In the early days, I started a band Tommy E y Los Chicos. Later on I moved to San Jose, California and started a band called 6 Shades of Blues. Later I moved back to Albuquerque continued with Tommy E y Los Chicos. Then was picked up by Macho Power USA for 8 years. After That, I played with Revolution, Los Coroneles, Steve Jordan, Red Wine, The New Mexx Band, Thee Checkers, and so many other musicians and traveled all over the States and enjoyed every bit of it. Music is what I am. My style of music is variety, Rancheras, Country, Old School, Funk, Oldies, Rock, Reggae, Cumbias and Merengue.
Benito F. Gonzales Jr. - "Spanky"
Throughout the community here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I've been playing for over 27 years professionally. I started playing drums at the age of 5 which came pretty natural to me and playing saxophone by the age of 6. Being taught by my father Benito F. Gonzales Sr. better known as "Flaco", lead saxophone player of Manny and the Casanovas back in his playing days. My main instrument was saxophone all through my school age years. My first professional opportunity in the club scene was with a well-known guitarist of New Mexico Music, Mr. Ralph Paiz, better known as "Little Ralph". His band name was Little Ralph's Combo in which I played both Saxophone and drums for his band. I then went on to playsaxophone and drums with groups such as Tierra Caliente, The NightOwls Guerra, Trappie and the In Crowd, Los Chavos just to name a few. Then landing a great opportunity to play drums for a very well-known group here in New Mexico known as Los Hermanos Baca, Sons of the late great Max Baca Sr. A side from my father and all other musical influences, Max Baca Jr, now the owner and leader of his own Grammy Award Winning Tejano/Conjunto known as the Texmaniacs was a big influence on the drummer I am today. Through Max Baca Jr., I was blessed to have the opportunity to play alongside some great Tejano Musicians such as Flaco Jimenez, Oscar Tellez, Joel Guzman, David Farias, Isreal "Speedy" Villanueva and Michael Guerra accordion player for The Mavericks. After playing with both Baca Brothers, Max Baca Jr. moved on, and I continued to play with his brother Jimmy Baca and his local Conjunto. I've also been a freelance musician from then until now playing with some of the best New Mexico artists in the business. Including a great project I've been a part of for the past 3 years, with some great friends who are John Mancha, Leonard Gallegos and Tony Orduño. We are better known as Los Campeones Del Desierto Recording with Lorenzo Antonio, and Veronica from Sparx. Which brings me to where I am now, which is playing with Power Drive USA, Tommy Eylicio, Owner and leader, Ron Lucero and Richard Maestas.
I started playing instruments at the age of 6 years old with my dad and uncles. I started on guitar and organ. I played trumpet and bass guitar in school a little drums at church. I also started singing when I played with bands and my bands as well. I started playing in bands at the age of 10 years old. I played with my family band. My dad, mom, brother and sister for a while. I played with the "A Ones", Tommy E. y Los Chicos, Vibora, Shades of Light, Flip Side, Al Hurricane, Leroy Mora y Los Duques, Myles West, and Street Scene as well as other accomplished NM Bands.
I had the opportunity to open up for Tower of Power, Tierra, Taylor Dayne, and a gospel group The Allies Featuring Bob Carlisle. I also opened for Little Joe, Ruben Ramos, Jay Perez, Yolanda Del Rio and Played along side Sunny Ozuna and Flaco Jimenez.
In 2013, I had the honor and pleasure to play with Jerry Lopez of Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns. The band called Jerry Lopez and Friends at the Lensic in SF NM. 2013, 2014 recording a live CD and DVD, and 2016.
I enjoy playing different styles of music including: Tejano, Rancheras, Cumbias, Salsa, Soul, Contemporary, R&B, Old School, Oldies, Big Band, Classic Rock and Country.
I have had the opportunity to record with Many bands here in NM as well as arrange original music that artists have written.
Richard Maestas - "Combos"
I started singing at an early age with my parents Mariachi Music band known as The Serenaders, which later was changed to the 3-R’s for Rosie, Richard & Ricky, guess who the drummer was! At the age of 11 I was playing at the Bottle Shop we were the house band. In High School Mr. Romero Band Director, christened me with the name “Combos” and the story begins….
Later, I moved to Albuquerque, NM and played with a band known as Cascabel. I had the privilege to play with Ray Lucero, Al Sandoval, Frank Chewy, Los Copacabana and Macho Power USA. I even had my own Band called Charisma we were the house band at the Bird of Paradise.
A good friend, Musical Brother Gilbert Lopez Jr. convince me to go to Las Vegas, Nevada. In Nevada I met Mr. Pete Cooper who had a Musical Agency through him, I got my first gig with a musical Superstar Icon; Miss Dionne Warwick. I also met Mr. Buck Ram who was a song writer and had patent the name The Platters. Mr. Ram had me doing different projects for him such as performing with The Platters, Gary LeMaster and The Sons of the Pioneers, Gold Dust, Mark Sexton and The Cross-Country Band. With Mr. Sexton I went to Lake Ozark, Missouri to do Theater work and perform.
After this wonderful experience I came back home to visit and decided to stay. I started playing with Abe Maez and The Playboys, Wyld Country, Northern 505, Tobias Renee, Daniel Cordova y Esperanza, Danny Duran and Slo Burnin which lead me to Tommy Eylicio Power Drive USA, Variety Band.
I've been playing live music since I was 11 years old. My first recollections of the stage experience was with my cousing and his and Kelly and Jaguars in Grants, NM the year was 1973.
I continuted with my cousin Michael Garcia when he formed his own band "Bad Habits" until 1978. After this, I dedicated 25 years of my life to ministry in gospel music where I was ale to hone my skills as a keyboardist/pianist.
In 2009 I joined Dororthy Martinez & Sabor. During my 5 years with her band I was able to explore and perform the Chicano/Onda style of music that I have loved since childhood.
Throughout the years, I have had the privilege to study and perform with many great musicians. I'm pretty much a self taught keyboardist and vocalist. My favorite styles of music are R&B, Jazz, Latin Jazz and what was formaly Onda now labeled Tejano.
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