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|··· ABOUT THE BAND ···|
|El Chicano grew out of the burgeoning Latino music scene developing from the streets of East Los Angeles. Originally known as “The VIP’s” and founded by Freddie Sanchez, El Chicano is the most successful of the L.A. Latino Rock recording artists. Their 10 album run from 1970 - 1985 is unrivalled and included classic albums such as Viva Tirado, Revolución, Celebration, El Chicano and Cinco all released thru MCA Records. |
Their 1970 debut album “Viva Tirado” included a cover of a big-band composition by Maestro Gerald Wilson, was their big crossover jazz/rock/fusion smash hit “Viva Tirado” (a tribute to Mexican bullfighter, José Ramon Tirado) was also significant as it allowed El Chicano the unique distinction of charting simultaneously in all music genre categories and earned the group their first Gold Record in 1970! To top off a fabulous inaugural year for the band, El Chicano was voted by Billboard and Cashbox publications as the number one Jazz group of 1970!
"Revolución" 1971 album became the most acclamied and popular of that time in South America and earned the group thier second Gold Record with two hits one featured the beautiful ballad,
“Sabor A Mi ” and a fiery instrumental "Chicano Chant" both songs were used in Major movie scores, have become true El Chicano music anthems.
The 1972 "Celebration" album featured knockout version and a superb cover of Van Morrison’s composition "Brown Eyed Girl", highlighting the vocals of Freddie Sanchez and Steve Salas with a Latin rock groove - another classic EC hit that went Gold. Their recordings showed a versatile and wide ranging adaptation of all that was currently hip and happening in the music scene blending rock, soul, Latin, funk and jazz and creating their signature EC sound.
In 1973 the self-titled LP "El Chicano" had another top 40# hit -“Tell Her She’s Lovely”, featuring the vocals of Jerry Salas, that also went Gold for the group. Over a 40 year span, the Group has earned 5 Gold records. El Chicano has recorded twelve albums and has had their songs included in over 100 compilation releases. Their music has also been used on several major movie soundtracks as well as television appearances and participation in numerous documentaries. The Group also has been recognized several times for the contributions made to community events, fundraisers and charities that help children, education, music and the arts. El Chicano has always given back to the community and will continue to do so into the future!
El Chicano is proud of their history and accomplishments and they are still actively recording and touring. Three live videos featuring El Chicano were recently released: "In The Eye Of The Storm", "Latin Music Legends", and a live performance at The Warwick Theater in San Francisco for "The Voices of Latin Rock" Autism Awareness Benefit. With the untimely passing of original El Chicano members Bobby Espinosa and Rudy Regalado in 2010, Freddie Sanchez who is the group’s Leader along with EC members Mickey Lespron and Jerry Salas jointly agree and state emphatically: “El Chicano is dedicated to continuing with the musical legacy that was the ultimate passion of our EC brothers Bobby and Rudy !
Performing El Chicano music is " Always from the Heart " Peace....
|··· LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ···|
|* El Chicano were originally named The VIP’s |
* El Chicano arranged and performed the original Baretta TV series theme song before the Sammy Davis Jr. vocal version.
* El Chicano was the FIRST Chicano group to perform at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1970.
* El Chicano performed on The Steve Allen Show, American Bandstand, Midnight Special,
Academy Awards ,The Billy Eckstien Show, Wolfman Jack Shows,Billboard Awards,Cash Box Awards.
* El Chicano songs have been featured on several movie soundtracks including:
LAST TANGO IN PARIS
THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS
NO MOTHERS CRYING, BABIES DYING
MI VIDA LOCA
HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS SPENT THEIR SUMMER
* El Chicano performed at the 1973 Watts Summer Festival at the L.A. Coliseum before a staggering 97,000 fans . A free music conert in Griffith Park LA. that drew over 50,000 EC music lovers !
* El Chicano are exclusively featured in a documentary entitled “EL Chicano –In The Eye Of The Storm”
* EL Chicano has been recently featured in the productions:
TRINI LOPEZ LATIN MUSIC LEGENDS – PBS TELEVISION
CHICANO ROCK! THE SOUNDS OF EAST LOS ANGELES - PBS
LA BAMBA PARTY
LATIN MUSIC USA
VOICES OF LATIN ROCK
LA RAZA DE COLORADO - PBS
TRIBUTE TO CESAR - CHAVEZ SPEAKS - PBS
|··· PERFORMANCES ···|
|El Chicano has performed at various venues worldwide and with many major artists : |
Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, The Miracles, Three Dog Night, Rod Stewart, The Guess Who, Electric Light Orchestra, Tower Of Power, James Gang, Ted Nugent, Average White Band, Kool & The Gang, Marvin Gaye, The Allman Brothers, Chaka Kahn, Jose Feliciano, Malo, The Jacksons, Lou Rawls, Sonny & Cher, Earth Wind & Fire, Santana, Rare Earth, Linda Rondstadt, Olivia Newton John, Rufus, Blue Oyster Cult, Iron Butterfly, James Brown, The O’Jays, The Manhattans, Heatwave, GQ, The Moments, Billy Paul, Gene Chandler, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Barbara Mason, Rose Royce, Deniece Williams, Ray, Goodman & Brown, Smokey Robinson, Sly & The Family Stone, The Temptations, Canned Heat, Leo Sayer, The Spinners, Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, Isaac Hayes, Grateful Dead, Michael Bloomfield, Trini Lopez, Gregg Rolie, The Four Tops, Booker T & The MG's, Bloodstone, Jim Croce, Al Wilson, Elton John, Tierra, Cheech & Chong, Richard Pryor, Paul Rodriguez, Wolfman Jack, Helen Reddy, War, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys – and virtually too many to mention, including a long list of Jazz and Latino Artists....
|··· EARLY BAND HISTORY ···|
|El Chicano was originally driven by the swirling, bluesy shades of Bobby Espinosa’s Hammond B3 organ. Bobby’s distinctive sound was up there with some of the best organists around, and rivaled the sounds of Jimmy Smith, Brian Auger, Jon Lord, Stevie Winwood and other Hammond B3 legends. Now, add to this musical mix, the cool underpinning bass of Freddie Sanchez, with the atmospheric jazz flecked guitar chording and Wes Montgomery style lead lines of Mickey Lespron and magical music ensued. Pulling the top line together was the hot rhythm foundation of Andre Baeza on congas, Rudy Regalado on timbales, and John De Luna on drums. The band’s exciting live shows always mix hot band originals with their carefully crafted cover versions, which never failed to entertain, excite and stimulate!! |
The Band’s 2004 best hits CD release was included as part of the prestigious "20TH CENTURY MASTERS/THE MILLENNIUM COLLECTION”, featuring legendary “Best Of” albums from the most significant music artists of the past century. This Collection has become the most successful artist series in music history.
El Chicano is still performing aggressively worldwide after having been included in a special performance at the 40th anniversary of "WOODSTOCK ... THE WEST-FEST" at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. At the same event, the group also proudly celebrated their own 40th Anniversary as a band. After their riveting performance, the audience gave them a well-deserved standing ovation and shouts of "Viva ... Viva El Chicano"!
|TRIBUTE TO |
··· BOBBY ESPINOSA ···
|Bobby the man behind the Hammond B3 organ on “Viva Tirado” and all the other hits from El Chicano. He has recorded on every song the group has ever released and has developed an unmistakable sound that is a true compliment to his mastery of that keyboard instrument, a mixture of Blues, Jazz and Rock, but with a Latin attitude, making it completely unique on all levels. Bob also possesses a great voice and has been the lead vocalist on many of his own compositions. He has never stopped performing and touring. His love of music is evident in all of the recordings he has been a part of for over forty years! He was chosen to be a part of a documentary entitled "Hammond Heros"- profiles of the Best Hammond players of the past several decades. The first and only Chicano Artist to be so honored. Early 2010 brought the passing of this musical Icon. (RIP Brother Bobby )|
|TRIBUTE TO |
··· RUDY REGALADO ···
|Rudy is the man that took El Chicano to another level of Latin rhythms, adding heat to their live shows and opening the doors for the music to evolve. Considered by his peers as one of the top percussionists in the world, when Rudy get’s on stage, the word “passion” comes to mind. He has performed with many major stars in the music field and is always in demand with the huge network of artists that know his talent. Rudy is also Maestro of his own great salsa orchestra "Chevere" - his favorite word. He is considered a true El Chicano original with his superb technique and musical heart. Late 2010 also brought the passing of this musical Icon. ( RIP Brother Rudy )|
|TRIBUTE TO |
··· ARMANDO MORALES ···
| Armando The man that took up the keyboard position after the passing of El Chicano original Bobby Espinosa - not an easy task unless you were a master of keyboards, which Armando proved to be. He was loved and respected by all for his devotion to music, be it as a musician, stage manager, or sound engineer extraordinaire. His passion and great personality always made it a pleasure to be around him. He truly embodied the meaning of "Love, Brotherhood & Music". |
(RIP My Broooo Armando)
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