It’s been the great pleasure of 5D this week to have the chance to talk with two artists, both of whom have had a number of collaborations with a particular directing hero of ours, the genius that is Robert Rodriguez. However, more importantly than that, it’s quite clear that both artists have an abundance of talent in their own right, so much so that it also serves to make this here blogger very, very, very jealous. The previous 5D interview to this one featured the musical talents of Billy Blair – actor, musician and artist……. and all round good guy. Put it this way, anyone who messages me and tells me that he loves my article is a beautiful human being in my book. If you want to see what Billy was talking about then you can find the piece RIGHT HERE.
Today, it is the fabulous Alex Ruiz who has succumbed to my piercing questions for another legendary 5D interview..
So, I know what you’re thinking…..”Just who in their right mind thinks you’re important enough to give you access to such luminaries matey boy?” Well the person in question is lady who I had the pleasure to have a Skype conversation just the other day with and who just so happens to represent the two talented gentlemen in question. She obviously know important bloggers when she sees one…..either that or she just feels sorry for me.
Tamela Ehlinger is the founder of T&T Talent Management, which represents some of the top established and up and coming entertainers in the world. Tamela has spent several decades honing her business experience, travelling the world, and developing an understanding of the trends that make her promotional skills and experience a value to all her clients. From award-winning actors to musicians Tamela can book and provide your film or convention with the very best entertainers. Her clients appear at conventions across the globe and have been seen in projects such as “Marvel’s Agents of Shield”, “Sin City”, “From Dusk Till Dawn the series”, “Tales of Horror the series”, “SoulMate” and “Alita:Battle Angel.”
So it was my great pleasure to interview musician Alex Ruiz this week, but first a little information on the man himself direct from his Facebook page;
“Alex Ruiz is the singer and dynamic frontman of the bands: “The Night Mothers” and “Chingon”, the periodic collaboration with film director/producer Robert Rodriguez. His voice, songs, and persona have been featured in such films as: Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sin City, Kill Bill 2 and most recently Machete.
The Night Mothers recorded its most current album “Sunrise” in Bloomington, Indiana with famed producer Gary Katz known for his work with Steely Dan.
Over the last decade, Alex has recorded and performed with Carlos Santana, Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Del Castillo, Raul Malo, Carlene Carter and many others.
Alex recorded “I Never Cared for You” with Willie Nelson, which has become Willie’s “favorite version”. Recently, Alex was honored to be asked to write and perform for “Voices of a Grateful Nation”. The project put forth by Jamie Oldaker (former drummer of Eric Clapton) and Charles Gallagher, in support of the homecoming troops.
Described by many as a Latino Steven Tyler, Alex’s live shows are legendary for being as dynamic and energetic as they are enigmatic and unique. Always a surprise, always fresh. His prowling the stage keeps audiences on the edge until the last note, leaving all waiting for the next time he and the band return.”
THE 5D INTERVIEW BIT……
Q) Hi Alex. Greetings from Scotland! Thanks ever so much for taking the time to talk to 5D, which is a genuine thrill for me as I’m a big fan of your work. What were your early musical influences?
Early musical influences start with Elvis Presley, The Beatles, as a teenager I devoured my Dad’s 60’s collection of music – From Joe Cocker Mad Dog & Englishmen to Led Zepplin- Three Dog Night, Janis Joplin then came all the Mexican Bolero music from Javier Solis Eddy Gorme y Los Panchos , George Negrete and music from around the world inspires me still today.
Q) I’ve read your music occasionally referred to as ‘Mexican Spaghetti Western’ or ‘Mariachi rock’ – How do you feel about such descriptions?
I love it!!! Most recently the band Avenge fold 7 covered Chingon’s Rock version of Malagueña Salerosa so now the generation that follows them are being influenced by Mexican Spaghetti Western Rock!
Q) Was the formation of The Night Mothers a conscious decision to broaden your musical audience? (Your version of ‘Dirty Continental’ is dynamite btw!)
The Night Mothers is an American Rock band in which we had the pleasure of being produced by the famed and fabled Gary Katz who produced all the Steely Dan albums. So it was quite the treat. Dirty Continental was a song I wrote because I learned to drive in. Big Dirty Continental on mainly empty rural roads in South Texas.
Q) Can I ask you about your wonderful rendition for Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol 2 of Maleguena Salerosa (with another band of yours, Chingon) and how that collaboration with Tarantino came about?
Yes, Quentin Tarantino was listening to Malagueña as introduced by his film Hermano Robert Rodriguez and that’s when the end scene flashed before Tarantino’s eyes and he wrote the entire ending of Kill Bill 2 to fit the whole song. He Loved It!
Q)How did you first come to work with Robert Rodriguez? (another filmmaking hero of mine btw).
Robert Rodriguez was searching for a local band in Austin Texas that would fit the sound track to Desperado’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico film and a dear friend of the band Del Castillo brought him to see us and the rest is History.
Q) Your work with Rodriguez has been prolific through the years with some stunning soundtracks to his movies (‘Cascabel’ from Machete is a personal favourite of mine) – have you found this has created a specific audience from those films for your music?
Cascabel is a fun song to sing. The notion of taking old Mariachi standards and beefing them up with electric crunch guitars was all Robert Rodriguez’s idea. What’s funny about that particular song was that I had messaged Robert about the song at the same time he was thinking of recording our version for Machete soundtrack. Needless to say, we were in syncs on that one.
Q) Have you ever done any of the Con’s due to your film related work, and if so, what was your experience?
I recently did Famous Monsters Con in Dallas Texas. It was a blast for me since I’m not used to doing easy work but you know I could get used to it. Insert smile here!
Q) You worked with the legendary Willie Nelson to record ‘I never cared for you’ some time ago, what was it like working with him?
Working with a Legend such as Willie Nelson you tend to try and remember every word he says. I believe the first words were: Let’s Roll One- & the rest is History. He’s a Legend an Icon and a Voice of a lifetime of songs. I Never Cared for You was recorded a few times since 1965, but Willie says that Del Castillo’s version is his favourites one.
Q) So what is more enjoyable – performing or recording?
I love the thrill of being in front of a live audience and feeling the energy of the crowd. Whether touring through the Open Air festivals in the Mountains of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany or being in smoky lounges. It’s the life I love. The recording is fun as well but I’m Alone on a shore singing to an audience I haven’t met yet.
Q) Have you ever toured here in the UK? (YOU SHOULD YOU KNOW!)
I believe I’ve played some private shows in the U.K. and also The Gibson show room in London. I’m in love with Brighton though. Also, Del Castillo was well received at The Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow Scotland some time ago. Sure wish I could be there now drinking a pint with you, but maybe someday soon.
Q) So what does the future hold for Alex Ruiz?
I recently recorded and am waiting on the release of an all Italian project with Rick Del Castillo called Costello Roquero. It’s with Rivertale Productions out of Pavia Italy. We put our Western Spaghetti sound to songs from the 60’s & 70’s Italian hits. Currently waiting on tour dates for summer of 2018. By the time you read this, I’ll be doing a Pueblos Blancos tour through Andalucia Spain in early September if you got a min… come out and listen to all my musical brothers and sisters perform all the way from Austin Texas. See you soon. Cheers.
So I you’re no doubt thinking as I am that Mr Ruiz is a wonderful interviewee and I would urge you to check out the mans music as soon as possible. I think you’ll also agree that Alex’s most important point made in the whole interview was that he has now promised (so owes me big time) a pint. Mine’s a Guinness mate!
If you’re familiar with the ‘Mariachi Trilogy’ (Once upon a Time in Mexico etc), Kill Bill Vol 2, Machete etc etc then you’ll already know and love Alex’s music. If you’re not familiar but are in the mood for some stunningly good ‘Mexican Spaghetti Western’, ‘Mariachi rock’ or straightforward solid Rock then you are in for a treat!
I would like to give my thanks again to Alex in giving up his valuable time to chat with me and to Tamela in arranging the whole thing and providing the images you see here.
BTW – You can also see the Skype inter Alex did a while ago with us at 5D for our YouTube channel – you can see the man himself talk (And sing) at https://youtu.be/RYMXm8LJM1w
You can find more information on Alex Ruiz’s Facebook page RIGHT HERE.
You can follow Alex on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNightMothers
You can find Alex on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/alexthenightmothers/
You can find out more information about TnT Talent Management at their website https://www.tnttm.com
You can follow TnT on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tntmanagement