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Mario Escovedo on Balboa Park, Moths, and Mowgli

“I’m afraid of moths. They seem like scary little people with wings, forever crashing into the light.” - Image by Randy Berkman
“I’m afraid of moths. They seem like scary little people with wings, forever crashing into the light.”

Mario Escovedo spent 13 years singing with the Dragons. “We made seven CDs and toured the U.S. a half dozen times and went to Japan as well.

“For fun, I still play every once and a while in the Mario Escovedo Experience, or MEX, as we call it. It’s a five-piece band where I play all my favorite country and Tex-Mex songs, from Waylon Jennings to Ritchie Valens, Merle Haggard, Los Lobos, Freddy Fender, and Flaco Jimenez.”

Since 2008, Escovedo has spent most of his time working offstage, behind the scenes, operating Requiemme Management and Music.

“It’s my management and record company, with bands representing everything from German pop to Detroit punk and Chula Vista rock. I have a roster of talented artists: Maren Parusel, the Beautiful View, Hills Like Elephants, and Mad Juana. Before that, I managed the Zeros, Lady Dottie & the Diamonds, the Dogs, Gun Runner, and Darlings of Chelsea from Toronto.”

WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?

1) The Beautiful View, Life Is Beautiful. “The songs are well written and well played, and the music is sincere. ”

2) Hills Like Elephants, self-titled. “Motown meets LCD Sound System, with a great feel and vibe.”

ANYTHING YOU ARE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?

“I guess Neil Diamond blasting ‘Coming to America’ while I’m singing at the top of my lungs is probably a little embarrassing. I love the Carpenters, too.”

WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?

“I just moved near Balboa Park, and on any given weekend or afternoon I can find something new there, from just walking around to people-watching. Somehow the mix of tourists, locals, and homeless people seems to work in this beautiful surrounding.”

FAVORITE CONCERT?

“At the California Theatre downtown, circa the mid-’80s, Iggy Pop played the Raw Power tour and had Andy McCoy from Hanoi Rocks on guitar. He’s my favorite guitar player, along with Johnny Thunders. If that wasn’t cool enough, a metal band called Accept played, and everyone was standing on the seats and pumping their fists in unison. It was just fun and captivating, and it made me want to play rock and roll.”

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?

“You will get over that broken heart, and maybe a few less Jack and Cokes now and again might not be a bad idea.”

SOMETHING YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?

“Coffee and 50/50 Bars.”

WHAT REMAINS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

“I still want to travel more with my kids and my girlfriend and see places we’ve never been to, like all of Europe and Southeast Asia.”

ANY FEARS OR PHOBIAS?

“I’m afraid of moths. They seem like scary little people with wings, forever crashing into the light.”

WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE?

“When I was younger it was John Travolta, then it was Antonio Banderas, then somehow I became Edward James Olmos.”

WORST INJURY?

“During a 1982 high school football game, I was sandwiched by a linebacker and a lineman. I woke up in the hospital with the whole team and the cheerleaders waiting for me. I injured my back pretty bad, but when they wheeled me out I couldn’t help but smile.”

WORST BETRAYAL?

“An old roommate once stole a bunch of money — out of my Bible, of all places. He left a note saying he would pay me back one day.”

DID HE PAY YOU BACK?

“Nope, I’m still waiting.”

WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?

“The Casbah and Bar Pink for live music, Lucha Libre for burritos or Ponce’s for Mexican food and margaritas, and O.B. to walk around Newport Avenue and see the beach. The 19th Hole for breakfast over at the Balboa Park golf course. The Waterfront for bloody marys. Wine Steals on University for cheese and wine. Hamilton’s for beer. Mt. Etna for pizza. Arrivederci in Hillcrest for Italian food. The Riviera for steaks.”

ANY CELEBRITY DIRT TO DISH?

“Only if you buy me a few drinks.”

FAVORITE MOVIE BASED ON A BOOK?

The Jungle Book. Mowgli and I have a lot in common. After all, it’s a jungle out there.” ■

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“I’m afraid of moths. They seem like scary little people with wings, forever crashing into the light.” - Image by Randy Berkman
“I’m afraid of moths. They seem like scary little people with wings, forever crashing into the light.”

Mario Escovedo spent 13 years singing with the Dragons. “We made seven CDs and toured the U.S. a half dozen times and went to Japan as well.

“For fun, I still play every once and a while in the Mario Escovedo Experience, or MEX, as we call it. It’s a five-piece band where I play all my favorite country and Tex-Mex songs, from Waylon Jennings to Ritchie Valens, Merle Haggard, Los Lobos, Freddy Fender, and Flaco Jimenez.”

Since 2008, Escovedo has spent most of his time working offstage, behind the scenes, operating Requiemme Management and Music.

“It’s my management and record company, with bands representing everything from German pop to Detroit punk and Chula Vista rock. I have a roster of talented artists: Maren Parusel, the Beautiful View, Hills Like Elephants, and Mad Juana. Before that, I managed the Zeros, Lady Dottie & the Diamonds, the Dogs, Gun Runner, and Darlings of Chelsea from Toronto.”

WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?

1) The Beautiful View, Life Is Beautiful. “The songs are well written and well played, and the music is sincere. ”

2) Hills Like Elephants, self-titled. “Motown meets LCD Sound System, with a great feel and vibe.”

ANYTHING YOU ARE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?

“I guess Neil Diamond blasting ‘Coming to America’ while I’m singing at the top of my lungs is probably a little embarrassing. I love the Carpenters, too.”

WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?

“I just moved near Balboa Park, and on any given weekend or afternoon I can find something new there, from just walking around to people-watching. Somehow the mix of tourists, locals, and homeless people seems to work in this beautiful surrounding.”

FAVORITE CONCERT?

“At the California Theatre downtown, circa the mid-’80s, Iggy Pop played the Raw Power tour and had Andy McCoy from Hanoi Rocks on guitar. He’s my favorite guitar player, along with Johnny Thunders. If that wasn’t cool enough, a metal band called Accept played, and everyone was standing on the seats and pumping their fists in unison. It was just fun and captivating, and it made me want to play rock and roll.”

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?

“You will get over that broken heart, and maybe a few less Jack and Cokes now and again might not be a bad idea.”

SOMETHING YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?

“Coffee and 50/50 Bars.”

WHAT REMAINS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

“I still want to travel more with my kids and my girlfriend and see places we’ve never been to, like all of Europe and Southeast Asia.”

ANY FEARS OR PHOBIAS?

“I’m afraid of moths. They seem like scary little people with wings, forever crashing into the light.”

WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE?

“When I was younger it was John Travolta, then it was Antonio Banderas, then somehow I became Edward James Olmos.”

WORST INJURY?

“During a 1982 high school football game, I was sandwiched by a linebacker and a lineman. I woke up in the hospital with the whole team and the cheerleaders waiting for me. I injured my back pretty bad, but when they wheeled me out I couldn’t help but smile.”

WORST BETRAYAL?

“An old roommate once stole a bunch of money — out of my Bible, of all places. He left a note saying he would pay me back one day.”

DID HE PAY YOU BACK?

“Nope, I’m still waiting.”

WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?

“The Casbah and Bar Pink for live music, Lucha Libre for burritos or Ponce’s for Mexican food and margaritas, and O.B. to walk around Newport Avenue and see the beach. The 19th Hole for breakfast over at the Balboa Park golf course. The Waterfront for bloody marys. Wine Steals on University for cheese and wine. Hamilton’s for beer. Mt. Etna for pizza. Arrivederci in Hillcrest for Italian food. The Riviera for steaks.”

ANY CELEBRITY DIRT TO DISH?

“Only if you buy me a few drinks.”

FAVORITE MOVIE BASED ON A BOOK?

The Jungle Book. Mowgli and I have a lot in common. After all, it’s a jungle out there.” ■

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Outtakes: DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? “Yes. Magical moments have always happened to me and, despite numerous heartbreaks, I always believe something good is going to happen the next day. I believe in following your vibe, or at least that little voice in your head that tells you when things are good, or tells you to get away from some place or person. That’s kind of magic, isn’t it?”

BIGGEST REGRET? “I can’t say I regret anything, but I have definitely made some mistakes. There’s no going back, you’ve just got be smarter and learn from your experiences to make better ones. My biggest regret and my best quality may be one in the same, and that’s being impulsive and acting on it.”

THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU? 1. “I used to be a quarterback for the Chula Vista Spartans.” 2. “I always tell my kids ‘I’m kind of a big deal.’” 3. “I love getting street tacos next to the Black Cat Bar on University and Van Dyke.”

June 14, 2012

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