Joe ‘King’ Carrasco, tejano de ascendencia holandesa empezó a tocar en bandas de garaje en su adolescencia en la ciudad de Dumas (Texas), hasta que un día escucho música Tex-Mex por la radio y cambio su vida.
Decidió montar su propia banda e incorporar esta influencia mejicana en su música. Sus primeros discos con El Molino (1979) y posteriormente con The Crowns (1980), eran una mezcla de rock & roll de los 50, garage y tex-mex, pero poco a poco el rollo mejicano iría ganando terreno a las demás influencias hasta llegar a autoproclamarse “The King of Tex-Mex”.
Con The Crowns, fichó con Stiff Records, esto le llevaría a ser conocido en Europa, Sudamérica, USA y Canadá .
Como curiosidad, en 1982, Joe escribió la canción “Don’t let a woman” un tema de estilo reggae que grabó para el disco “Synapse Gap” con Michael Jackson a los coros.
En junio de 2011 vuelve a reunir a The Crowns con sus componentes originales, Kris Cummings, Brad Kizer y Mike Navarro desde entonces no ha parado. Con más de 25 discos editados a sus espaldas, el último, “Chilando” (2015), Joe King Carrasco sigue dando alegrías a sus parroquianos, con un estilo divertido, festivo y libre de prejuicios, con ese toque pachanguero que no deja de ser, en el fondo, puro y simple rock & roll.
Actualmente regenta un restaurante de comida mejicana en Puerto Vallarta (México)
Nuestro compañero Josechu Egido ha tratado de hablar con él.
The songs of Joe ‘King’ Carrasco sound like Rock, Tex-Mex, Nuevo Wavo, Tequila Reggae, Cha Cha Mex. A mix of styles that results on the personal sound of your music. But, what are really your musical influences?
50s Rock'n'Roll with combined influences of Mexico and Cuba-- and also New Orleans--and Tex mex rock and roll, Sir dougallas quintet, Question mark, Sam the sham, Magic Sam, Howlin wolf. I take all this and put a Latin twist to it all.
Living in Mexico, I listen to all the music, I like Julieta Venega, I like Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.
What's your inspiration when making your songs?
Such as 'Oaxaka', a driving Rockabilly Hot Rod influenced song on the new CD ---- Oaxaka is slang for "what's up?".
'My Ding Dong Daddy Don't Daddy No Mo' is about Dumas Texas, my home town --- where I grew up playing Rock'n'Roll on a Silvertone guitar. 'Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas', made famous by Bob Wills, was played everyday on the radio as I was growing up. People from Dumas were called "Ding Dong Daddies". In the song I used the last dying words of my Mom "...there's something terribly wrong in Minnesota". Which didn't make sense because she had never been to Minnesota. She then said "Joe, you are so innocent. You don't understand."
Several years ago, I was camped out on a beach in southern Mexico, laying in my hammock, when late in the night it felt like aliens were coming down from the sky to arrest me. But as it turned out it was just Mexican Bandidos with machetes who proceeded to rob me of all my pesos. Had I not taken the machete from one of them, I wouldn't be here today. It was my closest brush with death. So, I thought the experience deserved a song. "Arrested in My Hammock"
'No Way Jose' is a Howlin Wolf Cha Cha which references the Michael J. Pollard line from Bonnie and Clyde "dirt in the fuel line just blew it away".
'Anytime You Need Me' was a Doug Sahm inspired rocker that I wrote back in 1975 but never recorded until this year.
'Ain't No Touch' is a San Antonio style triplet in the vein of T Bone Walker.
I've been playing 'Tequila Revolution', a Cha Cha song for the last 30 years and I suppose it helps that where I live in Jalisco is next to a Tequila plantation. We got a real 70's feel on this recording (that wanna score some blow on Time Square feel), maybe a little bit like War.
'Who Put The P In Pendejo' is my Chuck Berry goes to Mexico City groove. 'Pendejo' is a word they use in Mexico for someone who makes bad choices. I found myself in a foolish relationship deep in the heart of Mexico lost on Tuluncingo road.
So - music is inspired by my life!
Are you completed your expectations with tour last album Chilliando?
Chiliando is Spanish slang for 'chilling out'. Also in Tex-Mex, the chile is the key ingredient for 'heating it up'.
For the last 9 years I've been living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and driving constantly between Texas and Jalisco, crossing the Sierra Madre, passing through federale check points and playing on the Frijoles circuit up and down the west coast of Mexico, spending too much time in cantinas, and found myself part owner of a Tex-Mex restaurant called Nacho Daddy that serve Blues, Rockabilly and Cha Cha Cha on the side, where I was playing several nights a week, soaking up as much Mexican slang and Latin grooves as possible in my music, hanging out on la playa with my dogs, and paying bribes to the cops to stay out of jail.
I suppose the environment where on lives rubs on your creative process in abstract ways, which is how 'Chiliando' came about. This is the most straight ahead Rock'n'Roll CD I've done.
As I get older, as I'm driving off the cliff--riding the pepper, the best thing to do is go out rocking. 'Chiliando' has the Spang for Spanglish and Bop for the Blues. So it is Spang-Bop Full Speed Ahead. The número uno thing to do is keep it shaking!!! Ay Ay Ay!!!
This is not your first time in Spain. What do you think about the Spanish crowd? What do expect from them?
I have played in Spain several time. I was a part of the Stiff Record Tour in 1980 and we toured all over Europe. Around that time we taped a music video - Buena - in London and the guards got mad at me because I was wearing a crown. I thought they were going to take me to jail but i got off if I would just take my crown off.
JOE 'KING' CARRASCO & THE CROWNS
I think that Spain understands-- more about my Spanglish style and the Tex mex grooves --than the gringos-
So Spain gets it!!
What are your plans for this current year 2016 and next 2017? We assume that you will touring around clubs and festivals. Can you advance anything to us? Any important event? When new songs?
My current band, and the band that is touring Europe with me is 'Los Side FX':
Chuggy Hernandez, straight from the barrios of Houston, TX, has been playing bass with me for 25 years. He's the spirit of Los Side FX.
Vince Mejia, who's roots are from the blues scene in Guadalajara, plays drums and has been with me for almost 20 years.
Albert Besteiro is one of the hottest guitar players to come out of Brownsville, Texas on the Rio Grande border. They call him the James Burton of the Valley. He played with The Del Castillo Band for 12 years before becoming a Side Fx.
Everyone in this band is a veteran of border rock, a melting pot of Mexican and Texas music styles. After touring for nearly a year, we went to the studio to record this CD. I wrote all the songs, some old, some new, some pulled off the shelf and dusted off. The audiences have been extremely receptive, we are getting more and more requests for shows and festivals. I still join the audience at every show, keeping the action going, on the bars and tables, breaking down the borders of audience vs performer.
What do you think about the current economic and social situation in Spain, Europe, United States of America and in the World in general?
Several years ago, I started an organization called Viva Perros. We raise money from the sales of some of my merchandise and donate it to different dog rescue groups around the world. I traveled through Mexico and videoed the dogs -- on the street -- in shelters -- in the park -- and made a video about dogs in hope that it encourages people to be kind to dogs, rescue, spay and neuter.
JOE 'KING' CARRASCO & EL MOLINO
I wanna be loved
Thank you very much. Best wishes from Spain, and congratulations for your music.
Joe King Carrasco