Roger Vasquez / Blog

Latin Notes: Grupo Vida becomes hotter than ever with its act 2

By Hector Saldaña - Express-News Web Posted: 10/28/2010 12:00 AM CDT http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music/grupo_vida_becomes_hotter_than_ever_with_its_act_2_106087478.html?showFullArticle=y "Grupo Vida becomes hotter than ever with its act 2" San Antonio Express-News Reinvention and alter egos make the music business go 'round. Miley Cyrus' “Best of Both Worlds” tour was designed to transition the young singer from her Disney “Hannah Montana” image. The Beatles became Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to permanently shelve their mop-top days and free themselves musically. David Johansen shed his New York Dolls act to become lounge singer Buster Poindexter. Alanis Morissette went from child TV actress and Debbie Gibson wannabe to “Jagged Little Pill.” Include Grupo Vida the Electric Cowboys — who play Graham Central Station Friday night — in that list of chameleon success stories. Next year, the popular, trendsetting Tejano group and country music act will celebrate its 20th year together — reinvigorated, reinvented and better than ever. That's saying something for an act that will always be remembered for (and compete against) its flashy Sunny Sauceda era. Much of its rebirth can be credited to the Electric Cowboys side of the equation. “It was a surprise,” acknowledged co-founder/multi-instrumentalist Jason Martinez, explaining that the Electric Cowboys side of the band emerged in 2002. “You don't expect for things to kinda blow up. I don't want to say ‘blow up' because they really haven't yet. But little by little, we're excelling. Going to Nashville and having people that are interested is very exciting for us.” In Nashville, these twanging Latinos are downright exotic. “They dig the fact that a whole bunch of Hispanic boys can pull off country music,” Martinez said. Grupo Vida's hardcore Tejano fans love it, too. No Jekyll & Hyde dilemma here — as long as you can dance to them both. “I have a friend that says Tejano music is nothing but country in Spanish and vice versa,” Martinez said. “The two are really, really so related with the subject matter and the grooves. Usually Tejano lovers are country lovers.” Friday night at Graham Central Station, Grupo Vida will show off both sides — progressive conjunto and pop country. “It's a lot of fun,” Martinez added. “It keeps it interesting.” Adding that extra skip to their step is 19-year-old accordionist Josh Baca from Albuquerque, N.M. Baca, whose uncle is Max Baca of Los TexManiacs, joined the group this summer. It's a dream gig for the baby-faced musician who admitted that as a preteen he once dressed up as Sauceda for Halloween. “I grew up listening to their music and I tried to mimic them and dress like them. I tried to be like Sunny Sauceda,” said Baca. “I think it's destiny to play with these guys. I was Sunny one year for Halloween. Yeah, I bought baseball gloves.” (Note: Sauceda was famous for his Michael Jackson-style gloves.) The ultimate tribute: His mother added fringe to his pants to look like chaps that Sauceda wore. “My sister had this doll with white, stringy hair, and I cut the hair off and had my mom sew it to my jeans like the chaps that Sunny used to wear,” said Baca, who has been playing since he was 2 and once used an ice chest for his accordion case. These days he makes sure his three-button Hohner Corona II is properly housed.

Thankful Thanksgiving

With the coming of this year’s Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holiday Season I am reminded how very important family, friends and fans are to me. While we truly love what I do for a living, it is my family whom I cherish the most… Parents, Grandparents, Sons and Daughters, Brothers, Sisters, Uncles and Aunts, Cousins and x-wives that love and support me everyday…. As a musician, I miss many, many family occasions… a simple birthday or BBQ, family reunion …still they unconditionally love and support me. For that, I am eternally grateful. You are all awesome and so deeply dear to me. Thank you for always being there! To all of you, my family, friends, fans, Street Teams and Leaders, business associates, agents, promoters, venues and staffs, Sound Companies and their Staffs, Artists and all of the many other great people I've have met thru out my careers as musicians or otherwise…. I sincerely wish you and yours a very Blessed Holiday Season. See you soon! Happy Thanksgiving!

Changing of the Bus...

Well we finally totaled the Bus(RV). It's amazing how much damage a blow-out can do. So, after years of service we had to put our RV down. RIP. We now have a Silver Eagle. Check out the pictures. It's in great shape! We are now in the process of customizing it to our specs. I will update you with pictures from time to time. We're in our third week and so far, so good.

Kansas City, Mo

The trip to Kansas City was a bit bumpy. Felt like we hit a couple of craters! ....and we were in the air! Flying! Yup, I felt like our driver was the pilot... he sometimes catches a hole or two in the road. Or, a deer! I was just glad that our gear made all the transfers. The folks at the Guadalupe Centers were great hosts and picked us up and got us back to the airport in time for our flight to Midland. We really appreciate their hospitality and look forward to performing for them again, real soon.