This is a short 1996 interview with Joe Coronado written for JSP Records as the liner notes for Joe's first CD.
Joe Coronado interview, September 11 & 18, 1996
by Don O.
I was born and raised in Fort Worth. I come from a family of boxers, both my uncle and dad boxed. My dad would take us to the Golden Gloves and other boxing events every year but we usually ended up seeing only 3 or 4 fights before going down to 4th Street to a real good blues club called The Chicken in the Basket. We would see Freddie King, Little Al and the High 5's. Some real good guitarists. That was it, I was sold. Here I was just 8 years old, I could barely see over the pool table and I was hooked for life.
I actually started playing around 15 years of age. My older brother John had a drum set and was playing in a rock and roll band . I just decided I'd do it better than him. He went on to play sax and later guitar but I stuck with the drums. My younger brother Steve played a little bass but ended up as a fine sax player. I was in a few garage bands in high school. Nothing serious, just something to chase the girls.
In 1980 my brothers and I started our own group, The Midniters. We were together for a good while. We played a lot of places in Fort Worth like Peppers, The 1601, J&J Blues Bar, and, of course, The Bluebird. Fort Worth people really know how to party. At that time our front man was the same guy we're using on this project, Little Ralph Gonzalez. Ralph and I go back about 20 years together. We grew up in the same neighborhood and even went to grade school together. In 1988 The Midniters recorded a 45 for Eddie Stout's Pee Wee Record label (PW#10018). That got us invited down to Antones in Austin. That was also where I first met Mark Pollock. Mark was on the same gig with us down at Antones and we got to know each other. He kept complimenting me on my drumming and I was very flattered that someone with his experience liked my work.
Later in 1988 I joined with Paul Orta and the Kingpins. At about that same time Paul was invited to participate in the harmonica blowoff in San Francisco. There were guys like Rod Piazza, Lazy Lester, about 20 bands in all. I think we came in somewhere in the top five, which is not too bad for a little 4 piece band from Austin. We got to hang out with movie stars like Randy Quaid and famous musicians like Huey Lewis. Huey is a very good blues harp player.
Shortly after I returned from the West Coast I got a call from Stony Burns with Buddy Magazine (the premier monthly music magazine in Texas). It turned out to be an interview for my induction into the Texas Tornado hall of fame for drummers. That was a big surprise and a great honor. Later on I found out that Mark Pollock had something to do with my nomination and I have been grateful ever since.
I played drums for Jim Suhler in the Road Hogs for awhile around 1990. My brothers and I worked with Memo Gonzalez off and on for about 3 years in the Lone Wolves. We mainly worked the DFW area, Antones, San Antonio, the regional circuit. During this time my older brother John and I also co-founded the Soul Kings. In 1994 we did a project with U.P. Wilson for JSP (Boogie Boy! The Texas Guitar Tornado Returns! JSP CD255). John Stedman liked our sound and gave us this opportunity. We still have that band but we do other things, too.
In recruiting the guys for this session I wanted some of the best representatives of the Fort Worth sound. We have some R&B, some shuffles, a mix of things. Of course, I had to start with my older brother John on guitar and my younger brother Steve on sax. They were right there with me and dad at The Chicken in the Basket so they're coming from the same place I am. We make a good team.
I've known Little Ralph since grade school. Chris Maxwell is from Calgary, Alberta. He's an excellent bass player and I feel very fortunate to have him on this project. He's been in Fort Worth about 3 years. Mike Cruz and Johnny Guadarrama are some of the best horn players in Fort Worth and Danny Ross is a tough piano and B-3 man. Sugar Ray Jimenez does some amazing playing on the title track and on other cuts on the album. He has really branched out in the last few years and has his own signature licks. I really like his playing a lot.
My friend Mark Pollock guests on several tracks. Mark is one of the best known musicians in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, though few outside of here have heard of him. He spent several years in Freddie King's band, toured with James Cotton, and most recently was in a popular Dallas band called Cold Blue Steel. He's the owner of the world renowned Charley's Guitar Shop and the co-founder for one of the worlds biggest guitar shows. Needless to say, he's a master blues guitarist and it's a real pleasure to have him guest on several tracks.
I would like to dedicate this CD to my parents, John and Mary Coronado. I also wish to thank everyone at The Bluebird nightclub in Fort Worth. Finally I'd also, like to dedicate this CD to Albert Guadarrama a fine trumpet player and brother of our sax player Johnny.