Low-rider Magazine, February 1982.
(salvador interviews theresa c., rudy m., and sid m.)
SC: What was school like?
TC: It was a catholic school. I enjoyed reading and studying. For high school I went to Sacred Heart of Jesus. Even the uniforms were ok, I liked the idea of not having to decide what to wear each day. Conforming to the peer group games is what I couldn’t deal with. I eventually dropped out because of that.
SM: I made it through 3 years of Salesian High and then on my fourth my earring became a hassle. I graduated and everything though. It was sort of a cat and mouse game; they would catch me wearing it, give me my walking papers and I would take it off.
SC: When did your musical inclinations begin?
TC: I knew I had the ability to sing in junior high, but even through high school I didn’t have a valid outlet. It wasn’t until I left school that I began to write lyrics seriously and practice singing.
RM: Well, Sid and I are family, I’m his uncle. We grew up together and began classical guitar training at ages 11 and 7. So our musical abilities were exposed to the guitar at an early age.
SC: Were there cholos in Catholic school?
TC: Sure, but they sort of weed them out. Some of my best girlfriends at Sacred Heart were cholas, they were real nice. I always admired them for their will to be different. I think cholos were the original ‘punks.’ True rebels in dress and in stance.
SM: It’s something we came up in the middle-of. But you know, under the defiant mask the cholo wears there are some incredibly bright and artistic minds. It’s just getting over the barrier of “… Hey vato look at me, I’m bad.”
SC: Who are your Heroes, who inspires you?
TC: Everyday people inspire me. The people I see on oh Whittier Blvd., or the ones that come into the Yum Yum donut shop. A place where I write often. As far as heroes, well… I have admiration for Chrissie Hide (the Pretenders), Patsy Valdez (ASCO), and Harry Gamboa Jr.
RM: I also get turned on by local artists. Willie Herron is inspiring, so is Gronk, and watching Anthony of the Undertakers play guitar is a rush for sure.
SM: Little Richard is it! Can’t you tell by the mustache.
SC: How did your parents react to your career choice?
SM: The family probably wishes I was a little more like my brother who will be going to USC next year. But what can I do, I have to follow my own instincts.
TC: My dad has a hard time understanding. He gets excited if we get a write up in the press, but otherwise he wishes I had swayed towards a more traditional career. Education and college was always very important in my home. Beyond that he is a very nice guy and I guess most parents would be concerned.
SC: Tell me about your work habits, practice sessions, etc.
RM: Practice is dead serious. We keep each other in line and our goals are very clear. We’ll get on each others ass if we see too much fooling around. There are too many bands and it’s a very competitive field to be kickback or on drugs or something. To us this is a business and a fulltime job.
SC: Some of your lyrics deal with themes concerning the role of women, why?
TC: What I do as a writer and singer is first of all a statement about women. Our traditional roles as men and women are very unjust. As Chicanos we are oppressed by the society that surrounds us, but in our own homes the oppression is even deeper with the woman being the victim.
Even in livable situations the Mexican woman is underrated. Behind the scenes she is many times the one who keeps the family structure together and she is given little credit for this.
In the modern professional world the sexist attitudes are more subtle. Just working with four men in a band is hell sometimes… but I manage. Many are unconscious attitudes that have been socially bred into our culture… and I think it’s time we weed them out.
SC: To the young poets and songwriters out there, what advice can you give?
TC: Well I write a personal journal and it definitely helps. Writing is like baseball or any other sport. It needs your dedication and daily practice. If you devote yourself to it and practice every day the only thing that can happen is that your style improves.
SC: Tell me about performing at the WHISKY and the ROXY in Hollywood.
TC: Personally it was a very important gig. Like the culmination of all our previous work. The family and friends we had forged at the Vex were all there and it really was “East L.A. night at the Roxy.” From the stage I could see homeboys and the girl friends catching the show. It was the first time we had a mostly Chicano crowd on the west side.
SC: The group has had a great deal of positive press coverage but one article commented that The Brat had no “feelings” for the Chicano community. Can you reply?
TC: Yes, it upset me because it was a cheap inaccurate shot at us. I see politics in personal relationships. Sure, I have written some direct lyrics about things such as police abuse, but most are more subtle. Most of my lyrics deal with the more camouflaged injustices. The ones we commit between two people or between family. The Chicano human experience is very broad and I’m taping on the situations that are most clear to me; the ones I’ve experienced. That’s what I write about, and I hope others can relate to them in their own situations and that they contemplate on the message.
Teresa Covarrubias - Chicana song writer and all around chingona.