Keeping Rock &Roll alive in EP: a Q&A with local promoters Barba-Q

2012-07 Wstrn Plylnd @ Sumatra Hookah LoungeBarba Q is a local collective that are currently bringing to El Paso tons of shows with touring underground bands from all over the globe. Fusion did a Q&A to get insight into the world that is Barba-Q.

Who is Barba-Q?

Chief- Barba-Q is Leo “Chief” Lara, Jaz Meza and Rat Benatar.

What made you start booking shows?

Booking shows was more by accident, actually. I was helping out our friend Abel (from Souldies) a lot with shows. Last October, there were a couple of shows that he got asked to do but was not able to. So instead of not doing them at all, I decided to take a crack at it, and it’s been like that ever since. We do it now as “Souldies and Barba-Q presents”. I think it has a nice little ring to it.

What kind of music does a Barba-Q event have?

A little bit of everything, but it’s mostly geared towards the booming garage scene out there right now. But garage pretty much includes a lot of pop, punk, power pop, etc… We’ve even done some metal shows like Old and Ill and The Well, both awesome bands from Austin.

2012-10 Tough Shits @ Lips What bands have you brought and how far have they traveled to come to El Paso?

There’s a lot! Some of our favorites include Audacity, Cosmonauts, Jaill, Las Ardillas, Los Vigilantes, Tough Shits, Pop Zeus, Gap Dream, Apache, Acid Baby Jesus, Nu Sensae, White Fang, Wooden Indian Burial Ground, Burnt Ones, Fletcher C. Johnson and so many others. Some have traveled as far as Greece, France, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and of course from the states mostly from California, Texas and New York, most of them in collaboration with Souldies.

What was your favorite Barba-Q event?

Every show has had its fun times and good bands, but I think So!Sick!Fest just because it was a huge undertaking that wasn’t really in our plans to be done that way. It was a big challenge, but everyone ended up having a great time. We had 17 of our favorite bands on one bill, and it was amazing!

What are some of the bigger differences in the music scene and what remains the same in all the years you’ve been a part of it?

I think the biggest difference is just what is relevant right now. Back when Rat and I played in our first band Supercobra, there wasn’t this great rock&roll/garage scene. It was just weird back then. What remains the same is, sadly, that there are still those people that want to have nothing to do with going to shows, especially here in this area. It’s sad because there is so much good stuff out there right now.

2013-06 The Well @ Cafe CalaveraWhat do you feel is wrong with the music scene and what things are making it right?

Just that some people still won’t take this stuff seriously and they can’t appreciate some really good music that’s out there. They won’t pay attention to it until a band is on certain music festivals… that will remain nameless. Those that are making the scene right are those who actually do care. Those people that go to shows, book shows, play shows, buy merch and let a band stay at their place. You can’t beat that. All that stuff just breeds better things.

Is it easy to work with the venues?

Yeah, for the most part, everyone we’ve worked with here in town has been really cool and open about things. In a time where a lot of venues are struggling or even closing, it’s nice to be able to have those few that still give people like us a chance, even though it’s totally DIY.

Where do your shows go down?

Early on it was Lips Lounge and at Proper Printshop. From then on, it’s been a mix between Lowbrow Palace and Black Market, and now also Café Calavera and Monarch.

2012-07 @ Sumatra Hookah LoungeWith so many people (population) in the area, do you feel the underground music scene should be bigger?

WAY BIGGER!! But there are people here who know their stuff and work hard to keep it alive.

How is the support from Juarez and Las Cruces?

Las Cruces is great! There are so many good people and bands that make it down here from time to time to support and play. They also have some amazing shows up there that we try to get to as much as we can. We have a lot of friends in Juarez that have always supported us, and that has always been appreciated. It’s always nice to get that occasional new face in there from Juarez too though.

How does it feel to see people coming together and having a good time at your events?

It feels really good, and it’s satisfying that people can make it to the shows, but also having fun. Most of all, you want to see the traveling band have a good show and enjoy it, and for the most part, that’s never been a problem. We’ve met some really good people doing this. The best part is probably when we post the pictures on the (Facebook) page and everybody is on there “liking” the pictures, commenting on them and tagging each other. I think that, in it-self, has a little effect in maybe building the scene somehow. The out of town bands love it as well, as they get to have a little “photo diary” of their El Paso show.

2011-12 Boring Boyfriends @ La Fragua, Cd. JuarezWhich bands in the area fit in to the mold of what you are doing?

Some of our favorite (local) bands are Lake of Fire, Miijas, Nalgadas (shameless plug), Los Santanicos, Bitch Face, Ralpheene, Dunas from Juarez… and Far Corners, Low Culture, and Time Squares all from Las Cruces, just to name a few.

What are your future plans for Barba-Q?

Pretty much just continue with more of the same. Hopefully we can keep it going, keep on getting some more good shows and keep getting better turnouts and support. There is already a lot of great stuff lined up for the coming months. Maybe we could soon expand it to the zine idea we had at the very beginning. Stay tuned!!

TXT: DANNY SALAS | PHOTOS: JAZ MEZA

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