Tom Waldman and David Reyes, co-authors of the book “Land
of a Thousand Dances” (1998), University of New Mexico
Press, organized a lecture/concert series showcasing East
L.A. Chicano musical artists. The Mark & Lalo Guerrero
event, which took place May 22, 2001, was the first in the
series. Events that followed featured Cannibal & the Headhunters
(June), Little Willie G. and Jimmy Espinoza discussing their
careers with the Midniters (July), Rudy Salas & Tierra
(August), and a panel discussion with radio personalities
Art Laboe and Sancho (September). The venue was Self
Help Graphics in East Los Angeles on the corner of Cesar Chavez
Blvd. and Gage St. The events were held upstairs in
what used to be the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Hall.
Coincidentally, or cosmically, the first official gig of my
first band, “The Escorts,” was in the same room
on November 22, 1963. We played there several times
between ‘63 and ‘65. What is amazing is
that it looks exactly the same as it did way back then.
It has the same wooden stage, but the top has been redone.
The stage and the hall itself were old in 1963!
The Lalo & Mark event started
with Tom and David asking us questions on microphone while
we were seated with microphones at a table facing the audience.
They played excerpts from our recordings as the interview
progressed; my dad’s “Pancho Lopez,” “Mickey
Mouse Mambo,” and Marijuana Boogie, and my “Dance
with Me” (Mark & the Escorts), “I’m
Brown,” and “On the Boulevard.” We
told stories about what inspired some of these songs and related
events. This was followed by a question and answer session.
In attendance were many people I’d known throughout
the years including, Jesus “Xuiy” Velo of the
rock group Los IIlegals,
artists Wayne Healy Alaniz and Serge Hernandez, Mark &
the Escorts original members Ernie Hernandez, Robert Warren
and Trini Basulto, three members of Cannibal & the Headhunters,
including founding member, Robert “Rabbit” Jaramillo,
and many others. My girlfriend, Janie Hughes, sold CDs
and mixed with the crowd which also included a girl I hadn’t
seen since high school, the daughter of Mike Carcano, who
owned and operated the Record Inn in the golden age of East
L.A., and some old timers who used to go to my dad’s
night club in the 60s. It was quite a mix and everyone,
including my dad and I, had a great time..
Lalo & Mark Guerrero
Mark & the Escorts
to right- Mark Guerrero, Ernie Hernandez, Robert
Warren, and Trini Basulto)