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Afro-Cuban Funk,Jazz,Reggae,Salsa,Soul with Lyrical Genius
About the Artist
Sixteen arms, Eight heads, One heart
With heart-stopping grooves and breath-taking musicianship, B-Side Players traverse a seemingly endless road. It begins at the Mexican border and stretches northward through Los Angeles to the Bay Area; to the Pacific Northwest; then southward back across the arid deserts to Arizona, New Mexico and points beyond.
Relentless touring has won the band a rapidly multiplying audience; a veritable rainbow of fans -- all races, all ages. "We'll have young kids at our shows say, 'Next time I'm going to bring my parents!' laughs front man/vocalist, Karlos.
Steeped in the Afro-Cuban tradition, the B-Side Players individual members have been raised on styles ranging from traditional Mexican and church music; plus absorbing jazz, reggae, hip-hop and healthy doses of punk rock. "Beethoven to Curtis Mayfield," laughs Karlos. "One side of the band is college-educated, deep into music theory; the other side is the street orientation -- the soul. We're putting it together."
All in their early-mid '20s, the San Diego-based band -- nine musicians, including complete percussion and horn sections -- performs in a variety of venues, but festivals are their favorites. These have included New Orleans by the Bay at the Shoreline Amphitheater in San Francisco; headlining the Earth Day Festivals in San Diego and Chico; at the Mountain Aire festival in Calaveras with Ben Harper and the Grateful Deads' Micky Hart, Phil Lesh and friends.
The B-Side Players have also shared stages with musical compadres Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, Wailing Souls, Ben Harper, Cubanismo, Los Van Van, Poncho Sanchez, War, Pete Escovedo, Sugar Hill Gang, Spearhead and Brian Setzer. The band's ability to tailor-make shows for specific venues is an all-access pass to a number of stages. "We do the hippie thing big time, then the next night we're in a high-end salsa club," explains Karlos. The band has also been featured at illustrious venues including the Fillmore and Maritime Hall in San Francisco and House of Blues and The Conga Room in Los Angeles.
The band's debut CD, Renacimiento, (Sestwide Inc./High Vibe Records) was an instant favorite with their audiences. "We couldn't figure out why we were getting mail from places we haven't played yet," said Karlos, "but we figured out people were buying the CDs at our shows and sending them across country to friends and relatives." Their follow-up release, Culture of Resistance, takes the band one giant step further. Although they anticipate the visibility that a major label deal will eventually afford, for now maintaining the integrity of their music -- complete with incisive lyrical observations -- is key.
Ultimately, what the B-Side Players create is real world music -- and their destiny is to be a local world band. On their rare days off, they enjoy conducting workshops on African percussion at elementary schools. "We bring it to people who are still thinking about things," they say. "People who are set in their ways listen and judge -- which is fine -- but we like to play for those who are open and understand that there are no boundaries in this world."
Band Members: Karlos SOLRAK Paez ( lead vocals, trumpet); Giovanni TIO GIO Mejia ( guitar, vocals ); Gerry G-FORCE Guevara ( bass, vocals ); Reagan RIZZI GIZZI Branch ( sax, flute ); Ryan RANDELL Moran ( drums, perc. ); Luis EL GENERAL Cuenca ( timbales, perc., vocals ); Victor EL OSO Tapia ( congas, bongos, shekere, perc., vocals ); Ivory EL ELEFANTE Daniel ( congas, bongos, shekere, vocals ).