(1) Where and when were you born and when did you start to play the congas/Drums or any other instruments?
I was born in 1954 in Managua, Nicaragua. I played guitar as a kid but opted for running the streets of the Mission district better. I began dabbling on congas in 1968 at 14.
(2) What was your first musical break or recording?? My most hypnotic moment was performing with the band “Soul Sauce” which included Leo Rosales and played originals.
We played 3 tunes at a Cesar Chavez concert in San Jose at SJ State. The other bands at this benefit for the farm workers were Steve Miller Band, Doobie Brothers, and Joan Baez. We were in great company and the crowd responded really loud to us. At that moment I knew I would have a life in music. I was fortunate at 17 to be asked to record on Malo Dos with Francisco Aguabella. He was one of the 3 juggernauts that inspired all of us.
(3) Tell us about your growing up, any funny or interesting anecdotes
My older brother Ron was one of the 1st Tropical DJ’s in the bay area and promoted the Latin music scene that eventually became the SF salsa scene. One time in the 60′s I was 9 and sleeping in the coatroom at one of the dances that Coke and Pete Escovedo were performing at for my brother. Pete and Coke were in my life always, because my brother my brother Ron was a DJ. I heard screams and yells of delight and witnesses this Yoda looking little black dude going off. It was the legendary percussion icon Armando Peraza. He is one of my dearest friends to their day.
(4) What were your music influences then, what turned you on to music and excited you??
I loved Elvis, Dusty Springfield and the Beatles. My Mother was not professional singer but sang Tropical love tunes daily. Those songs are dear to me to this day.
(5) How did you develop as a musician, what teachers etc or were you self-taught?
My brother Ron took one conga lesson with Mongo Santamaria. He taught a pattern called Tumbao. I taught it to Raul Rekow and we were happy to know an authentic rhythm.
(6) Tell us about your involvement with earlier groups in SF etc, how did you get to join, what were the other bands you were involved in that San Francisco Scene?
The first band was a cover band called JJMad that did Santana covers. Soul Sauce, Mega and Cisum were other bands that I played in back in the early 70s.
(7) What are your memories of early Latino rock, Malo, Santana, etc, what did you feel about these days and times?
I was hypnotized by the 1st Santana band I watched at The Fillmore West. To this day I write bass lines that mimic David Brown, Santana’s first bassist.
The other thing was my family knew Chepito Areas from Nicaragua. He coached me in my conga infancy. Pete Escovedo was a great influence on me and remains dear to me to this day.
(8) What do you remember about playing with Malo (Dos record) plus any other recordings from then?
The conga Baptism that Francisco Aguabella gave me on “Oye Mama” was unforgettable. Richard Kermode really opened my eyes musically.
(10) When did you join Malo, what were your next projects then? Tell us about the recordings you have made with them?
I never was a member of Malo. I was invited to participate on Malo Dos and that was it. I got to play on Malo Dos because of Leo Rosales.
(11) How did the massive drugs/party scene back then affect you personally/if at all?
I was not interested in clouding my skills. My father was an alcoholic and I knew it was not good.
(12) Tell us about Latin rock scene; what makes it different to you, about your style? About other drummers in the Latin Rock SF scene and beyond that you admire?? Then and now?
Lets talk about musicians. I was completely turned on about the music scene we had here in the late 60′s and 70′s. My song writing today is impacted by all of the influences; Saint Bill Graham brought us here in SF. Bill Graham invented the rock concert.
(14) Tell us about you latest recording and the group you have now?
My latest albums are “Canciones De El Pinolero” and the “Sarita Collection” by Bermudez Triangle on iTunes. The first CD mentioned includes a smooth Jazz version of “Suavecito” with 3 great lady vocalists on it. I don’t have a group. Done babysitting musicians. I write and record tunes for submission to TV and film. I collaborate with musicians writing and use musicians on a have to basis. They play great, get paid and fed and that’s it. Gracias
(15) Plans for the future?
My songs are heard on “Cable TV’s “Dexter” show on the Showtime network. I’ve had songs on many TV shows and would love to have more in movies. I work hard at song writing and you can hear many of the tunes atwww.bermudeztriangle.com <http://www.bermudeztriangle.
(16) Some thoughts on being a musician today
It’s hard for young musicians coming up because DJ’s and technology has taken lots of the live work away.
Ultimately the love keeps you in the music. My life is as a songwriter-Producer these days. I am not putting a band together anytime soon. 57 years old and I don’t like babysitting musicians any more.
All my CD’s are on iTunes.
My bio is on www.bermudeztriangle.com <http://www.bermudeztriangle.
You can get recording credits there if you choose.
My creative world is in LA but I choose to live in Northern California.
Tags: Bill Graham, Chepito Areas, Coke Escovedo, Dexter, Francisco Aquabella, Jorge Bermudez Malo, Latin Rock, Malo Dos. Jorge Santana, Mission District, Mongo Santamaria, Nicaragua, Pete Escovedo, Raul Rekow, Santana, Showtime, The Fillmore