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2018 – The burgeoning year of Guarro Martinez

19 January, 2019 (10:22) | Living in Europe

After I returned from my Skanksters reunion, Mark and I decided to start a rock band, which we named Guarro Martinez. In Spanish the word Guarro means a very rude or dirty person of low class, what we in America call white trash. Martinez is the name of the street in Gracia where we all lived at the time, and it has a good ring to it after the word Guarro. Thus the band name. Guarro Martinez. The idea we want to communicate with our band name is that we are not serious, earnest or defined by any one genre. We do hard rock, we do reggae, we do punk rock, we do tango, and in our current formation we do funky afro beat.

Original Guarro Martinez line-up

Miguel Diaz, Mark Lewis and Mona-Lia Ventress

 

We started out as a trio with Mark on lead guitar, our hipster friend Miguel on rhythm guitar and myself on keyboards, using our fancy looper to lay down the basic grooves.

orig_gm

We did a small gig in Barcelona and a bigger, well received show in Valencia, where we earned an unexpected 300 euros.

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Guarro Martinez Los Angeles line-up

Mark Lewis, Mike Tempo, Paul Lacques, Lauren Wood and Mona-Lia Ventress

 

However, in the winter of 2018 Miguel moved to Finland with his girlfriend. So Mark and I escaped to LA with our dogs for 4 months and recruited a top level Guarro Martinez L.A. lineup, with Lauren Wood on drums, Mike Tempo on percussion, Paul Lacques on guitar (Mark calls him his brother from another mother) and Tom Nixon playing clarinet on one of the tracks. We recorded the following 3 tracks at https://earthstarvenice.com/ with whizz kid engineer extroardinaire John X, who I’ve been working with since the 80’s, mastering the controls. When I think back, John X has touched, mixed or added to all my music projects to date.

If we moved back to LA we could have this top notch line-up, but as it were we just milked them for what we could and then returned home to Barcelona to find someone to replace Miguel. Life here in Spain is just too good. We knew if we kept at it, the right person would appear to play with us.

Guarro Martinez Los Angeles
guarro_martinez_los_angeles
We had a blast recording the following 3 songs and creating a video for each song.

La Moncha

is a song about all the weird and often off-putting things one finds in the sand on the beach in the summer in Barcelona:

Rain Song

is a tribute to Woodstock and also a parody of modern times, where people experience everything through their phones.

Feel My Body Throb

we filmed in Joshua Tree, at the jazz funeral of Hollywood icon Janet Cunningham, at Earthstar studios and at our place on 9th St. A lot of our friends are featured in this video, which gives it a special meaning to us. The verses are in Spanish, so we put English subtitles.

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Guarro Martinez Barcelona 2019

Karafa Diatta, Mark Lewis and Mona-Lia Ventress

 

Once back in Barcelona, our friend of over 10 years, Karafa from Senegal joined us on Djembe and percussion. I have written about Karafa in the past, when he first moved to Barcelona in 2008. http://www.monalia.com/karafa/ In 2009 Mark and I went to his village of Abene in Senegal for a music festival. I wrote 3 blog posts while there, but who knew that all these years later we would all play in a funky rock band? He’s the perfect fit.

guarro_martinez_2019

SO far we haven’t played out in this combination, but we plan to start gigging in the spring, Meanwhile we are recording our rehearsals and making live mixes. Here are two such songs:

El Trol

(in Spanish)

Coming Home

Fuck You Susan

– video of a live rehearsal, a bit sloppy but fun.

Hombre Invisible