June 16, 2010

Artist of the Day: Tommy Guerrero

Tommy Guerrero may be better known in the world of skateboarding than in music. Born in San Francisco, Guerrero joined the skateboard company Powell Peralta in 1985 and became one of the original members of the legendary "Bones Brigade" team. Always interested in music, Guerrero was a fan of the high-energy punk music that surrounded the early-'80s skate scene. Since, Guerrero has become an accomplished bassist and guitarist with influences as diverse as John Coltrane, Latin Playboys, and Tortoise. Guerrero released his debut album, Loose Grooves & Bastard Blues, in 1998 on the Galaxia label. To support the record, Guerrero turned to his friends -- skateboarder and bassist Monte Vallier, DJ Gadget, and former Threeo drummer Tim DeGaugh -- to form the band Jet Black Crayon, who toured with Isotope 217 in 1999. With help from Gadget, he released Hoy Yen Ass'n in 2000, as well as the solo record A Little Bit of Somethin' on Mo' Wax. His warm, soulful music continued on 2004's Soul Food Taqueria, and after a five-song EP Year of the Monkey, Guerrero moved to Quannum, issuing From the Soil to the Soul in 2006. Another record on the Galaxia imprint, Return of the Bastard, followed in 2007 (Collar, 2010).

Tommy Guerrero is known by many people from various walks of life, but that’s probably because Tommy is man of many facets. He first entered the public eye as a pro skateboarder for Powell Peralta, where he was a member of the legendary Bones Brigade. He came into prominence as an entrepreneur, when he started REAL with fellow pro Jim Thiebaud, but Tommy really surprised the world with his musical prowess. Guerrero’s previous albums - Loose Grooves and Bastard Blues, and A Little Bit of Somethin’, have both become must-have releases. Upon its release in 2000, the latter was described as “a super-horizontal, wiped-out slab of lo-fidelity instrumental rock” by The Face, with Jockey Slut claiming, “Tommy excels with his soulfully melodic, acoustic lo-fi folk fables.” More recently, Tommy’s Another Late Night mix (on the Azuli label) has raised awareness, and subsequently won over more fans, with Esquire Magazine pointing out “don‚t worry if you haven’t got a clue who Tommy Guerrero is...simply accept that he has excellent taste. This is simmering.”

Which brings us to his newest creation. Inspired by the streets of his hometown San Francisco, Soul Food Taqueria is a progression in many ways. Not only is it more sonically advanced than his previous releases (although he admits that he’s “still down with the fucked up 4 trk action”), but it also shows real maturity in his guitar playing and song writing. Vocals are much more prevalent than in previous recordings, with vocal tracks from Lyrics Born of Blackalicious / Quannum / Latyrx fame, and long time friend and collaborator, Gresham Taylor. Encapsulating Latin rhythms, stripped down folk, hip-hop, jazz, guitar-blues, minimal funk, soul and so much more, Guerrero’s delicate jams are as spine tingling as ever, with Guerrero retaining the knack of sounding simple yet inventive (Beggars Group).

You can listen to Tommy Guerrero's music at:

Released Albums:
Tommy Guerrero - From The Soil To The Soil
Tommy Guerrero - Soul Food Taqueria
Tommy Guerrero - Return Of The Bastard
Tommy Guerrero - A Little Bit Of Somethin'
Tommy Guerrero - Loose Grooves and Bastard Blues
Tommy Guerrero - Year Of The Monkey Ep
Tommy Guerrero - Junk Collector Ep
Tommy Guerrero - Hoy Yen Ass'n
Tommy Guerrero - Another Late Night
Tommy Guerrero - Backintheday Ep

Tommy Guerrero. Beggars Group. Retrieved from http://beggarsgroupusa.com/tommyguerrero/biography/
Collar, M. (2010). Tommy Guerrero. All Music. Retrieved from 

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