One thing that’s clear from the start is that Mario Escovedo is not all that comfortable talking about himself. After 13 years of playing guitar and fronting the Dragons, he’s had enough time in the spotlight. Instead, he’d rather talk about his latest project, the bands he represents in his new life as Requiemme Management and Booking.
Why the name? “The regular spelling of requiem,” he says, “means a song of mourning performed as a memorial or for a dead person. It reminds me to keep the past the past and to keep moving forward, plus it sounds cool and gives you the impression that there’s some big corporate office downtown and not some guy working on his home computer somewhere in Normal Heights.”
Escovedo started Requiemme in 2008 with one band and grew into an eclectic roster of bands old and new, soul and rock, punk, and indie. Consider the Dogs, the Zeros, Mad Juana, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Darlings of Chelsea, and Maren Parusel.
“One thing I don’t want to have,” he says, “is a punk roster or a rock roster. I have to love the music. My roster has gone along the lines of my taste, which is very different.”
For example, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds.
“When they were just starting out and you’d walk into the Tower Bar, it felt like the real deal. It was a special thing to be around that music.” The result, he says, is that her blues became an unlikely hit with the indie-rock crowd, and he’s okay with that.
The Escovedo surname represents a small dynasty of music-industry eclecticism. Was Mario Escovedo’s music career a given?
“No. Actually, there was pressure for me to not go into music,” he says. He got a late start. He didn’t buy his first guitar until he was in college. And after the Dragons — his most successful band — was finished, so was he. Escovedo sold his amp and guitar and with the exception of a few reunion shows, he hasn’t performed since.
“Now,” he says, “I get something back out of seeing musicians further themselves.” He still works a day job as an assignment editor for KFMB-TV news, a position he’s held for 24 years.
“I get off work at 3 p.m., and I go to work on Requiemme.” Escovedo works alone out of his house and says he logs 18- to 20-hour work days.
“It’s something that started out as an idea of helping Sami in Mad Juana, to picking up [more] bands and getting to where I’m now doing bookings.”
Requiemme’s artists will be showcased this coming March at the annual South by Southwest music-industry conference.