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Surrounding himself in mystery and giving out little or no information about his history, Cisco drove out of Fresno, through Bakersfield and down the historic 99 highway to Los Angeles during the 1980s. Of Italian ancestry, he was deeply influenced early on by Dean Martin and Elvis. His country connections were derived from the local Bakersfield Sound that flowed through the central valley region of California and the Outlaw Movement of the 1970's.
Arriving in Los Angeles, Cisco struggled to find the sound he heard in his head. After 10 years he started to put the pieces of the puzzle together and found musicians whom he could work with. By 1997 he had joined up with long time L.A. steel phenomenon and hot-shot guitarist Chris Lawrence. Working together, they went into the studio to record demos of Cisco's songs. Later former Lonesome Strangers bassist Jeff Roberts joined the band. Drummer Bogie Bowles, a transplant from the Carolinas, rounded things off nicely.
A stunning physical presence, Cisco walked and dressed the part of a country music outlaw from the San Joaquin Valley. With careful precision, he exuded a wild charm that belied the intelligent, sensitive individual beneath. Still, his live shows were events that started to generate a buzz along the west coast while at the same time causing some to wonder if he wasn't just a bit too dangerous. As theatrical as any live performer before or since, Cisco attacked his work with an ideal that few could achieve. His demand for perfection pushed those around him to their limits. Still, many began to see the same fire and substance in Cisco that they saw early on in another once-struggling performer, Dwight Yoakam.
In 1998 the industry was more than aware of this dark, intense man who commanded the attention of everyone when he set foot upon a stage. Label interest was generated, but few had the heart or the gumption to take on as strong a personality as Cisco. Choosing to do his first CD as an independent, Cisco hooked up with Mike Ness of the punk band Social Distortion. Along with James Saez, Ness took Cisco and his band, now known as the Reasons Why, into Dusty Wakeman's Mad Dog Studios to record. Released in the summer of 1998, Wishing You Well From the Pink Motel not only demanded that the music industry pay attention to Cisco, but it also provided the push many labels needed to consider signing such a unique traditionalist with so sharp an edge and such a stinging bite.