Through the Past Brightly, February 12 – The Morning Sun

Vuela, vuela, vuela, como yo stolen

Cuando me llevaron preso señorita por usted

Vuela, vuela, vuela, como yo stolen

Cuando me llevaron preso señorita por usted

– Los Lobos de “La Guacamaya”

Through the cold winter

Running on a frozen lake

Hunters hard on his trail

All the odds are against him

With a family to support

But one thing he must keep alive

Will the wolf survive?

– Los Lobos from “Will the Wolf Survive?”

REMUS 2-12-22 I’ve been blessed with many great live music performances in my 70s, from my first show in 1968, when I found myself on stage with Simon and Garfunkel, to my most recent, the Who with the Pretenders, just a few years ago.

A complete list would be exhaustive. Dylan ? Of course, several times. Springsteen? Yeah. Tom Petty? Naturally. Warren Zevon? Do you have to ask? And nearly 100 others. They’re hard to quantify but, without a doubt, one of the best was Los Lobos at the Raven Theater in Healdsburg, CA.

There are several musical artists that I would characterize as the best in America at one time or another – the band in the early 70s, the Talking Heads in the late 70s, and REM in the 80s come to mind. ‘spirit. But on that summer night of 1992, in that little room in Wine Country, it was Los Lobos, manos abajo.

The Raven was a former small town movie theater, built in 1949, originally called the Aven (the owner’s wife’s name spelled backwards) and had long been out of business when we arrived in Healdsburg . In 1990 it was purchased, renamed Raven and dramatically remodeled by Don Hyde, a local impresario who had worked with iconic director, Sam Peckinpah.

The new owner has renovated the neon sign above the marquee by installing a cartoon blackbird – and adding an ‘R’.

A seven-table cafe was attached to the east side of the lobby and nicknamed Ravenous. I was hired to design the logo and paint it on the exterior awning and our friend, Jennifer, a talented chef, was hired to direct it.

The Raven showed first-run films, arthouse films and booked live music. I saw John Lee Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Deborah Harry, Greg Allman, David Lindley and Toad the Wet Sprocket there, but the best show of all was Los Lobos.

Not only was I friends with Don, but at the start of his senior year in high school, my daughter, Angela, was working there. No one would ever let me pay for a ticket, so I always made it a point to spend a small fortune at the concessions counter.

The night I saw Los Lobos was a special night all around. In addition to David Hildago, Cesar Rosas and the boys, a local charity group was selling pints of Red Tail Ale, one of California’s first craft beers, as part of a fundraiser in the lobby of the theater.

I pulled up on my Harley Fat Boy, parked just outside the theater entrance, was greeted by the person in the ticket office, filled each fist with a red tail and got off at the front of the stage, where I stayed for the duration of the show.

The East LA band was superb. Los Lobos’ music is rock and roll, tex-mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music like cumbia, boleros, and norteños.

The group had just released its third album, “Kiko”, conceived by the brilliant producer Mitchell Froom. It was more complex than anything they had done before. They played the entire album, plus favorites like “Will the Wolf Survive?” “Prenda de Alma” and their cover of “La Bamba”, from the Ritchie Valens biopic of the same name.

They swayed mightily – 12 feet in front of my face. America’s Best Band.

It was a quick ride home, a midnight gonzo run down the winding ribbon of Mill Creek Road.

By the way, driving a car or truck after a few pints is “buzzing driving” and should be avoided at all costs. However, if you’re on a motorcycle, it’s RIDING – a totally different thing. I am kidding. I AM KIDDING. Do not do it. I’m serious.

I’m serious.

Y asi paso.


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