The story begins next to the tracks in El Paso, TX… fall of 2006. Christian Talamantes (vocals/acoustic), Tony Sanchez (guitar), and Juan Trevizo (bass) had already played with several drummers and had done some recording in southern New Mexico. It was around this time when Todd Seelau moved to the area from Albuquerque, NM and auditioned for the band. Todd had spent his high school and college years in Crane and Abilene and was excited to return to Texas.
“I had been shoeing horses in the rural areas surrounding El Paso, when I started hearing from clients of mine about this weird new pastor in Clint, TX with tattoos, long hair and piercings, who played drums. I didn’t think much of it, but it turned out to be Todd. And now I play with the guy.” -- Christian Talamantes
This version of Next 2 the Tracks (Christian, Todd, Tony, Juan) would periodically tour the southwest and in 2007 record the Caballo de Lumbre EP in Los Angeles, with well-known producer/engineer, Dave Dominguez (Guns n Roses, Papa Roach, Staind).
In 2008, Todd was asked to start a progressive church in Albuquerque, and in order to keep playing with Next 2 the Tracks, would often make the four hour drive to El Paso for rehearsals and shows. While in Albuquerque Todd also played with several local musicians, one of them being bass player, Jonny Bang.
Next 2 the Tracks casually continued playing in and around the southwest, often times as a duo of Todd and Christian, or trio with Tony, or as a four piece with Juan on bass. Finally in 2011, Christian and Todd decided they wanted to tour and play music full time and making it to shows became increasingly difficult for the other two members. It was then that Todd had the idea of inviting his longtime friend Jonny Bang to join the band as a permanent bassist. Jonny also wanted to make music his number one priority and so the current lineup was born.
In May of 2012, Next 2 the Tracks embarked on their How the West is One tour, playing over 40 states across the US. Camping was a high priority during the tour to the members as a means of budgeting and drawing inspiration from nature. This goal proved easier throughout the western states due to less restrictions and more open space. The band did camp in the eastern states as well, but due to numerous restrictions became inspired to regain the lost freedom of enjoying the wilderness. In many cases it was illegal to set up camp or even sleep in wilderness areas.
How the West is One included two legs and lasted until December of 2013 with over 250 shows. It was during this tour, while in Los Angeles, that the band met actress Pauley Perrette, CBS star of NCIS. Pauley befriended the band, inspiring them after an exhausting six months of touring. She took them under her wing and invited them to make a music video to honor her close friend, Brandon Lambert, on the anniversary of his death. The video features the song “Never Fold” from the Caballo de Lumbre EP, stars actor/stuntman James Logan, and pays tribute to homeless veterans.
After their stay in Los Angeles the band returned home to New Mexico and Texas for a short break with a sense of accomplishment from the first leg of the tour and a renewed sense of purpose. Until this point Christian had only played acoustic guitar in the band and they were now forced to consider whether or not to search for an electric guitarist to replace Sanchez. For the time being the band continued the second leg of their tour, rehearsing and touring without a second guitarist. It was during a run of shows in Chicago, when they had a short but inspiring encounter with childhood hero and blues legend, Buddy Guy. The conversation with Buddy motivated Christian to embrace the opportunity to play more lead guitar, thus rekindling an old passion. Next 2 the Tracks became an official trio.
In November of 2013 How the West One came to an end with a homecoming show in Albuquerque, NM. The band took some much needed time off to write as well as spend time with family and friends in Texas and New Mexico. They also took the time to play regional shows and begin rehearsals for their Big Game North American Tour, which began in February 2014. This tour is set to be the band’s most extensive tour to date, ranging over 3 countries and supporting at least two new albums. The first album will be recorded in Los Angeles in June of 2014 and will be entitled She. Watch for Next 2 the Tracks as they will be coming soon to a town or wilderness area near you!
Jason Murphy, Austin, TX