INTERVIEW

Playing for the Busboys

Featuring: Willie Herron
Time: 3:09 minutes
Excerpt:"We were basically singing, doing our whole set dodging stuff, dude, through our entire set, but we played the whole set, and then YNT asked us to go back to their dressing room, and they congratulated us because they said no one has ever been accepted opening up for them. And then when we went to our dressing room, all the bus boys were in there and they were all crying. They were actually crying for us because of what we were singing about, what we were about, and they were all Latino, Mexicanos."
full transcript

     In East LA, they used to call us 'TJs' and 'wetbacks' because we were singing in Spanish.  The minute that we started to, to use the Spanish language, that completely turned off a lot of our audience because they were in, I feel that, you know, they were, they were like some of us maybe being raised to, not to speak Spanish, even though Spanish was being spoken at home. I feel that a lot of 'em were in denial of just being connected with their background, and a lot of 'em didn't want to be, didn't want to be associated with Chicanos and Mexicans.  They, I just feel that a lot of 'em were very confused, and today I feel that a lot of 'em are still confused because their, maybe their parents were activists, their parents came out of the Vietnam protest, out of that period in the early '70s. There was a lot of awareness that came on in the community, and a lot of Chicanos became aware of their identity and sort of became redefined, and I feel that a lot of their children have sort of evolved into denying that connection and denying that past in their work.  You know, they're probably living at home, and they were raised the way that I was raised, but I incorporated that lifestyle into my work, and a lot of the young kids don't seem to be doing that.

     We did do a concert in San Francisco at the Keystone when we opened up for YNT, which was a heavy metal band on A&M Records at the time, and that was kind of a strange booking, and again we survived.  We played our entire set, they threw stuff at us, they...  I remember like the second song, they rammed the microphone into my teeth, and luckily, you know, I moved in time that it didn't chip my tooth, and Bill also got a can, whatever it was they threw at him, got him pretty good, and we were basically singing, doing our whole set dodging stuff, dude, through our entire set, but we played the whole set, and then YNT asked us to go back to their dressing room, and they congratulated us because they said no one has ever been accepted opening up for them.  He said, they said, "All these people come to see us, and we congratulate you because you're the first group that played their entire set and wasn't intimidated by the crowd."  And then when we went to our dressing room, all the bus boys were in there and they were all crying.  They were actually crying for us because of what we were singing about, what we were about, and they were, they were crying.  They were in our dressing room hugging us, and they were all in tears, all the waiters, and they were all Latino, Mexicanos.