ANGEL OROZCO JR:
The life and times of a Latin Rock drummer………… PART 2
ANGEL OROZCO JR:
The life and times of a Latin Rock drummer…………
Angel Orozco; although not known in the forefront of the Latin Rock vanguard, is a sterling example of a versatile drummer whose musical career has traversed a varied gamut of bands and players thru the seventies and eighties and into the nineties. He has played with, among others, Poncho Sanchez, El Chicano, Evil, Thee Midniters with Willie G, Changing Times, Chepito Areas and Cobra, Rubicon (with Jerry Martini), Attitude (with Chepito, Mike Carabello, Karl Perazzo and David Brown) and Puro Bandido as well.
Please note this an honest, unflinching account of hard, riotous times in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Those of a more sensitive disposition can choose not to read. It contains stories of hard drug usage plus the resultant crazed behaviour that comes with this territory. Many people from that Latin Rock era fell foul of these new narcotics (especially the revival in wide spread cocaine and heroin use) that engulfed the USA from the early 1970’s onwards. If the Latin rock scene is a microcosm of the entire USA music scene, then God help musicians and others, then and now! Particularly then; as the encroaching dangers from these drugs, were not entirely evident to these musicos, at least at first.
As someone who has been in recovery and clean and sober for nearly twenty-six years, a day at a time, my heart goes out to these dazzling young persons, who fell foul of this modern-day pestilence that destroyed their talent and opportunities and that has and is sweeping our world! The historic bubonic plague has got nothing on this horrendous, malevolent epidemic!
Angel plays with El Chicano, Santana, Cobra, Chepito Areas, Rubicon (with Jerry Martini) Attitude (with Mike Carabello and David Brown, Puro Bandido and more…..
First, the El Chicano band days in Los Angeles………….
El Chicano days! I performed with this band from 1974/75 to 1976 off and on! The line up was then…Bobby Espinosa/Hammond B3 and Vocals, Mike Albert, Guitar or sometimes Jerry Salas/Guitar & vocals, Hector Andrade/Timbales, Lee Pastores or Sergio Pastores/congas, David Torres/Piano and myself on drums. I cannot remember the bass players name. Bobby hired different bass players so it is hard to remember what the name of the bass player on the picture that I will attach! Bobby Espinosa was a sweetheart! I used to go to his house and work on the bands material and Bobby’s brother Henry was also a good organist but Henry could really play the piano. Henry was the one that taught Bobby how to play. The Espinosa brother’s had a grand piano in their living room. Henry would always go out and get burritos, tortillas, tacos, whatever we wanted and Bobby would continue to work out the arrangement for the band with me. Bobby lived at his mother’s old house that was all barred up, you know living in E.L.A. was tough and that was off the Atlantic Boulevard. Exit off the I-5 freeway. I cannot remember the name of the street that the house was on. I spend a lot of time there with the brothers. Bobby was a funny cat, good jokes, and a hell of a Hammond B3 player. The whole band would practice at an old building in Hollywood of Melrose Avenue. The pictures that I sent you is where those where taken at.
Remember I told you about baseball. Well, Bobby and Henry also loved baseball. In those days I was a Dodger fan like the brothers where. One year the Dodgers won the World Series and I think that was sometime in the 1970′s. Well Bobby and some other friends went to downtown L.A. to rout and cheer for the Dodgers. Now, as I told you before I always smoked pot and so did Bobby. At the celebration parade pot was being passed around. When the mary-jane came to us we got busted for a roach, when and by the time it got to us. The cops hassled us maybe because we both had long hair, who knows? The hassled us for about 15 minutes and finally let us go. What a drag that was but later on Bobby and I would laugh about it. Both of us knowing that was a close one. I am very honored to been able to work with him and especially to be one of his amigos!
Bobby, God bless you and rest in peace my dear friend
The first time I saw Hector Andrade (timbalero) was with the band, Caldera. I sure liked that band; they were hot. When Bobby told me that Hector is the guy and that he is in my band playing the timbales, Wow that’s great I said. Hector was/is not like Chepito or the Escovedos. He had nice rhythms and had good showmanship. Hector was/is a straight-ahead cat. I really enjoyed working with him.
Hector and Carmelo have the same kind of the style. At least that is my opinion. Hector where ever you are, THANK YOU & GOD BLESS YOU!
We toured but the one time I remember is I when we toured Texas. One of the places we played at was the Astro Dome, which is no longer there but anyway we got to open for Santana & Santa Esmeralda. Anyway, I thought to myself I finally get to meet the Santana band and I did.
Since the El Chicano Band was not doing much. We tried to do and recorded a music score for a movie that Lee & Sergio Pastoras from the Gino Vinelli Band, (they also worked with Eric Clapton). It did not work out. I still have a rough cut of that recording!
Too bad that the El Chicano band was not working that steady back then? I was lucky to be able to work with many other bands in the LA area. I had my bills and rent to meet. Like I said, I was on my own right after I graduated high school so I worked with many bands and if they were not busy I would look for the one that was. I guess that is why maybe I never really made it, BIG!!!
The recording that both Lee and Sergio Pastora worked on, did not pan out. We did record the song titled Street Boy or Gang Boy? I will have to dig it out and listen to it. I hope it still works for I have it on a cassette tape, I will check it out. The song was never released
I remember buying the anvil cases from Lee Pastora that he got when he was working with the Eric Clapton band. I sure needed them now, for I was starting to commute from Long Beach airport to SF airport, back then it was only $20.00 one way. After so many trips I moved to the Bay Area.
Here it is! Ramon Lopez/congero & Roy Reynolds/Bari Sax for the Stan Kenton Orchestra are the two in the middle.
Conga Players Lee & Sergio Pastora. These two brothers performed, recorded, & toured wih Don Ellis Orchestra, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, Gino Vinelli, Weather Report, and many others.
These two guys were awesome. I actually joined a band in LA that was a fusion band with trumpeter Mark Hatch. In that band were Tom, Bruce and Steve Fowler that played with Frank Zappa’s Band, Richard Torres on sax. Guitar was Grant Giezman. Grant was in the Chuck Manjione band. I think that is how you spell it? We would get together when we could just to do time meters like 7/4, 6/8, 5/4 and other types of crazy meters and fusion styles. This was a real challenge and I learned a lot from these guys. Thank you fellows!!!
1976! The last part of winter I left L.A. and moved up to San Francisco. I remember how my parents, my four brothers, and friends took it, but the one that took it the worst was my dear grandmother Mama Virita, may she rest in peace. My parents have always been so supportive especially with my music and so, they understood. I was tired of the L.A. hot smoggy summers that lay ahead, the traffic and long commutes!!!
Music was an up and down and it would get so tough that I would have to find part time jobs to support my self
I moved out from my parents house right after I graduated so I had learned to take care of myself at a very early age.
So with all of that, I jumped into my 1970 Chevy Super-Sport and hopped onto the I-5 freeway and headed North.
Back then in 1976, the 8 track tapes were the shit. I had a good collection but one of my favorites was Santana’s Welcome album. There is a cut that Richard Kermode composed called, Yours Is The Light. I kept repeating that song so much that I had it down and I was hoping to get to meet Richard and I will get to that later on in our interview.
To all, “KEEP HEALTHY AND CLEAN”!!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Angel Orozco Jr.
Tags: Abel Zarate, Airto, Angel Orozco, Attitude, Bobby Espinosa, Carlos Santana, Changing Times, Cobra, David Brown, Doug Rauch, Jerry Martini, Jim McCarthy, Jose (Chepito) Areas, Latin Rock, Los Angeles, Mike Carabello, Poncho Sanchez, Ramon Banda, Santana, Sly Stone, Stan Marcum, Thee Midniters, Voices of Latin Rock, VOLK, Welcome