Michael Flores: Love Is In His Rock & Roll Bones
Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladies, meet Michael Flores. Gentlemen, say goodbye to your ladies.
Flores is a rock and roller with a murky past, a turbulent present and a promising future, all of which he writes about with a subtle confidence and an endearing humility.
What's more, Flores operates in both the English and Spanish, and that is absolutely extra credit here in Houston. So we reached out to him to talk about tigers, facial hair and the city's lackluster roll call of prominent Latino musicians.
Rocks Off: First, tell us everything we need to know about Michael Flores in exactly six words.
Michael Flores: In exactly six words? I can do this in five words: Love is in the bones.
RO: Your song "Anything For Love," how accurate is that? Would you really do anything for love? Would you:
Eat a yardstick? Wrestle a small tiger? Wrestle a mid-sized tiger? Wrestle a full grown tiger? Watch Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns? Drink Mason Verger's bath water?
MF: "Anything For Love," oddly enough, was written at a time when I couldn't actually be with that one person you want and somehow can't have --isn't that how it is sometimes? Sometimes, being in love with someone who's in love with someone else can be more enticing than just having someone.
What would I do for love? Well a, yardstick doesn't appear to have any carbs and might actually contain some hidden protein so yeah, I might be up for that; long amounts of chewing required.
Small tiger, midsize tiger, full-grown, doesn't matter. My obsession with tigers goes all the way to the ink on my skin, so given the chance I'd probably wrestle with one for my own interests. I love that animal, so majestic.
Tyler Perry Meet the Browns. I've seen this movie title. I'd be up for it because me being 'brown' sounds like George Lopez would make an appearance at some point.
So far I've proven my love. Now, regarding Mason Verger's bath water to win someone's love? I'll have to go ahead and go on record by saying there are plenty of other fish in the sea and move on with that one.
RO: Your sideburns are very nearly a full beard. How long did it take you to grow them? Several years, we're guessing.
MF: My sideburns are a product of when you're a young teenager and having facial hair is the cool thing to do, except for one problem... everyone else is able to grow some but for whatever reason I was a late bloomer and never could till much later. Felt like I was three years late to my prom.
So once I could grow them, I always kept them. And now I rather enjoy all the Spanish Elvis references I get. After all, he was the King, wasn't he?
RO: Something serious, even more serious than full-grown tigers: What's this new album going to be like? What percentage will be in Spanish? Guest features?
MF: It's perhaps the most artistic approach I've taken to recording. My first release was entirely Spanish, the second one a hybrid of both English and Spanish. But this one is entirely English. I have enjoyed the diversity very much. I teamed up with a band I play with on the side, The Radio Drama. It's dark and vivid, inspired by the loss of my beloved grandfather and is themed with Day of the Dead.
The album is titled Love Is In The Bones and I had my face painted in honor of him to celebrate his new life. So in turn, the songs on this album also reflect times in my life when I have had to let certain parts of my heart 'die' in a ense in order to celebrate the new life that needs to take place. So a lot of my songs this time deal with the darker side of love and even family and how there's not always a happy fairy-tale ending, but yet it all leads to the birth of new and healthy emotions that may have been dormant before.
Sometimes moving on is exactly what we needed, is what I really mean
RO: Why hasn't a musician with a focus on Spanish from Houston really popped? It seems like that should've happened already.
MF: As for the Latin music in general, I am a bit mystified myself that Houston isn't more on the map. Maybe I can do my part getting it out there. It's a wonderful culture; I am so very proud of my heritage. So much that as difficult as writing in Spanish has been for me, I set out to make it happen.
A lot of my generation has been shut out of speaking and relating to people in Spanish. We try so hard to fit in here in America to avoid stereotypes that we often forget just how rich in beauty our heritage and culture is. In fact, there is so, so much influence that Spain and Mexico have in this area that it would be a tragedy to shut it out. I love being brown, as my friends joke with me about. But my love for good ol' American rock and roll is what makes me mix and blend the two sounds and vibes together.
I will probably always have it that way, because that's how everyday life and conversation is for me. The joining of two worlds is always a beautiful thing.