20 February 2013

RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Musician and Journalist Hector Saldaña of The Krayolas

Hector Saldaña, left, and David  Saldaña of The Krayolas in the KOOP studios in Austin, Texas, Friday, February 15, 2013. Photos by William Michael Hanks / The Rag Blog.

Rag Radio podcast:
Hector Saldaña with David Saldaña
of San Antonio's rockin' Krayolas

By Rag Radio / The Rag Blog / February 21, 2013

Music journalist and rock musician Hector Saldaña, founder of San Antonio's pioneering rock band The Krayolas, was Thorne Dreyer's guest Friday, February 15, 2013, on Rag Radio. Hector was joined by his brother David in singing three songs on the show.

Rag Radio is a syndicated radio program produced at the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, Texas.

Listen to or download our interview with Hector Saldaña, here:

In 1975, Hector and David Saldaña co-founded The Krayolas -- the historic San Antonio-based '70s "power pop" garage band that was hailed as the “Tex-Mex Beatles." Hector is The Krayolas' chief songwriter and plays rhythm guitar and harmonica for the group and is also senior staff writer and music columnist at the San Antonio Express-News. David, who joined his brother in live performance on the show, is also a songwriter who sings and plays drums, percussion, and keyboards with the group.

The Krayolas started out in the bedroom when Hector was 18 and David was "almost 17," ("so we had to sneak him into nightclubs") and then, according to Hector, they graduated to the garage. "When we came up it was the Cosmic Cowboy era and we sort of wanted to be like the Who and the Beatles and the Kinks all rolled into one. From the beginning we were always a rock and roll band," Hector told the Rag Radio audience.

From left: Thorne Dreyer, Hector Saldaña,
David Saldaña, Tracey Schulz.
The Krayolas got out of the garage and started playing "in a place called the Warehouse Club, and a couple of little dives" in San Antonio. Then they won a "battle of the bands" sponsored by a local radio station, "and the prize was to go play with Chuck Berry in Dallas at Six Flags." And The Krayolas were off and running. They became "genuine, Mexified, San Antonio rock ‘n’ roll stars." "Our heyday," Hector says," was from the early '70s to about 1988," when the members of the group decided to move on to other things.

Then, in 2007, after a 21-year hiatus -- "when Augie Meyers was kind enough to produce an album for us" -- the brothers brought the band back to life. The Krayolas have had four critically-acclaimed albums since coming out of hibernation, and just released a fifth -- Canicas -- featuring legendary Tejano accordionist Flaco Jiménez.

In their new incarnation, The Krayolas became regulars on Sirius XM’s "Kick Out the Jams!" with Dave Marsh and "Little Steven’s Underground Garage." They've been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PRI’s “Whad’Ya Know?” with Michael Feldman, on NBC News, and in publications like Texas Monthly and The Village Voice.

In 2012, The Krayolas issued “Tex-Mex 21st Century,” a digital album released exclusively through Amazon.com as a free download. It was ranked No. 1 on the Latin Digital Albums chart for an unprecedented 24 weeks, and was also No. 1 on Amazon’s International Digital Album chart and No. 13 on its Top Digital Albums chart.

"All of a sudden we were on charts next to Shakira and Coldplay," Hector said. "If you think of music as a whole universe of twinkling stars, out there in the middle of the night in West Texas, maybe somebody can stumble upon you."

Hector Saldaña, left, and David Saldaña of The Krayolas on Rag Radio, February 15, 2013. Video by William Michael Hanks /The Rag Blog.

But, Hector reflected, "I always say, thanks to the Internet, now we're unknown all over the world, not just here." They're certainly known at the influential South by Southwest music festival where they play official showcase concerts every year, and this year is no exception. The Krayolas were also in Austin to perform at KOOP's gala 18th Birthday Party at Antone's Nightclub.

According to Dave Marsh, The Krayolas are "as close as you get to The Who sing Bob Dylan"; Mark Deming calls them "one of the American Pop Underground's best-kept secrets for more than three decades"; The Austin Chronicle's Margaret Moser says they have "Doug Sahm-like strength that not only crosses borders, but binds cultures"; and, according to Joe Nick Patoski, they are "the most San Antonio-sounding pop artists since Sir Doug himself," referring to legendary San Antonio rocker, the late Doug Sahm, and his Sir Douglas Quintet.

Rag Radio has aired since September 2009 on KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas. Hosted and produced by Rag Blog editor and long-time alternative journalist Thorne Dreyer, a pioneer of the Sixties underground press movement, Rag Radio is broadcast every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CST) on KOOP, and is rebroadcast on Sundays at 10 a.m. (EST) on WFTE, 90.3-FM in Mt. Cobb, PA, and 105.7-FM in Scranton, PA.

The show is streamed live on the web by both stations and, after broadcast, all Rag Radio shows are posted as podcasts at the Internet Archive.

Rag Radio is produced in association with The Rag Blog, a progressive internet newsmagazine, and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Tracey Schulz is the show's engineer and co-producer.

Rag Radio can be contacted at ragradio@koop.org.

Coming up on Rag Radio:
THIS FRIDAY, February 22, 2013:
Documentary filmmaker and activist Anne Lewis.

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