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RIP Johnny Perez: Sir Douglas Quintet Drummer Dies at 69

The Sir Douglas Quintet around 1965; Johnny Perez is at top right
The Sir Douglas Quintet around 1965; Johnny Perez is at top right
Photo courtesy of South Texas Popular Culture Center archives

Johnny Perez, drummer for legendary '60s Texas garage-rockers the Sir Douglas Quintet, has died.

Perez passed away in a hospital near Los Angeles due to complications of cirrhosis of the liver, according to the San Antonio Express-News. He was 69.

Perez was a Golden Gloves-level amateur boxer and attended San Antonio's Fox Tech High School. Perez used to protect the other band members who would be hassled for their long hair, late front man Doug Sahm's son Shawn told the Express-News.

RIP Johnny Perez: Sir Douglas Quintet Drummer Dies at 69

The Quintet was managed by notorious hustler and record man Huey P. Meaux, who also owned Houston's Gold Star Studios, later to become SugarHill. Meaux sent the group into Gold Star to record "She's About a Mover" and "The Rains Came" in 1965, and both songs became hits during the exploding British Invasion. (Meaux both named and dressed the group to capitalize on the appetite for all things English.)

After the Quintet's Corpus Christi drug bust shortly after "She's About a Mover" became a hit, the band was forced to relocate to California. He remained in the SDQ, playing on the albums Mendocino, Together after 5, 1+1+1 = 4, The Return of Doug Saldaña, Live Love, even into the '80s on 1983's Border Wave

Perez also became the owner of Topanga Skyline Studio, where Bob Dylan recorded his 1986 album Knocked Out Loaded. Others who used the studio included Jackson Brown, Sting, The Chieftains and Bobby McFerrin, who recorded "Don't Worry, Be Happy" there.

Later Perez helped jump-start a new wave of Tex-Mex rock and roll by collaborating with Joe "King Carrasco on the songs "Buena" and "Pachuco Hop." Carrasco, who says he had been collaborating with Perez recently on the song "Tamale Christmas," called the drummer a "volcano of rhymes."


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