Javier Escovedo is part of a local musical family dynasty that includes Alejandro Escovedo, named by No Depression magazine as their Artist of the Decade in 1998, and brothers Coke, Pete, and Mario. Coke and Pete were percussionists at various times in the Santana band, and Mario, who lives in San Diego and fronted the Dragons.
Javier lived in Huntington Beach before moving to Chula Vista in his teens. In the mid ’70s, Escovedo’s first band, the Zeros, traded San Diego’s puny punk scene for audiences in Los Angeles. Roots-rock aficionados are more likely to know him for his work with the Austin-based True Believers.
He later founded City Lights. “The Zeros were about being in high school. We didn’t know what we were doing when we made those records — that’s why it worked. It’s what I tried to re-create with City Lights...I wanted to get back the innocence of when I started playing, that moment of discovery, that spark. I have a vivid memory of writing ‘Cosmetic Couple’ for the Zeros, at my parents’ house, with a reel-to-reel recorder. I recorded two tracks of guitar and double-tracked the vocals. I was so happy when I played it back.”
(Photo: Javier Revuelta Leon)