Editor’s note: We welcome back Homo Rodans, lead singer from Lumiere . Don’t be a stranger! – Quinto.
I was born March 10th, 1980. Most likely my first sign of life was a natural E flat powerful scream. Ergo, I was born a little screaming punk rather than your average baby. 21 years later, I became an engineer.
When I was 3 years old, I started playing with my cousins’ dinosaur-shaped piano. Later on, at 6, a red Hohner melodica became my best friend and one year later, I developed a strange rejection against acoustic guitars. I assume that was because of my dad’s many attempts to teach me to play boleros, which I found not amusing.
At 12, a Paul McCartney song, “Hope of deliverance”, made me forget my anger against the 6 stringed instrument and became the first song that I learned to play with proficiency. My awareness of The Cure, Nirvana, R.E.M. and all the 90’s bands was the catalyst that made me cross the point of no return set between me and the obsession to play guitar and (one day) create a rock band. I also started getting involved with resistors, cables, technical drawings and soldering in my pre-high school years. Thus the constant conflict between the inner rocker and the future engineer began.
At some point in my young life, I decided to study Engineering (Mechanical-Electrical) and eventually, I got a regular job within the automotive industry, right after graduation. As I said, I was 21 when that happened, my twenty-something decade was just starting and my dreams of playing in a rock band and make records were just as eager as my tender age could fuel.
I thought (and still think) that by having a regular job I was going to be able to sponsor my rock and roll goals in a sweet marriage between art and corporate commitment. With this mindset, La Luz de San Telmo (the first incarnation of Lumiere, my band) started playing gigs by selling, sometimes even buying, tickets to be the opening acts for some old school Mexican rock bands. Sigh, pay to play. We were also starting to save some money for our first recording sessions and buying some new equipment for the rehearsal room.
And then, the corporate engineering world required my services in Detroit Rock City.
Typically, one would think that in order to be an active member of a rock band you need to be physically with the rest of the band all the time. Especially if you are the front man. Even more so if you are the one that writes 99% of the songs. But that has not been necessarily the case for us.
Even when I have been out of my home country for extended periods of time, there have always been means to keep the ball rolling. There have been benefits as well. For instance, by traveling continuously to the US, I was able to get better prices in several pieces of equipment for the band, with the only problem being carrying it all back home!
Another perk (as a reward for something I don’t even remember now) was getting access to a huge SUV that served as our ride to a gig in Monterrey, a mere 9 hours away from Mexico City.
Conversely, being a musician has helped me with my self-esteem and polishing my speaking-in-public skills. I can easily give a presentation in front of a group or talk to my superiors without any problem, mainly because I think to myself “If you already had the guts to play at the Hard Rock Live in Mexico City, how much more difficult can this be?”
Schedules are a piece of cake now. We have religiously set a rehearsal time every Friday, which most of the times extends until the next day. We have even tried remote rehearsals when I have been out of town on business trips. Remote distance work is something that I’m a strong believer of; mostly because that’s the way I conduct business at work everyday (for example, I had to put together a series of remote distance teleconferences with participants from India, Korea, Mexico and the U.S.)
Jose Manuel Aguilera, lead guitarist and singer of the Mexican prog-rock band La Barranca once said (about his music): “I don’t make a living out of this, but I do live for this”. I couldn’t agree more. I probably don’t see myself without my job as an engineer anytime soon, but I was born a little screaming punk even before I could make my first math calculation. I’m 29 years old now, and I’m still a corporate employee with a rockstar secret agenda. The balance so far has been a happy complex symbiotic relationship, similar to that one between rice and Chinese food.
“…las serpientes también saben recitar…”