OG El Paso Local Loco Legends Rearise
El Paso has always had a very vibrant local music scene and the local locos of today truly stand on the shoulders of giants.
Going back as far as the 60's, El Paso has, literally and figuratively, rocked. The 70's were apparently a particularly good time to catch great bands around here. My own involvement in the local scene wouldn't really kick in until the late 80's/early 90's when I first began playing in bands myself. (More about those days later.)
One of my first experiences with "local locos" came in the early 80's when my brother, KLAQ's Program Director at the time, took me along with him to an album signing at a local record store. I remember being amazed to find these guys were not only very cool and down to earth but also "homies". Genuine rock stars from right here in El Paso? How could that be? Rock stars came from L. A. or England ... exotic, faraway places. Not El Chuco. Yet here they were, in the flesh, and young Dubba G felt like he was meeting The Beatles.
They had started out in El Paso in the late 70's as The Plugz but had recently changed their name to The Cruzados. They had just released an album on Arista Records and had also just filmed one of the earliest, modern rock videos for a song called "Motorcycle Girl".
MTV was in its infancy so, The Cruzados were breaking new ground at multiple levels.
Unfortunately, the "business" of rock n roll would prove more than they could bear and the band dissolved after only 2 albums. (And a quick cameo in the opening credits to the film Road House) The individual Cruzados, however, were not done with the music world.
Drummer Charlie, aka "Chalo", Quintana, went on to work with Izzy Stradlin, Cracker, Bob Dylan and others including a 10 year stint with punk legends Social Distortion. We all got along well that day at the record store but Chalo and I really clicked decades later after meeting again at a Social Distortion show. We stayed in touch by phone and got together whenever he was in town for drinks and "shop talk" about music. He passed away in 2018 and I still think of him often. He was one of the coolest people I have ever met.
Guitarist Marshall Rohner also carried on as a musician working with bands like Dino's Revenge, Jimmy and The Mustangs, Kenny Brown and T. S.O.L. Marshall passed away in 2005.
Vocalist/Guitarist Tito Larriva has had a prolific musical career most widely known for his work with Tito Y Tarantula. He also teamed up with Oingo Boingo members for Psychotic Aztecs and has several acting credits to his name.
Bassist Tony Marsico became a much sought after producer, session and touring musician, working with peeps like his old friend Tito as well as Bob Dylan, Matthew Sweet, The Divinyls, Neil Young, Roger Daltrey, Marianne Faithfull, and Willie Nelson among others.
He decided that the 3rd album The Cruzados never got to make, needed to be made. During a pandemic induced period of isolation, he ... like most of the rest of us ... did some soul searching and decided to make that record. Tony recruited some like-minded musicians, did some writing and voila, "She's Automatic" came to be.
The Cruzados went through some s*** but, never truly "broke up". There were issues but, just so you know, they remained friends ... family as Tony himself says ... throughout. As for the new album:
I felt like I got shortchanged with the Cruzados. We never got to put out a third album, due to a lot of crazy circumstances that cropped up. I wanted to do the band justice and go out on a high note. That was my goal, and to pay tribute to Chalo and Marshall.” - Tony Marsico