark when he comes to San Antonio for the “American Sabor” exhibit that will run at Museo Alameda from June 17 to September 20.


Pop Matters.com
Monday, February 8, 2010


Music | Verse-Chorus-Verse

An Interview with Mark Guerrero

6:15 am

Monday, Feb 8, 2010

by PC Muñoz

Artist/producer PC Muñoz mines for gems and grills the greats.

In 2008, the Grammy Museum featured singer-songwriter Mark Guerrero’s 1972 watershed Capitol Records single, “I’m Brown”, in an exhibit called Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom. A Chicano-pride song with a humanist heart, the song acknowledges pride in one’s background/ethnicity while also recognizing, to quote the lyric, “I’m first a member of the human race.” The nod from the Grammy Museum regarding this philosophically inclusive song is a fitting crowning achievement for Guerrero, a unique artist who has largely gone unnoticed by the masses, though he has been making music, both on major labels and DIY style, for five decades.

The son of the late, legendary Chicano songwriter Lalo Guerrero, Mark Guerrero began his career at age 13 with Mark & the Escorts, an East LA band who shared bills with “Eastside Sound” legends like Cannibal & the Headhunters and Thee Midniters. After a stint leading a group called The Men From S.O.U.N.D., Guerrero went on to record two singles for Capitol (the aforementioned “I’m Brown”, and “Rock & Roll Queen”) Later, he signed with A&M Records and released one album in 1973 with his group Tango (check out the dramatic back-story about Tango, written by Guerrero himself, here). Later, Herb Alpert , the “A” in A&M, Records, would go on to record Guerrero’s song “Pre-Columbian Dream” on his 1983 album, Noche de Amor. Guerrero has remained active and prolific over the past three decades as well, releasing several albums,  lecturing and consulting on various Latino-focused exhibits, shows, and concerts, and performing regularly with various groups, including his own.
Listening for the first time to Mark Guerrero’s earlier songs, especially the stuff from the ‘70s, is like tapping into a parallel reality; a reality where this East-LA bred Chicano artist found ready acceptance in the music industry and topped the charts with his confident, effortless songcraft and vocals. Mix some Mark Guerrero songs up in your digital player’s shuffle and I guarantee you’ll end up running to check the artist name when one of his songs pops up and something about it seems strangely familiar, yet altogether new at the same time. It’s a blast from the past you never heard.

My personal favorites of Guerrero’s early work is the B-side to “I’m Brown”, “Livin’ Off the Land”, a feel-good rocker that sounds just like the AM radio classic it should have been, and “Hang On”, a poppy, keyboard-driven tune that was left off of the Tango album. Both songs are available on the compilation CD Mark Guerrero Solo and with Tango 1972-1974, which is a great way to get acquainted with Guerrero’s work (it’s available on Guerrero’s website). From there, interested folks can easily jump back to his rarer earlier recordings and forward to his more recent work. 

What was the first song you fell in love with, and what is your current relationship to the piece?
“I Want You I Need You I Love You” by Elvis Presley.  When I was about five years old, I had access to my teenage brother’s record collection. I remember hearing this one over and over again on my little children’s 45 rpm record player with Alice and Wonderland characters emblazoned on it. The 6/8 romantic doo-wop ballad is a great sounding record, with fantastic background vocals (a trio with a pre-Jordanaires Gordon Stoker), great band (Elvis regulars Scotty Moore on guitar, DJ Fontana on drums, and Bill Black on bass, along with Marvin Hughes on piano and Chet Atkins on guitar), and Elvis at his best on lead vocal, run through a cavernous echo chamber. The sound and emotion of the music coming off the grooves was nothing short of magical. I did play the song in a band in recent years. It was fun playing it and it brought back the memory of hearing it as a child. Whenever I hear the record now, it still has the magic.

Who is your favorite “unsung” artist or songwriter, someone who you feel never gets their due? Talk a little bit about him/her.
Hirth Martinez, a singer/songwriter who happens to be a friend of mine. He recorded two albums for Warner Brothers in the mid-‘70s. Hirth got his record deal as a result of Bob Dylan hearing his songs and hooking him up with Robbie Robertson of the Band. Robbie took him to Warner Brothers (Records) and produced his first album Hirth from Earth,using the best musicians L.A. had to offer. Hirth’s a phenomenal songwriter and guitarist. His lyrics are unique, poetic, and often have humor in them. His songs are in different genres, ranging from sambas to jazz, blues, and rock, and the melodies and chord structures can be very sophisticated, yet totally accessible. In the late ‘90s, he recorded a great album for release in Japan called I’m Not Like I Was Before, which is more on the jazzy side, but also still accessible to the pop listener. I would also put (the author of this column) PC Muñoz on the list and with all due modesty, yours truly.

Is there an artist, genre, author, filmmaker, etc. who/which has had a significant impact/influence on you, but that influence can’t be directly heard in your music?
The late great author Kurt Vonnegut. His books and short stories are very imaginative and funny, but at their core very profound and moralistic. Because of this, he’s been compared to Mark Twain, even considered by many to be the Mark Twain of the 20th century. Songs can also get some profound messages across using humor and other devices that candy-coat them, making the good medicine go down easy.

Do you view songwriting as a calling, a gig, a hobby, other…?
It’s a calling. It’s also in my DNA since my dad, Lalo Guerrero (considered the “Father of Chicano Music”), was a great and prolific songwriter. I’ve been writing songs since I was 16 years old and continue to do so. I’m a singer and musician, but I’ve always considered myself fundamentally a songwriter.

Name one contemporary song that encourages you about the future of songwriting/pop music.
I don’t think I can name one song that stands out that dramatically by itself. There are some contemporary artists that have talent as singer/songwriters such as Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and Alicia Keys, but I don’t see talents now that are in the same class as the greats of the ‘60s and ‘70s; Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Elton John, Sting, Carole King, Steely Dan, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, etc. I don’t see that kind of genius and innovation today, but there’s always hope for the future.

In addition to his work as a songwriter and musician, Mark Guerrero maintains an extensive collection of information, memorabilia, and writings on Chicano music and musicians on his website (including lots of information about his father), featuring photos, links, reviews, and interviews. Check out Mark’s music and much more at markguerrero.com

The Desert Sun
Palm Springs, CA
March 3, 2010



Palm Springs Guide
Palm Springs, CA
June 11, 2010

(Mark Guerrero sitting in with El Chicano)

WAR and the Latin Legends





With Special Guests: El Chicano and Tierra

Saturday, June 11, 2010

Spotlight 29 Casino
Indio, California

Story and Photos by Allen Lawrence

For more Allen Lawrence photos of WAR and the Latin Legends, click here.

Friday night, June 11,War, Zoot Suits and brass reigned at Spotlight 29 Casino in Indio, California. It was another one of those rare nights were everything came together to create a perfect evening, at least for Coachella Valley music fans. Three legendary groups took the stage and the music was terrific.

El Chicano opened the evening, and they opened it with a bang. Within minutes, they brought the audience to a fevered pitch and kept them there through their entire set. Audience members came to their feet and were dancing in the isles, cheering, shouting and singing to the music. The crowd loved El Chicano, and El Chicano immediately responded showing that they loved the crowd back. They gave their performance everything they had, and the people loved them even more. Special guest singer Mark Guerrero, son of the late, great Lalo Guerrero, “The Father of Chicano Music,” came out and sang “Brown Eyed Girl” with El Chicano and the audience went crazy. The group dedicated their music to keyboard player Bobby Espinosa, one of founding members of El Chicano who unfortunately died recently.

Sitting next to me during the performance were two friends from Indio, Cathy Garcia and Rita Soriano. Cathy told me that El Chicano was one of her favorite groups and that she loved their music. After the set was over, she confided that she especially loved their rendition of “Sabor A Mi.” Rita told me that her favorite from the set was, “Tell Her She’s Lovely.” I agreed with both of them.

Also in the audience were War fans Rick and Sylvia Sambrano and Carmen and Filipe Beccerra and dancing in the isles, were our old Laker Fan buddies, Bonggo and Jacqueline Beane.

Next up was Tierra, and they took the stage like a line of musical assassins. They lined up across the stage and,like a firing squad, blasted out at the crowd already revved up and made ready to go by El Chicano. The crowd responded and once again took to their feet, dancing, singing, shouted and reveling in the isles. Tierra belted out a list of their greatest hits including, “Lady in the Moonlight,” “Memories,” “Together,” “Gonna Find Her” and “Zoot Suit Boogie.” The music and the energy they created were altogether shameless, brazen and marvelous. Their Zoot Suited drummer pranced across the stage and the crowd went wild. He loved the reaction and bowed and recognized the adoration of the crowd, and the music deepened and the crowd loosened up a bit more, and the world was about music.

By the time War was declared and took the stage, the audience was ready to rumble and rumble they did when War opened with their blockbuster hit “Cisco Kid.” What had been an audience became a mob, and there was standing room only as a battalion of singing, dancing and merry makers moved forward, crowed the stage, danced, sang and simply had a great time. War showed they still had it as they played their “War Hit List!” No one was in the least bit unhappy that War had been unleashed upon the Coachella Valley.

All in all, it was an amazing night. Groups come and go. Great groups have played at Spotlight 29 before, but tonight there was music nirvana as three great groups declared music on the residents and visitors to the Coachella Valley. There were no survivors, there were only revelers and the joyful as War, El Chicano and Tierra were never better.

Thank you, Spotlight29! Just when it gets quiet in the Coachella Valley, you know how to loose the Dogs of War and bring our spirits up. I, for one, am looking forward to next month at 8 p.m., Friday, July 2, when Old School #5 takes to the stage and the music returns.

For more Allen Lawrence photos of WAR and the Latin Legends, click here.


The Desert Entertainer
Palm Springs, CA
September 9, 2010



The Desert Sun
Palm Springs, CA
September 14, 2010




The Desert Sun
Palm Springs, CA
September 14, 2010




The Desert Entertainer
Palm Springs, CA
April 7- April 13, 2011




Palm Springs Life
Desert Guide
Palm Springs, CA
November 2011




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