Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band

Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band hails from San Francisco and is keeping alive the traditions of Chicano music. It was founded by saxophone player Dr. José Cuellar, who holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and worked at San Francisco State University as the head of Raza Studies. He was raised on the Tejano side of San Antonio, TX, and his young influences included local musicians Clifford Scott and Rocky Morales, a member of the Texas Tornadoes. Cuellar decided to go into music in the 1960's and started out playing a wide variety of standard and esoteric styles ranging from Puerto Rican Pachanga and Charanga to New York Italian Rock to Motown R&B to New Orleans jazz. During the 1970s Cuellar decided an education was more important than being a professional musician and so returned to school. He also played part-time with the band Two Thirds Minority alongside David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez until he decided to earn his doctorate and concentrate on school full-time. He became a professor and after a few years working here and there secured a position at Stanford. Soon he began playing again in bands made up of students and faculty such as Polleros de Aztlan and later Jazteca. Members from these groups comprised then became Dr. Loco's Original Corrido Boogie Band and played a variety of Latino music styles ranging from Tex-Mex to Tropical to rock to R&B. Many of these songs were done in Chicano street patois combining both English and Mexican Spanish as it was Cuellar's original design to create a musical base representative of all aspects of Chicano culture, including political issues. The Boogie band soon gained a following on the California campuses they toured. The soon began appearing throughout the U.S. and in northern Mexico at festivals, on colleges and for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. They also worked with such major artists as Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt and comedian Paul Rodriguez. In 1990, they changed their name to Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band, when the group underwent personnel changes. As of 1993, the lineup was comprised of Cuellar on sax, Mario Barrera, Carlos Campliss and Mark Rendon on drums and percussion, guitarist Chris Gonzales Clark, and Carlos Montoya on bass while Jesus Covarrubias played keyboards and accordion. The horn section was rounded out by trombonist David Stephens and trumpeter Glenn Appell. Though the band is the brainchild of Cuellar, it is very much a unified ensemble and all of the members are good friends with a passion for creating music to move people on many different levels.

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