Meeting Ruben Blades

Featuring: Ralph Irizarry
Time: 3:31 minutes
Excerpt:"And I hear him saying to the guy, 'Who's -- who's that in my bedroom with the remote control drinking my Cokes?' They said, 'That's your new timbalero, Ralph Irizarry!'"
full transcript

Rubén Blades was like no other band leader.  He wanted to have meetings with the musicians before we played one note of music.  You know, he said, "No, before we play music we're going to talk about all kind of stuff, how you guys want to dress, how much money you want to make, when are we going to do the record," blah blah, this and that.  So we were having a --  So he says, "OK, we're going to have our first meeting at my house."  He used to live on 81st and Columbus Circle or something like that.  So we go to his house, and all the musicians meet outside.  And the doorman tells us, "Rubén's not here, but he left the door open, and he left instructions with me that you guys should just go up."

So we go upstairs, and everybody goes into the living room.  And, you know, me, I'm -- I'm like looking like this, and I see a bag of chips, of potato chips on the counter in the kitchen.  So I say, "Shit, I'm -- I'm kind of hungry."  So I open up the chips.  And I go to the guys.  "Anybody want some potato --?"  "Where'd you get that?"  I said, “No, it was here on the thing.  It's probably for us anyway."  You know.

"Alright."  So they take some chips.  But I've got the bag of chips.  But then I get thirsty.  So then I said, "Damn, I'm thirsty."  So I go to the refrigerator, and I open up the refrigerator, and he had, you know, some cans of Coca-Cola.  So I grab a can of Coke, and I flip it open.  And now I've got the potato chips, and I'm drinking some Coca-Cola.  And so I'm just there in the kitchen.

And then I see this door.  I said, "I wonder what's on the other side of that door."  He's not there, you know.  I mean --  (laughs)  So I go, and I opened the door, and it's his bedroom.  It's got like a big TV -- and this bedroom.  You know.  The remote control's on the bed.  So I go, and I've got my can of Coke, and I've got my potato chips.  I put the can of Coke down, and I grab the remote control, and I turn on the TV.  (laughs)  So everybody's like, "Ralph, what are you doing?

"Nothing.  I'm not doing nothing!"

So now I turn on the TV.  So I'm drinking my Coca-Cola, and I'm eating my potato chips, and now I'm flicking the channels.  He's got cable.  You know.  And so I sit on the bed.  You know?  And I've got this, and I'm eating.  And I -- I started leaning back a little bit, like that.  He had all these pillows, you know?  So I started leaning back.  And I've got the remote control, and I've got the can of Coke here, and, as I'm flicking the channels, and I'm taking a sip of the Coke and leaning on bed, almost laying down on the bed, the door opens, of the bedroom, and Rubén Blades looks into the room (laughs) and sees me laying down in the bed with a Coca-Cola and the remote control!

And he just peeked through like this, and he just put his head back and closed the door and walks out.  And I'm like, "Oh, my G--!"  And I'm turning off the TV.  And I hear him saying to the guy, "Who's -- who's that in my bedroom with the remote control, (laughs) drinking my Cokes," and stuff like that.  

They said, "That's your new timbalero, Ralph Irizarry!"