Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

December 13, 2006

San Rafael – Not just a city

Another link under the music category on the site is for the San Rafael Band. The San Rafael Band is headed up by a fellow I’ve known for over 25 years, Rafael Vasquez. Rafael’s various versions of the band include a trio, and quartet, and the full band (which I think is 6 or 7 pieces). The web site that’s linked is one that I threw together for him a while back. Now, if he would only keep the upcoming dates updated…

Rafael plays guitar. Now that I think about it, that’s a major understatement. I’d have to say he’s one of the best guitar players I’ve ever heard (I’m not just saying that because he’s a friend; first time I heard him in the studio I was blown away). I’ve heard him play everything from jazz to disco to blues to rock to you name it.

In 1981 (I think it was), I did live sound for a band he was in called The Mix. Rafael, the bass player and the keyboard player were all session musicians at the studio in Knoxville that I worked at part time. (The drummer and lead singer was a fellow named Michael Kitts, who was maybe a little over 5 feet tall; he could really belt out the vocals while playing the drums).

One night we were in a club in Gatlinburg and Rafael was doing a solo and broke a string. I’ve seen other guitar players just completely freak out when they break a string (e.g. Alex Lifeson of Rush; I saw him go through three guitars in one song; every time he’d break a string, he’d stop playing, throw the guitar over to his guitar tech, and pick up another one). You could tell Rafael was “mad” that the guitar string had the nerve to break; instead of the normal length for his solo, he probably played three or four times as long. I just sat behind the mixing board with my mouth open; it was one of the best guitar solos I’ve ever heard (I’m getting chills just remembering it).

When I moved to Nashville in ’82, Rafael had already been here about 6 months (I actually moved to Nashville to do sound for the band he was in at the time called Romeo; the drummer, Ron Ganaway, now plays for Gretchen Wilson). They would do a song called “Goin’ Down” that Rafael sang lead vocals on. In the middle where he was doing the guitar solo, he’d make his Stratocaster sound like a set of bagpipes (and that’s without any of those stomp boxes they have nowadays). Folks would ask them to do the song with the bagpipes when we’d go back to clubs.

Anyway, Rafael’s thing these days is Latin Jazz. He plays around at a  lot of local Nashville Clubs as well as venues around the state. His site has samples of the songs from his two cd’s and his unfinished third cd, so head on over and check it out.

2 Comment(s)

  1. Brenda | Dec 16, 2006 | Reply

    Speaker of singing drummers, I’ve noticed that Jimmy Lester mouths the words when he plays for Webb. Do you think he’s actually singing backup?

  2. Glen | Dec 18, 2006 | Reply

    I think I’ve only seen a microphone on him one time, so I think he’s singing as much to himself as anyone.

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