Musicians Who Played Taco Land in San Antonio Gather in Art Exhibit at Blue Star Studio

ByJames I. Robertson

Jun 29, 2022

“It was a weeknight and it was hot, but when you’re 20 the heat doesn’t matter,” said Garcia, 52, who played at the club with band Moorish Idol. “Two beers, sweaty, that was all part of it. It was a very cold night.

Garcia, who recently performed with the now inactive band La Chichada and often photographs bands, retired earlier this month after 30 years working for UPS. He now devotes himself full time to Jojodancerphotography studio, his small space in the Blue Star Arts Complex. On the first Fridays, he tidies up his equipment and makes room for gallery visitors. Its objective is to bring together the musical and artistic scenes of the city.

Opening a show at the studio for the First Friday of July Art Walk does just that. It will include works by Garcia, as well as some Taco Land veterans: Karl Lubbering, who played with Three Guys Walking, and Fred Himes, who played there for years with Los Mescaleros.

Music is often a factor in the works of Karl Lubbering, which will be exhibited at the Jojodancerphotography Studio at the Blue Star Arts Complex.

Karl Lubber

Saturday’s artists’ reception will include performances by Himes, Lubbering and Xavier Aguirre, who performed with the Infidels.

Taco Land, which opened in the 1960s, nurtured the city’s underground music scene for decades. It closed in 2005 after owner Ramiro “Ram” Ayala and doorman “Gypsy” Doug Morgan were shot and killed during a robbery. The spot is now part of the Velvet Taco restaurant chain.

Garcia was introduced to Taco Land as a youth by his uncle, Jack Barber, who played with the Sir Douglas Quintet.

“What was really cool was it wasn’t a trendy place — homeless people were hanging out there,” Garcia said. “It was right downtown. Ram seemed to be equally rude and equally nice to everyone at the same time.

Lubbering, who is a guitarist and painter, played Taco Land on Sunday nights for years with Three Guys Walking. The band also opened for bigger acts frequently on weeknights.

Taco Land, on the banks of the San Antonio River north of downtown, was an incubator for the city's underground music scene.

Taco Land, on the banks of the San Antonio River north of downtown, was an incubator for the city’s underground music scene.

WILLIAM LUTHER, Staff/SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

“The guy who ran it, Ram, he didn’t need a CD to listen to your music or anything like that,” Lubbering, 52, said. make sure you show up because you’re wasting my time if you don’t show up. It was a really cool scene.

Lubbering has focused his creative energies on visual arts rather than music in recent years, although he did record a few songs for an EP. The exhibition opening this weekend features several works, including a painting, “We the People”, which measures 6 feet by 6 feet.

“I feel like when I stand in front of such a big canvas, my body and the canvas are about the same size, and I feel like I’m falling into the canvas,” he said. declared. “I also do small pieces, but I especially like to do large pieces.”

Music is often part of his work, which he describes as modern folk art. He frequently painted musicians and painted a few images inspired by his time in clubs.

He performed live for the first time in six years in April at Fiesta, when he reunited with his band mates Three Guys Walking at the Fredstock Music Festival at San Antonio College.

Artist Fred Himes, who often performed at legendary club Taco Land in San Antonio, will showcase some of his work at Jojodancerphotography Studio.  Himes will also perform at an artists reception with other musicians who have performed at Taco Land before.

Artist Fred Himes, who often performed at legendary club Taco Land in San Antonio, will showcase some of his work at Jojodancerphotography Studio. Himes will also perform at an artists reception with other musicians who have performed at Taco Land before.

Jojodancerphotos

“I was nervous, but we did a good job,” he said. “It was our little comeback. We’re not officially a band anymore, but if we get paid gigs, we’ll accept them.

Guitarist Fred Himes will present five multimedia works in the show. The 64-year-old started playing Taco Land with his first band, Latex Duplex, in 1984 and later played with Los Mescaleros.

“It was a blast,” he said. “It was all genres – punk, country, hard rock, weird, weird stuff.

Anthony Garcia, musician and photographer, runs Jojodancerphotography Studio in the Blue Star Arts Complex.  He wants to bring together the city's music and visual arts scenes.

Anthony Garcia, musician and photographer, runs Jojodancerphotography Studio in the Blue Star Arts Complex. He wants to bring together the city’s music and visual arts scenes.

San Antonio Express-News/Staff Photographer Sam Owens

“It was open all the time. You could go there on a Wednesday and you’ll hear, in the early hours of the morning, a kind of sublime, transcendent experience of really good music that probably wouldn’t happen anywhere else.

He said Taco Land played a role in developing a number of bands that still loom large in the San Antonio scene, including the Swindles, Infidels and Buttercup.

“All you have to do is barely scratch the surface, and you’ll see a big connection, which is this whole San Antonio/Taco Land thing that can never really happen again, as far as I know,” said he declared. “We were lucky to get the end of it before everything was bought, rebuilt, refurbished and changed.

What: Artwork by Karl Lubbering, Fred Himes, Michael Wally Olivarri and Eric J. Lozano

When: 5-10 p.m. today

Where: Jojodancerphotography Studio, 1414 S. Alamo St No. 213 in the Blue Star Arts Complex

Reception: 4-8pm Saturday with music from Taco Land veterans Himes, Lubbering and Xavier Aguirre


“It was always that feeling of a bit of danger, a bit of the abandoned places before everything was kind of paved over and sanitized, which is pretty good for people to come in and feel safer, but unfortunately , when you scrub and clean, you sort of remove the grit and the soul.

[email protected] | Twitter: @DeborahMartinFR


Source link