June 23, 2008
PrinceRodriguez has been performing at gigs recently with Randall
Christopher on electric bass and Joel Jessup on drums, and started
adding more rock and roll cover songs and electric instruments to their
sound. The boys are still acoustic singer songwriters at heart, but,
perhaps due to a mid-life crisis, they've decided to stretch their
wings and rock out. Some of the eclectic artists they are covering at
shows these days include Radiohead, Lit, Bee Gees, Smashing Pumpkins,
Waylon Payne, Bill Withers, etc.
crises is also blamed for Prince's regrettable decision to grow a
mullet. Once the prominent hairstyle among 1970s rock and rollers --
Paul McCartney was a pioneer of the curious coif -- the hairstyle by
the 1980s had evolved into one sported only by lesbians and Joe Dirt
trailer trash types. Prince plans to single-handedly bring back the
mullet back into vogue again. To see the monstrosity atop his head,
please go to his Myspace page and check out the pictures.
| September 19, 2007
It’s been a long time
coming, but PrinceRodriguez’ sophomore recording effort -- /Songs From
The Sod/ – is finished and ready for sale. We spent about two years
working on the new album. Of course, we squeezed in plenty of beer and
tequila along the way otherwise we would have been done in two weeks.
But we’re all about the journey, not the destination.
The album is a mixture of original songs written in the 1980s and new
ones written in the past few years. We drew from our usual gumbo of
influences: Cajun, Tejano, country, pop, rock, and shades of jazz
(we’re not trying to fit into any specific type of musical category --
other than the “Good” category). We recorded for the first time a song
we didn’t write. Our good buddy Jim Cleveland penned the closing track
“Raining In New Orleans.” It’s a great song and fits well with this
project. Once again, the album was released on Earl Musick’s Reload
Record label. Check out the song samples and order the c.d. right here
on our web site. You won’t be sorry, unless you fall and break your leg
while retrieving our CD from your mailbox. In any case, that would be
the fault of fickle fate, not the responsibility of pickled
|August 30, 2006
Oops, we just realized we
never announced the final results of Fort Worth Weekly’s Best Of
Tarrant County Awards in June. As you may recall, PrinceRodriguez
was nominated in the Texas Music category along with Stephen Pointer,
The Kyle Bennett Band, Jason Eady, Unwound Band, and Brad Hines. And
the winner is…drumroll please…Brad Hines! (This is where
we smile and clap for Hines while secretly biting our trembling lips
and swallowing bitter tears. And now PrinceRodriguez would like to
announce our retirement from music. We’re losers. We suck.)
Actually, we’re genuinely happy for Brad because he’s been a friend of
ours for going on 15 years and he’s one of the hardest working guys we
know. He deserves any recognition he gets. We had a blast playing at
the big show (30 bands in four different bars in downtown’s Sundance
Square). We played a 45-minute set at The Pour House between the Rotten
Apple Mountain Gang and Jason Eady. Also appearing on that stage were
Calhoun, Chatterton, Black Tie Dynasty, and The Burning Hotels.
Later, one of the Rotten
Apple boys asked us to play at a benefit at Fred’s Café the following
“What’s the benefit for?”
“Well, I wrecked my car the
other day and I broke my banjo,” Rotten Apple answered.
Sooo, the benefit was for
him…to buy a banjo. Not exactly solving world peace or curing cancer,
but still a worthy cause.
Blue’s Bar and Studio has been filled with music these days as
PrinceRodriguez toils on its long overdue second album. We’re thrilled
to announce that legendary drummer “Rockin” Ron Thompson is laying some
drum tracks for us. Besides being Fort Worth’s premier drummer, he’s a
hell of a nice guy. Ron currently plays with Tommy Alverson’s band, but
he’s played for almost anyone you can think of, including a world tour
with Boxcar Willie, who was treated like royalty in the UK. Ron is
featured on one of the best live rock-n-roll albums of the 1970s – Bugs
Henderson and the Shuffle Kings At Last, recorded at Armadillo World
Quarters. If you’ve never heard that album by the lethal trio of Bugs,
Ron, and Bobby Chitwood on bass, you’re missing some magic. So, Ron,
welcome aboard the PrinceRodriguez express. Hopefully our collaboration
will be just a small blemish on your otherwise sterling resume.
Oefinger and Rodriguez at The Pour House
and Randall Christopher at The Pour House
|June 27, 2006
In our last blog, we took
Fort Worth Weekly to task for not allowing online voting during the
2006 Music Awards contest. Well, uh, never mind. Turns out, you can
vote online. Just go to www.fwweekly.com and follow
the easy directions. This is the first year that online voting has been
available and it surely simplifies the process. Two-dozen bands among
the 100 nominees were selected to perform at Sundance Square in
downtown Fort Worth on Sunday, June 25, and PrinceRodriguez played a
rousing set at the Pour House, along with Jason Eady, Calhoun, The
February Chorus, and several other great Fort Worth bands. At least 30
of our friends, family, and fans showed up and cheered us on.
PrinceRodriguez is nominated in the Texas Music category and needs your
votes. If we win, we get some sort of plaque to hang on our wall and
prove we’re popular music artists and not just a couple of hacks with
guitars and drinking problems.
|May 23, 2006
“You like us! You really
like us!” Damn, we must be geezers to still be paraphrasing that worn
out line from Sally Field’s 1984 Academy Awards speech. Who remembers
the flying nun, much less her idiotic speech? Still, you really do like
us, or why else would we be nominated as FORT WORTH’S BEST TEXAS
MUSIC BAND in the current edition of Fort Worth Weekly? (Sure, some
people might say it’s because Prince works at the newspaper and pulled
some strings, but those people would be wrong -- Prince has no pull at
the paper). Before we get too damned proud of ourselves, it’s important
to note that being nominated is small potatoes. This is America, where
winning is all that matters, and we’re up against tough competition
(Jason Eady, Brad Hines, Maren Morris, Stephen Pointer, Kyle Bennett
Band, and The Unwound Band). If’n you want little ol’ PrinceRodriguez
to revel in glory, you’ll have to fill out a ballot. And, dammit,
ballots cannot be completed online. Sadly, you must actually find a
newspaper, grab a ballot, and fill it out with a pen. (Jeez, this is
the 21st Century. C’mon FW Weekly, join the new millennium for
chrissakes!). Ballots must be mailed by June 26. Yes, this is a pain in
the posterior, especially for our busy fans, most of whom are
congressmen and CEOs and don’t have time to fill out forms. But do it
for us. Next time we see you, we’ll give you a handshake, hug, or
French kiss (your choice).
In other news, PrinceRodriguez shared the bill with The Steve Tenpenny
Band at Central Market last week and had a great time. It’s a cool
scene. Central Market, at the southwest corner of Hulen Street and
I-30, is hosting outdoor concerts from 6 to 9 pm on Thursdays and
hiring some good bands, such as Billie Joe Shaver and Rusty Wier. The
booking agent invited us back, so we’ll let you know when we confirm
our next date.
Other upcoming gigs include a private party on June 17 (“private” means
you ain’t invited…but we’ll be thinking of you with all our hearts!)
and the FW Weekly Music Awards concert on June 25 in Sundance Square.
Till then, may a supreme being bless you.
|February 23, 2006
Randall Christopher, bassist
for The Shorty Wilson Band, was approaching his 40th birthday not long
ago and feeling kind of old and whupped. “I want some fresh-faced
whippersnappers filled with vim and vigor to play bouncy music and make
me feel young again,” he said one night while cleaning his dentures.
Naturally, PrinceRodriguez was first to come to mind, followed by the
Steve Tenpenny Band (STB), that rocking Texas Music group from Austin.
Young Tenpenny and his band members braved a cold night in February to
drive up I-35 for a wild bash at Rodriguez’ sprawling new Blue’s Bar
& Studio. The public debut of this Bar/Studio/Think Tank was a
smash hit, with room o’plenty for live bands, a-drankin’ and a-dancin’
(see photo of Wayne George doing some sort of twisting two-step
Brazilian lambada hybrid thing with Randall’s wife, Lisa).
PrinceRodriguez opened the show and your favorite Texas troubadors
played a long set or originals and cover tunes and damn near burned
down the barn with its high-energy show (note: it’s great writing
our own press!). The rapidly aging Christopher and his Shorty
Wilson bandmate, David on dobro, provided some tasty chops, and chick
singer Sharon Oefinger gave those golden tonsils a workout and dug deep
into her bag of percussion tricks.
The genial solidarity and Zen-like harmony among all of these musicians
“Let’s see you beat that, Tenpenny!” Rodriguez hollered after
PrinceRodriguez finished its last song and turned the stage over to STB.
PrinceRodriguez have known Steve since he was knee-high to a stunted
grasshopper. We recall playing guitars at Throckmorton County deer
leases in the 1990s while a teenaged Steven watched and savored the
thought of learning how to play guitar. The next year he showed up with
some basic chord knowledge and a growing confidence in his singing
ability. Another year or two passed and all of sudden he was playing,
writing and singing like a pro and on his way to Austin to be a Texas
Music star. He’s doing great, touring steadily and playing on stages
with such lofty celebs as Pat Green and PrinceRodriguez and carving out
a place for himself in the bidness. Good guy that he is, Tenpenny makes
a point to list us as one of his musical influences. And as talented as
he is, we gladly take the compliment.
So happy birthday Randall, thanks a bunch to Steve and his band, and
we’ll see everybody farther on down the road.
|December 2, 2005
Why hello ever-body. Prince
here to encourage everyone to check out “Hey Love!” -- my first solo
effort. I recorded this album of original material in late summer while
Rodriguez was busy building a tamale empire to add to his chili pepper
kingdom. I may not be a modern day Marco Polo such as Rodriguez, but I
can and did create a damn good album. Well, to be honest, reviews have
been mixed. My goal was to record something haunting and different, and
I succeeded. But some people don’t cotton to haunting and different.
Now they tell me! Actually, I fully expected this project to be an
acquired taste. Most of the criticism centered on the eerie background
vocals, which I expected. Maybe I’m an egoist or simply living in a
dream world, but in some strange way, every time someone trashes my new
album, I take it as a compliment. Of course, I also take compliments as
compliments, so I can’t lose! Bottom line: I love the cd. The music
production by Good Oops Studio owner James Michael Taylor (who is a bit
haunting and different himself) is just what I had in mind, including
the odd choral effects he created by stacking as many as 20 tracks on
top of each other. I wouldn’t change a thing and I predict that one day
this album will be fully appreciated as a masterpiece (recall that Van
Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime). If you haven’t bought a
copy of "Hey Love!" you better shake a leg – only 100 were printed,
ensuring the cd will become a collector’s item sold for thousands of
dollars on eBay in the future. I'll even cut off an ear if necessary.
On second thought, being a musician and all, I'll probably need my
ears, so maybe I'll just cut off a toe. Better yet, a toe nail. Anyhoo,
now that “Hey Love!” is finished, I’m pleased to see that Rodriguez is
winding up a hard year of business endeavors and eager to return to the
studio to record a second PrinceRodriguez album, a collection of our
early originals. The Blue’s Bar studio is finally completed and ready
for action. We have four – count ‘em, four! – cd projects in the works,
which should keep us busy for several years. Stay tuned. Also, if you
need any ideas for Christmas gifts, buy
some “Ballad of Pedro Nix” and “Hey Love!” cd’s for your family,
friends and neighbors. In the meantime, look for us at a party,
campfire, or saloon near you.
-- Jeff Prince
|September 9, 2005
PrinceRodriguez humbly apologize for our lengthy absence from our web
site, the blog, emails, the music, and the parties. We suck. We have
been overwhelmed with various projects, most notably the need to build
a new recording studio from scratch. Rodriguez sold his four-acre
property earlier this year, including the Blues Bar – a 900-foot
recording studio where the band recorded its debut cd, “Ballad of Pedro
Nix.” That album hit the charts “with a bullet.” Unfortunately, as Greg
Brown once said, the bullet went “right through its heart.” After
spending nearly three years creating “Pedro Nix,” PrinceRodriguez
failed to promote it, a common mistake among addled musicians who love
the music and hate the bidness. Naturally, the cd hasn’t performed
well, although it received some radio airplay in faraway places such as
Norway and Alaska. Excuses are like armpits, but here goes: Rodriguez
sold his house and studio, bought a new house, and expanded his
business. After becoming swamped with these demands, he decided in
spring to take an extended vacation from music. As a result,
PrinceRodriguez completely stopped gigging and recording. The band had
a blast at their cd release party at White Elephant on April 1 (see
previous blog) but hasn’t played a gig since. Prince has played a few
solo gigs but is such an airhead that he repeatedly forgets to take
cd’s with him to sell. And now, wouldn’t ya know it, deer season is
approaching, putting another roadblock in the boys' journey to the
Texas Music Hall of Fame (if there is such a thing). Once those
four-legged critters becoming legal targets, Rodriguez heads for the
hills and is rarely seen or heard from for weeks on end. However, good
news is on the horizon. A new studio – also to be called Blues Bar – is
currently framed and well on its way to completion. The new studio will
be bigger (1,200 square feet) and better (better insulated and with
private booths for vocals and mixing). Once the studio is completed,
perhaps by year’s end, PrinceRodriguez will go back to the studio for
their second cd, a greatest hits collection of their best songs from
the past 20 years. And they have vowed to promote this one, along with
the “Pedro” cd, with renewed fervor next year. In the meantime, Prince
has been working on a solo album of quirky love songs he has penned
during the past two years. Tentatively titled “Higher Walls,” the
project is being recorded at the Good Oops Studio in Fort Worth and
being produced by local recording artist and all-around eccentric James
|May 31, 2005
Dear hearts and gentle
Phill was recently featured in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which
wrote about his family getting back into the tamale bidness in Cowtown.
The reporter even gave the band a plug, calling our music "Texas
Fusion," which is okay with us, even though we typically call it
"country folk rock gospel pop crap." Come to think of it, Texas Fusion
might be better.
Family back in business with repurchase of plant
By Barry Shlachter, Staff Writer of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH - The Rodriguez clan is back in the tamale business. Quietly
this month, brothers Phil and Ernest Rodriguez Jr., and their father,
Ernest Sr., paid $1.2 million to buy back one of three Rodriguez
Festive Food plants in Fort Worth that they had sold five years ago to
CHS Inc., a Minnesota-based farmers cooperative and food-processing
"It was a clean deal," said Phil Rodriguez, who has spent recent years
building his Azle spice-blending business, North Texas Ingredients, and
recording Texas fusion music with Fort Worth Weekly writer Jeff Prince.
Ernest Jr. has been running a custom cattle feed company, Bar R Feeds,
Their company, renamed Rodriguez Foods, produces frozen, traditional
corn husk-wrapped beef and pork tamales for schools and the
food-service industry. Most importantly, it reunites the family in a
business whose roots go back to the 1930s.
CHS will continue to manufacture tortillas and tortilla chips at its
new plant in the Railhead Industrial Park, but it has backed out of
frozen prepared Mexican foods. It had entered the field to join the
rush into farm-to-table, vertically integrated operations like those of
agribusiness rivals Cargill and ADM, but things could have gone better.
On Feb. 29, CHS wrote down the value of its Mexican-food facilities by
$8.2 million, then moved to dispose of the tamale factory on Decatur
Street on the north side. The deal closed May 10.
"We heard they wanted to sell," said Phil Rodriguez, whose family
quickly decided to make a cash offer. No money was borrowed, he said.
While both sides were eager to seal the deal, 71-year-old Ernest Sr.
underwent triple bypass surgery "right in the middle of negotiations,"
Phil said. "It was frantic."
But getting back into tamales "was a dream" for Ernest Sr., who is now
on the road to recovery, he said.
The two brothers will continue their respective ventures while
operating Rodriguez Foods. Their cousin Charles jumped ship at CHS'
Harvest Foods to become general manager with responsibility for sales.
It's the latest chapter in a Fort Worth saga that began in 1920 when
the Mexican Revolution forced the family to abandon its livestock
business based in Guanajuato state and start from scratch in the
Stockyards' burgeoning packing plants.
The family patriarch, Florencio Rodriguez, brought his 10-year-old son
Rudolfo to Texas, picking cotton and vegetables as they moved north
from the border.
In Fort Worth, the boy was deposited at Joe T. Garcia's boardinghouse,
where he remained by himself for a year, helping the future
restaurateur there and at his small grocery until the rest of the
At 16, Rudolfo joined his father at the giant Swift slaughterhouse.
Florencio was a supervisor in the hide department while his son held a
range of jobs, from hauling hides to deboning meat. On weekends,
Florencio and his children earned extra money by pulling cockleburs
from ox tails, at the rate of a penny per tail.
Rudolfo began Rodriguez Grocery on the north side in 1942, then
enlisted in the Navy a year later at age 33. He told his wife, Juanita,
to close the small market, saying he'd send home his pay. But when he
returned from the Aleutian Islands after the war, he was surprised to
find it not only open but thriving.
The business remained a grocery until 1964, when it was transformed
into a restaurant at Central and North Main streets. Two years later,
Rodriguez & Sons Tortilla Co. was begun -- with little
encouragement from friends in the Fort Worth business world.
It was run by Rudolfo and two sons, Ernest Sr. and Rudolfo Jr., who
were later joined by siblings Alice, Raul and Charlie.
Three years later, they decided to market beyond the Hispanic community
and approached Pete Riscky, himself the son of an immigrant packing
plant worker, to put their tortillas on the shelves of his north side
"I don't think they'll sell," the family remembers Riscky as saying.
But sell they did.
The Rodriguezes, later joined by a third generation, diversified into
tamales while the Risckys went from groceries to barbecue, eventually
operating a successful restaurant chain in North Texas.
"A long time ago, when they were first getting started with tamales,
Ernest [Sr.] told me he wished he was in the barbecue business," said
owner Jim Riscky, the son of the chain's founder. "It was something
nobody really bought then.
"Later, I ran into him at the bank, after he had sold out, and said, 'I
wish I had gone into the tamale business.' "
Riscky described the Rodriguezes as "moneymakers who get the job done."
But it wasn't all smooth sailing.
Phil Rodriguez said the family-run business struggled, almost going
bust four or five times until things stabilized around 1980. It hit pay
dirt around 1982, when Mexican food suddenly found mainstream
acceptance. The company secured better food brokers, who approached
school districts with frozen burritos and breakfast tacos, which were
soon being shipped as far as Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston.
"All of a sudden the tortilla was a growth industry," he recalled.
As for the future, Phil Rodriguez said he wants to re-establish the
company's customer base. Sales had expanded under CHS to the "$3
million to $4 million" range, but there's still much potential, he said.
"First, we're going to make sure customers are absolutely satisfied
with the product and the service," he said. "Then, I think we're going
to come up with new products. Maybe a gourmet product, taking it up a
step, say, chicken verde tamales, or tamales with shredded pork and red
"We have 4 acres, so there's plenty of room to grow.
"And we will."
Phil Rodriguez, Charles Rodriguez, Ernest
Rodriguez Jr., and Ernest Rodriguez Sr., hold frozen tamales ready for
packaging at Rodriguez Foods' north side plant.
SPECIAL TO THE
|April 8, 2005
The moment had been a long
time coming – more than three years of writing, rehearsing, and
recording. All of that hard work culminated April 1 when
PrinceRodriguez hosted its official cd release party and unveiled
“Ballad of Pedro Nix” to about 50 or 60 folks at White Elephant Beer
Garden. Bassist Mike Castillo returned to the fold to pluck his
sunburst Fender bass. Drummer Raul Rodriguez was missing in action, so
we relied on backup singer Sharon Oefinger to work her magic on
percussion instruments. The show started off a bit shaky – the night
was chilly, guitars were jumping out of tune, and the band hadn’t
played a show in many moons. In fact, Set One kind of sucked. So we
called for a break after about 30 minutes and headed to the bar for
some go-juice and mojo reinforcement. “Dammit, let’s quick screwing
around and go up there and kick some ass,” Prince said as Set Two was
about to proceed. “If you’re waiting on me, you’re backing up,”
Rodriguez responded. The set list was tossed to the wind and the band
launched into the Stephen Stills classic, “Love The One You’re With,”
always a crowd pleaser. Foot-stomping original songs such as “Big
River” and “Sunblind” were then interspersed with classics such as
“Truck Driving Man,” “Hickory Wind,” and “Angel From Montgomery,” and
the first set jitters were a distant memory. By the end of the evening,
old friends such as singer Jim Cleveland, bassist Frank “The Mule”
Kuban and harpist Danny Berryhill joined us on stage for a wild encore
that included two broken guitar strings, dueling harp solos, a
ponytailed Kuban humping that sunburst Fender like a schnauzer in heat,
and Sharon removing all of her clothes (well, okay, that last part
didn’t happen). At midnight, the Beer Garden closed and the bartender
ran us off, so we moved next door to the saloon to hear the last set by
3 Fools On 3 Stools, a band that was having their own cd release party.
Those dudes should have kissed our asses and paid us half their gate,
since nearly everybody who came to our show accidentally went into the
saloon, paid the cover, and then realized that PrinceRodriguez was
playing next door and NOT CHARGING A DIME for cover (we love our fans;
that’s just the way we are). After the saloon closed, we all ended up
eating late night hamburgers at one of those little late-night
restaurants on Exchange Avenue and then headed to Hotel Texas, where
Jim and Phill and their spouses were staying. Yes, we admit we were a
little noisy. So some complaining guests forced Jeff, Jim and Phill to
seek shelter under a patio at a nearby business that was closed for the
evening. We sat on a wooden deck overlooking the Stockyards and
continued to play guitars and drink whiskey into the wee hours. Phill
was bummed because he thought his mandolin had been stolen (the next
morning, he found it lying under his bed). An old bum named Cowboy
walked by and asked for some money. Jim handed him $20 and the old
dude’s eyes got wide. We invited him to sit a spell and drink some
whiskey and beer and he gladly accepted. After an hour or so Cowboy was
pretty drunk and confessed that he was an alcoholic and hadn’t had a
drink in over a year. Sorry to corrupt you Cowboy, we didn’t know your
were a reformed boozer. Hopefully one little night in the Stockyards
with PrinceRodrigez didn’t send you into a alcoholic spiral. Oh well,
if you quit drinking once, you can do it again! Jim is from out of town
and was worried that the police were going to come by and arrest all of
us but we assured him that we would be looked upon as “local color” –
although we would have surely been arrested if the Hotel Texas owners
had a say in the matter. That place used to be owned by Steve Murrin, a
real character who knows how to have a good time. The new owners are a
bunch of nags who griped about every little thing, and even chewed out
Jim’s wife for having the gall to climb atop a saddle that was
displayed near the lobby. By 5 a.m. the night had grown windy and cold
and the late-night jam session came to an end. Cowboy stumbled off into
the night. Jeff and Jim decided to sit in the warm hotel lobby and have
one final beer. They were talking quietly about something or another
when one of the new owners came out and told us to go to bed or go
away. Oh well, it was 5 am and probably time to call it a night. We
sold quite a few cd's but didn't do a good job of keeping track of the
numbers sold or the money collected. Didn't really matter -- all of the
money got spent on tequila at the White Elephant Saloon. We'll do it
|February 15, 2005
PrinceRodriguez: Our good friend (and chick-singer extraordinaire)
Sharon Oefinger sent the following blog:
“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” That’s what they say
anyway. Sometimes I’m not so sure. I first met Jeff Prince and Phillip
Rodriguez over 15 years ago at the TANSTAAFL Pub in Arlington. They had
been performing as a duo until they hooked up with a dark-haired beauty
named Linda DeLeon who added some chick vocals and percussion.
Unfortunately, the earnest and sensitive Linda wasn’t a good fit for
these two hard-drinking wild men, and she was quickly ousted from the
trio. Hard to say why Prince remained in good graces with her, but he
did, and I guess we’re all better for it. My free lunch came when Linda
introduced me to Prince for a “band” that was thrown together for a
concert to raise money for someone’s sick kid. We hit it off instantly.
And where there’s Prince, there’s Rodriguez.
Thanks to Jeff and Phillip, I’ve learned to drink and talk and carry
myself like a real Hell Cat. The catchy phrases, “Oh?” “Yessir,” and
“What tha!” all common in the PrinceRodriguez vernacular, have made
their way into my business meetings and conferences. I’ve also used
their “6 & 6 Rule” with various circles of friends and business
acquaintances to my great advantage (for the uninitiated, the 6&6
Rule means you can’t be held responsible for anything you say after 6
p.m. or six drinks.) They treat me like one of the boys but still
recognize that I’m a girl, and while they refuse to let me mix my
whiskey with anything but water, they are always there to pat me on the
head, give me a warm hug or dry my tears when I go sissy on ‘em.
Many years have passed since we first met. There have been many more
bands, many more gigs, lots of Throwdowns, Meltdowns, Musical
Extravaganzas, countless campouts, a couple of evenings passed out on
the table/in the gutter, a handful of tiffs, at least one “full moon”
when the boys decided to go skinny dipping late one night…
...and finally, the CD. I remember clearly the day the idea for the CD
was born, sitting around Phillip’s back yard on a beautiful Saturday
afternoon, drinking a few cold ones. Jeff had just started writing
“Bonita.” He hadn’t quite worked out all the lyrics and in a couple of
places he just hummed. I told him it was beautiful just as it was and
to leave it be. He did. It’s still beautiful. Now, three years later,
the CD is finally complete and the story of Pedro Nix unfolds vividly
through the music of PrinceRodriguez.
And I got to be a part of it.
“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” Sometimes I’m not so sure.
Sometimes you get lucky enough to cross paths with folks who just set
it out there in front of you.
|February 4, 2005
PrinceRodriguez: Our good buddy Jim Cleveland, longtime friend and
fellow singer/songwriter, sent us this blog about a bygone day:
It was one of those kinds of days. Early afternoon in early spring. The
sun was warm and the sky blue. Willie Nelson “Blue Skies” blue. Dickie
Betts “Blue Sky” blue. It was one of those days when all your bills are
paid, you have money in your pocket, and your wife has sent you on your
way to “go out and have some fun.” It was one of those kinds of days.
PrinceRodriguez (back then they were just regular ol’ Jeff and Phill)
came by my house in south Arlington, picked me up and off we went. We
didn’t have much of a plan on what to do, but judging by the ice chest
in the back of the pickup, cold beer would be involved. We decided a
drive in the country was just the ticket on such a fine day. Phill
pointed the pickup south and we headed for Mansfield. This was early
1980s Mansfield, not the current Mansfield filled with high priced
subdivisions. You could drive for 15 minutes out and feel like you were
out of the Metro-mess and back in Texas again.
We spent an hour just driving the back roads of Johnson County. As I
recall, we all shared a “cigarette.” So there we were, the three of us
tooling around in Phill’s pickup when all of a sudden a beer joint
appeared out of nowhere. It was weird. We’re out in the boondocks and
up pops a bar. A half-dozen pickups were parked out front. The bar’s
front door was wide open and from the road you could see neon beer
signs inside. Phill stopped the truck, looked at both of us and said,
“Boys, it is too pretty a day not to be holed up in a dark bar.” I’ve
always thought he should use that line in a song.
Once our eyes adjusted to the light (or lack of it) we could see about
10 to 12 men sitting at the bar crouched over beers. Everyone turned to
look at us, decided we were harmless and went back to their beers and
conversations. I fetched us a pitcher of beer and we sat down at a
table. It was then that Phill spotted a guitar leaning against the wall
in back of a small stage. Now, the three of us have never been afraid
of an audience. We grabbed that guitar and sat in that bar for a good
four hours playing every hard country song we could think of. Mighty
Merle, Lefty, both Hanks, Willie, Waylon and the boys -- we tore
through 50 years of music on a that dusty, out of tune guitar with bad
action. The good people of the bar kept buying us beers and we kept
passing the guitar around, taking requests, singing an original every
now and then. When we finally had to say goodbye to our new friends
there were still several full beers sitting in front of us. That was
about 15 years ago. Many times since that afternoon I have tried to
find that bar but I never could. It just appeared out of nowhere for
one great afternoon. Sort of like Brigadoon. I will never forget it.
|January 6, 2005
Red River, New Mexico somehow survived the
intoxicating presence of PrinceRodriguez from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. The
boys hit the ski resort with a vengeance, and the resort hit back. Both
of the band’s namesakes suffered injuries (Rodriguez hurt a
knee after crashing and burning on the ski slopes; Prince injured a
knee while dancing with a redheaded gal on New Year’s Eve at the Bull
O’ The Woods Saloon, which coincidentally is the bar that inspired Ray
Wylie Hubbard to write “Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother).
Alcohol consumed on New Year’s Eve included, but was not limited to,
Bud Lite (tons), whiskey-n-water on the rocks (bunches); buttery
nipples (numerous), kamikazes (one to many), champagne (way too many).
Luckily, the Cuervo bottle was accidentally broken before any shots
were consumed. The trip was mucho fun, although the good times
were dimmed by reports of the tsunami that hit Indonesia on the
same day that PrinceRodriguez, family and friends all arrived in
Red River. Initial news reports estimated the dead at about 20,000.
CNN’s images of death and grief clashed with the reality of beautiful
snow-covered mountains and happy faces on holiday. The juxtaposition
was unsettling. By week’s end, the number of dead topped 140,000,
coincidentally the same number of brain cells killed by PrinceRodriguez
on New Year’s Eve. Despite the mental damage, the boys did work on a
new song, a soulful ballad reminiscent of something Otis Redding or
Bobby Blue Bland might have done. Look for it on the second album.
PrinceRodriguez is assembling songs for their sophomore effort, which
they plan to record in 2005 at “Blues’ Bar,” a recording studio on
Rodriguez’s ranch in Parker County.
|December 20, 2004
thrilled about our new web site and the possibility of selling millions
of cd’s, becoming rich and famous, and having our own action figures.
But, don’t worry, we’ll remember all of the little people we stepped on
along the way and we promise to maintain our down-home generosity and
good cheer. Unlike some people. Bob Dylan was featured on “60
Minutes” recently – jeez, what a sourpuss. Bitterness must be a
wonderful motivator for writing music, but it’s sad to see a
63-year-old musical genius so pissed off at the world. An excerpt from
his new book “Chronicles: Volume 1” seemed to be little more than
incessant whining. C’mon, Bob, watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” or do
something to put things in perspective. You’d think a guy with the
insight to write “Every Grain of Sand” would be more at peace with
himself in the early autumn of his life. So, PrinceRodriguez offers
this Zen parable as a Christmas gift to Bob: A Chinese farmer awoke one
day and found a wild horse grazing on his pasture. He managed to rope
the horse and tie it to a fence. “That horse will bring a fortune at
auction – you are so lucky!” the farmer’s neighbor said. “Maybe so,”
the farmer replied. The farmer then went and fetched his oldest son, a
boy of 16, to break the horse, which would allow the farmer to earn a
better price at auction. His son was thrown and broke his leg in the
fall. “That’s terrible, what with the harvest season upon us – you are
so unlucky,” the neighbor lamented. “Maybe so,” the farmer replied.
Civil War was brewing in China, and the next week one of the warring
factions began scouring the countryside, forcing young men to enlist in
the army. The neighbor’s son was drafted, but the farmer’s son was
spared. “My son has been stolen and will surely die in battle, but your
boy was spared because of his broken leg – you are so very, very
lucky,” the neighbor cried. “Maybe so,” the farmer replied.