Friday, August 29, 2014

Q & A - Ricardo Guzman Jr.‏

Ricky Guzman III and Ricky Guzman Jr.
Ricardo Guzman Jr. y Sus Tres Aces return to La Lomita Park this Sunday night to carry on the tradition that his father started in the 1950's. The 54-year-old bajo-sexto player talked to me about his dad Ricardo Sr., his son Ricky III, his current style of music, and about performing at La Lomita Park.

Eduardo Martinez: I always hear people say great things about your dad's group, the original Ricardo Guzman y Sus Tres Aces. How was the experience like growing up with him?

Ricardo Guzman Jr.: When I was real chiquito, I used to go to the dances. Me iba abajo de las mesas (I would go underneath the tables). My mom would take the tickets at the door. I grew up, todos mis heroes eran musicos (all my heroes were musicians). It was so much fun porque estaban locos mis tios (because my uncles were crazy). (laughs)

EM: How young were you when you first started performing with your dad's conjunto?

RGJ: I started playing professionally the drums con mi dad when I was eight years old.

EM: Do you have any favorite memories from the times you've spent with him and your uncles, playing music?

RGJ: My favorite thing was going out with ellos en gira (them on tour). Nombre, I would have the time of my life!

EM: How does it feel now to have your son Ricky III follow in your footsteps?

RGJ: I'm so proud of him. Ricky is a real good musician. He's a top of the line musician, aqui en el Valle. Outstanding. He plays drums, bass, bajo-sexto, and the accordion. He learned (the accordion) in seven months. He's got it in his blood.

He looks so much like my dad. Parece que tengo a mi dad ahi cuando estamos on stage (It looks like I have my dad on stage when we play today).

EM: Your bandmate Sergio "Checko" Gonzalez won the "Bass Player of the Year" prize at the "Conjunto of the Year" award show in July. This isn't the first time you've won an award there. Can you talk about other times your conjunto has been honored?

RBJ: Oh yes, several of my musicians have won some awards. My drummer Juan Tellez tambien got "Drummer of the Year" (in 2009).

I have quite a bit of them there at the house. (laughs) We won "Conjunto of the Year" in 2008. Myself I got conjunto "Male Vocalist of the Year" (in 2011), tambien.

EM: To those that haven't seen you play, how would you describe your bajo-sexto and conjunto style?

RBJ: We sound a lot like my dad's (conjunto) pero it's becoming a more progressive sound. We go kind of wild in the music, kind of jazzy. I think we have a pretty nice show.  

EM: When talking to Pepe Maldonado, he told me the first group he ever sang for was for your dad's conjunto in the 1950's. Considering how long ago that was, does it seem like he's part of the family now?

RBJ: Oh yeah. Pepe used to sing for my dad. Pepe would say mi papa fue el que le enseño a cantar (my dad was the one that taught him how to sing). He's an outstanding man.

EM: How do you feel when you perform at Pepe's place (La Lomita Park)?

RBJ: I always want to play for Pepe. I'm so proud of him for putting on conjunto events pa' que no se muera (so it won't die). I think we were a dying breed pero I think we're doing pretty good now. Pepe's is the main place to go for conjunto. A lot of people come from San Antonio, from all over the place, just to go to La Lomita.

EM: Thank you for your time.

RBJ: Gracias.

Who: Ricardo Guzman Jr. y Sus Tres Aces and Los Tremendos Alacranes
Time: 6:00 PM
Date: 8/31
Cost: $10.00
Phone Number and Website: 956-867-8783 or visit
Location: La Lomita Park, in McAllen.

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