10:35 PM 5/18/01 Moctezuma Arechiga
The Road to being a Musician
I was born on November 21st, 1973 in Los Angeles, CA. My parents were born in Mexico and I am the middle child of three.
As a young boy growing up in East Los Angeles I remember always being interested in this old organ my parents had in our living room. I was told it didn't really work. This was not entirely true. Although it did not exactly function properly it worked well enough to start that part of my brain that would eventually bring me to music. I was probably around five or six years old. Even at that early of an age I could remember fiddling with all the knobs and levers on that old Kimball organ to try to get a sound I thought was cool. I would pay through my nose to hear the things I was trying to play back then.
This continued on throughout the years but I was quite a good student and I always seemed to be frightened of not doing my homework or something like that. I really enjoyed playing with my G.I. Joes and this became the thing to do for me when it wasn't about school. This was around 1982 so were talking the little,super-flexible action figures like Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Cobra Commando, Destro...not the big dolls. My brother is four years older than me and without even knowing it this would cause my life to change.
My brother Ulyces and his friends would always play music. We shared a room and I tagged along wherever I could go with him. This would pay off for me. Uly went to school with a guy named Jose Jimenez. I knew Jose was into computers and music but what interested me was Jose had video games. I was totally into arcades and the games I still wish I had in my own living room like Carnival, Galaxian, and Star Castle to name a few. Of course there was the Atari 2600 and later the Atari 5200 but the computer games were different. Even though we would sit there and load a cassette tape for 30 minutes just to play a game, it was so much fun. I remember playing a game about a goat jumping through the mountains. So here I am tagging along, pissing off my brother, and having fun. The video games would pass (umm...actually I still play a lot of games!), but the synthesizer changed my life.
Jose soon had a synthesizer. Just the damn word sounded so cool... Synth-eh-sizer...I was blown away when I heard that Korg Polysix make the exact Living on Video bass sound. By now it was around 1985 and I was in (oh my God at the time!) Junior High. In those days there were three styles, Discos, Rockers and everybody else. Oh yeah, if you weren't a rocker you were a fag. I was always definitely on the Disco side. Fortunately in Junior High there was another style to be. It was the kids who listened to the Cure, the Smiths, and other New Wave. I knew I loved the sound of the groove, especially the bass. My brother was into Duran Duran. They were the perfect combination of Disco with a completely original sound and I was soon hooked. There was plenty of synth and bass in this band! Hanging out with my brother and his friends was paying off in finding my direction at this crucial age. Jean Michael Jarre, Tangerine Dream, and all the nameless funky disco songs I was barely getting to were other huge influences. I decided to play in the beginning orchestra. There was no bass or synth positions in school so I played the trumpet.
I was terrified. Everybody was so ahead of me. I could only play a B note in the middle of the staff and people were hitting the high G all around me. I swore this was the end for me. By the end of the semester, though, I signed up for Senior Orchestra. Somehow I had gotten it. I had practiced and I was over my fear of playing in front of people. The extra attention from the girls for a musician didn't hurt either! My confidence was good, my hair turned a crazy red and was styled like the Empire State building. Somewhere around this time we bought a brand new organ. My head was exploding with ideas and creativity. In Christmas of 1986 I got my first bass. It was a red Harmony bass from the JC Penney catalog that my mom bought me. She was always the financer of my dreams. I practiced and learned almost solely by playing along to Duran Duran records. I still played trumpet at school but the Talent Show in 9th grade gave my friends and I a chance to show off. I played bass on Smooth Operator and We Got the Beat. My secret life of bass playing was out. I soon was in a "conjunto." This is a Mexican dance band that goes around playing at parties and halls for various events like weddings, birthdays, and the like. I gained a lot of live playing experience and started recording our rehearsals. This led to a different kind of bug later.
A school named LACHSA (Los Angeles County High School for the Arts) came to school to recruit potential students in my 9th grade year. I was blown away by their bass player. The funny thing was when that bass player started to solo, everybody in the auditorium started to yell my name. I auditioned for LACHSA on trumpet over the summer. Mr. Craig Kupka heard me play and asked if I played anything else. I called my brother and he brought my bass. I jammed with the Jazz combo. I received a letter later that summer from Mr.Kupka. He wrote congratulations, bring your bass to the first day of school. I was shocked. I didn't actually think I could be good at something I had so much fun doing. It must have been my Catholic mentality.
Even then I planned to stay at LACHSA for one year and go back to my friends at Garfield High and graduate with them. This was like my plan to quit playing in the orchestra in 7th grade. It never happened. I went on to graduate from LACHSA and had a very incredible time there. There was no Disco or Rocker thing here. It was a very creative place to be for me. We were only about 400 students sharing a college campus with Cal State LA. This was very different than 2,500 students on a gated campus. Music took over my life and I was exposed to a huge variety of Arts. I even started listening to Led Zepellin and Metallica. I soon found out there was very cool music in every style and listening to everything made me a better musician. I met Ryan Maynes (Schmed) and Jerry Rodriguez and within the first month we played a live gig at the amphitheatre. We called ourselves Liverpool, then The Feeling (for one gig only), then settled on Clopedia with Schmed on guitar and Jerry on drums. It was at this time that I began to realize I had a love for chord changes and harmonic structure. Schmed and I would sit and listen to songs just for the changes. He also turned me on to The Police and REM. Jerry was into the Smiths and Jazz. My songwriting became serious for me at this point although I pretty much kept my songs to myself.
Soon we would add Denis Boder on lead vocal and a girl named Sandy on keyboards to the lineup. Eventually Sandy left amd Jerry was replaced by Martin Klingman. This lineup was called Floor 13. We also played as part of the Jazz ensemble at LACHSA performing at festivals throughout L.A. County and even once in Oakland, California. Of course I still lived in East Los Angeles and would get together with Jose Jimenez who at the time was running computer networks while pursuing music. We would play just for pure fun. It was a welcome break from jazz competitions and Floor 13 rehearsals. Little did we know it we were recording the Peking Duck album, a collection of parodies, experiments and monstrocities.
Floor 13 would graduate and continue to play cruise ships, mountain tops, clubs, and many house parties. Eventually though, we split up in the mid 1990's. For a while Schmed and I worked with Marty in Lowbricks. It didn't last very long. Marty would go on to form his solo project with LACHSA alumni Mark Thomas on guitar. Schmed, myself and drummer Tom Sanford re-formed with Denis to create Date with Dizzy. In a nutshell we would be published by EMI and signed to Interscope Records in a very short time. We traveled to Hoboken, New Jersey to record our album with the help of our producer John Baxter. The years went by, drummers changed, and we lost our record deal. We had quite a ride and quite an album but this time around it wasn't meant to be. We now had Joaquin Revuelta on drums and although it was promising we wouldn't last. Schmed left followed by me shortly thereafter. Years of part-time jobs, purchasing musical equipment, and bad judgement left me in a bind. It would lead me to the inevitable. Getting a real job! I started a world of computers for me. Actually, this was inevitable since I was now commited to using a personal computer to help me record the songs I had kept under my belt for so long. I knew I wanted to do it at my pace in my own space. This led to the ongoing process of my home studio and my own computer consulting business. Soon friends would ask me to record their demos or play bass for them. I now understood what producing was all about and realized I could do it. Over the years I have accumulated much music, live performing, and recording experience. After a couple of years of not being actively involved in a musical project I realized that this desire will never leave me and I AM a musician plain and simple. Writing music, playing with friends, and recording music are my passions.
My current projects are recording some of my own material and working on music with longtime friend Jose Jimenez, writing and recording material for other artists in the rock, pop, and electronic realms.