TIMBALERO & MISSION PRODIGY
Where and when were you born and when did you start to play the timbales or any other instruments?
I was born on August 19th, 1973 in San Francisco, California at Saint Luke’s Hospital.I stated to play Timbales at the age of 1yrs old.
What do you remember about those early days of playing??
I always enjoyed to play the timbales and drums but it was overwhelming performing in front of thousands of people when you are 3 years old. But in time I got used to it.
How much of an influence was your father Chepito Areas? Tell us what you see Chepito’s playing like??
I would listen to my fathers records while he was touring with the Santana Band, my father had his studio in the house and I knew how to run the equipment so I’d play the Santana records and play along with my timbales. My father’s timbale style is unique it has so much flavour and is funky, jazzy and very explosive. You know his sound when you hear him on the Santana Records. He influenced me to play tasty solos on the timbales and made me tell a story when I played.
Tell, us about Chepito’s ALL STAR band in the day what were they like??
I was only one years old when the Jose Chepito Areas solo album came out but it was always playing in the house on the record player, in the United States and in Nicaragua in our family home in Leon, Nicaragua. I know this record had the all-star musicians from the San Francisco bay area in the salsa, latin rock, jazz and rock and roll scene, it’s a great record.
How is your playing different to Chepito’s??
My playing is similar because he is the Father of Latin Rock and everyone has to play his licks and fills……but to have my own flavour and sound. I mix it up with Rumba licks and Brazilian samba licks and straight ahead jazz licks.
Who are your favourite timbale players or Latin percussionists??
My dad Jose Chepito Areas, Tito Puente Ibae, Manny Oquendo Ibae, Calixto Oviedo, Orestes Vilato, Sheila Escovedo, Antonio Portuondo, Pepe Espinosa, Jose Luis Quintana “Changuito” for the timbales!!!! For the tumbadoras or congas; Tata Guines Ibae, Mongo Santamaria Ibae, Patato Valdez Ibae, Jesus Alfonso Miro Ibae, Ray Barreto Ibae, Miguel Anga Diaz Ibae, Rolando Salgado”El Nino Mentira”
What was your first musical break or recording??
My first musical major performance was playing with the Santana Band in 1976 New Year’s Eve at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. It was a sold out show with Santana and the Grateful Dead. I performed Oye Como Va with the Santana band. I was three years old and my father Chepito had me play.
Tell us about the SHORELINE Santana reunion show in 1988, you played at that with the original band it was very interesting – tell us about that night with them???
It was very, very exciting! My father playing in the reunion concert with all the original members of Santana…..it was very special……I had the opportunity to play as well on Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen and my dad gave me the Timbale solo and we did a duet. I also was honored to play Oye Como Va on timbales, it was very special to share the stage with all the great musicians in the band. I was about 15 years old playing my heart out with The Santana Band……..20th anniversary, a real milestone classic.
What were your music influences then, what turned you on to music and excited you??
Santana, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Malo, Sapo with Richard Bean, I loved Latin rock music; I loved the congas of Patato Valdez y Mongo Santamaria and Jerry Gonzalez. The sound of the congas, the rthymn and the feeling of excitement.
When did you hook up with Gregg Rolie, and what was it like playing with Mike Carabello??
I connected with Gregg Rolie when they were recording the Abraxas Pool CD in 1994. I recorded with my father and his All – Star band, with Gregg Rolie, Michael Carabello, Neal Schon, Jose Chepito Areas , Alphonso Johnson and Michael Shrieve. It was awesome playing with Abraxas Pool and playing with uncle Michael Carabello was beautiful……..he’s a great conguero with his signature style…….we have had great times playing throughout the years.
Tell us about playing on Abraxas Pool, where was it recorded, you played on Ya Llego?? Right – tell us more about that???
When we recorded Ya Llego for Abraxas Pool.we were at the old Journey recording studio in Oakland, CA my father and I wrote Ya Llego, a Rumba Guaguanco, featuring Michael Carabello, Jose Chepito Areas and Me on Quinto……Alphonso Johnson on the bass with the tasty bass line, they added singers after…..Carlito Franco and some other of my dad’s friend
What about the newer percussionist for Gregg Rolie, Elliot “Toby” Borrerro?? How did you meet him and hook up with him?
Elliot Toby Borrero is a great conguero and a great friend of mine. I met him at the Guitar Center in 2000, I was working there before I started touring with The Gregg Rolie Band. Toby and I had a open Jam Session at Guitar Center San Francisco when it was on Mission St. We became very close throughout the years.
What records have you done with Gregg, what were your next projects then?
I recorded on the Abraxas Pool CD, the Gregg Rolie Band “Roots” CD and the Gregg Rolie Band “Rain Dance” Live CD.
I have my very own Latin Jazz Band now, The Adrian Areas Latin Jazz Ensemble we have a two CD Deal with Pursuance Records. The first CD is “Inspiracion”, it will be released in June 2012 to be followed by the CD “After the Rain”, which is the second CD. I have an all star band featuring Alex Specht on Piano, Antonio Garcia on baby bass, Elliot Toby Borrero on quinto, cajon, bongos, shekere, campana y guiro, Sandor Merlin Moss on drums and Adrian Areas on the Tumbadoras. We have original material and great arrangements of jazz standards with intense rythmn changes and very tasty melodic material.
Tell us about other recording or live music projects you have been involved with?
I have recorded with The Steve Miller Band, Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Braxton Brothers, Mingus Amungus, Gregg Rolie Band. I have my very own Adrian Areas Latin Jazz Ensemble with a two CD deal with Pursuance records. First CD is called “Inspiracion”, the second is called “After the Rain”. I’m also involved in the Project de Congueros with Adrian Areas, Javier Navarrette,and Jaz Sawyer. We have a two CD deal with Pursuance Records, it’s a heavy duty band.The Next generation of Latin Jazz. I’m continuing touring with the Gregg Rolie Band. I’ve been with Gregg Rolie Band for 12 years and I’m extremely blessed and extremely grateful to be able to play my music with great friends. Thanks to God!!
What kind of music are you trying to do on these CD’
The latest things I’m creating is tasty Latin jazz….preserving Latin jazz is very important to me, listening to Tito Puente and Jerry Gonzalez and The Fort Apache Band ,The Afro Cuban Allstars all have been influential to my playing percussion. Listening to the great Armando Peraza, Carlos ‘Patato’ Valdez and Mongo Santamaria helped shape my style of playing, also Rumba De Cuba like the Munequitos de Matanzas. Los Papines,Yoruba Andabo, Rumberos de Cuba all have influenced my playing percussion. My heart is with Latin Jazz, it helps me to be free and at the same time challenge my playing style with endless improvisation. Latin Jazz is what I’m doing with my solo project “Adrian Areas Latin Jazz Ensemble”
Tell us about Latin rock percussion playing, what makes it different to you?
Latin Rock playing is different and very intense and loud its Rock Music!!!!! More cowbell!!!! You have a lot of musical freedom because the timbales, is a lead instrument in Latin Rock music, like the guitar it has its spotlight. You have to use your ears and wisdom of playing to reproduce a signature sound. It’s a formula, like the great Armando Peraza says” you have to have the Groove and then everything else builds and when its time to solo you do what you do with your own sound”
How do you see Latin rock timbale solos, what ‘story” are you trying to tell Adrian???
My life, the good times, bad times, sad times, funny times, I mix it up……thanks to God I’m here to tell the story……when I solo its deep because of all the practice all the sacrifice all the hard work and dedication……it all comes out. The river is deep and full of magic”
About other timbaleros in the Latin Rock SF scene and beyond that you admire?? Then and also now??
I like Gibby Ross on timbales he’s amazing and Tony Menjivar on congas, also Raul Rekow is a great conguero and Karl Perazo is a wonderful timbalero. Michael Carabello and Jose Chepito Areas; what a combination. Coke Escovedo and Pete Escovedo are great players and composers as well. Sheila Escovedo is a great timbalero and conguera, I admire her style and how she crossed over to jazz, pop, rock and R&B. I’m a true fan of Sheila and I always looked up to her. Elliot Toby Borrero is heavy duty on the tumbadoras and a great friend. I’ve also been influenced by Rolando Salgado “El Nino Mentira. The conga player for the Afro Cuban Allstars. Gracias Nino por Inspirarme. I have to say thanks to God for blessing me with the gift of playing music.
Tags: ADRIAN AREAS, MISSION, PRODIGY, TIMBALERO