The Rocks Off 200: Chingo Bling, H-Town's Own Versace Mariachi
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
photos by Marco Torres
Who? His birth name is Pedro Herrera, but to the world at large he is known as Chingo Bling --and also the Versace Mariachi, the Ghetto Vaquero and a long list of other self-assigned nicknames. The Houston-based artist/entrepreneur has been performing since the early 2000s. Herrera also acts and does some comedy, which he says goes hand in hand with his character.
Home Base? Herrera was raised in the Ingrando Park neighborhood of Houston. He performs all across the country, be it Illinois, Washington, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona, and "wherever the Mexican diaspora can be found." His offices are on the Southside of H-Town near Beltway 8.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? "I was born and raised here" states Herrera. "We have a great independent music scene, as well as lots of excellent places to eat!"
Good War Story?: In his own words:
I put together a show at the House of Blues and had been rehearsing with the band for weeks, on top of promoting the show. After much preparation, we packed the house. Day of the show, the air conditioning at venue had gone out, and people were packed in like sardines, so they stopped letting people in.
When it was our turn to go on, the DJ's CD player wasn't working. What a nightmare, but the show went on without a big chunk of the music playing under the band.
Story continues on the next page.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "Lame shows thrown together by lame promoters," Herrera says. "It's ruining the scene. Stop it!"
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Ramon Ayala, Tragos Amargos
- Vicente Fernandez, El Rey
- Selena, Como La Flor
- Lil Boosie, Set It Off
- UGK, Let Me See It
Best Show Ever? Chingo recalls The Money and Masa Tour he put together in McAllen, Texas circa 2003. He was a rookie in the game and had a good buzz, but says that the promoters were not booking him to headline.
"They didn't know what to do with me!" he says with a laugh. "They thought I was just a gimmick rapper or a good host at most" he remembers. "We packed that venue with 700 kids and sold a ton of merch. We had a rooster mascot walking around, a piñata stage prop, and a bunch of my buddies performing such as Lucky Luciano and Baby Bash. It was a success, and the kids had a blast. After that, the phones wouldn't stop ringing for bookings across the country."
Chingo has assembled a four-city Texas tour with Houston rapper Dat Boi T and Atlanta newcomer Kap G. The 3 Amigos Tour will make stops in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and Dallas this week. Check out the Web site for more details.
See the rest of The Rocks Off 200, and a link to The Rocks Off 100, on the next page.
Quenton Rockwell, Melody Man in the Shiny Darks Southerland Nights, An Army of Accolades Stacy Hartoon, Rudz's Punk-Rock Heir Apparent Bowen Lyons, Keeper of the Trimms' Groove Chris Gore, Electronica Guru of BLSHS John Alton, the Madness of Cosmic Bug Loaf Reko Trill, of the Almighty Trill Brothers Jo Bird, Bow-Caster of Fiddle Witch & the Demons of Doom DJ Nando1, Who Fights to Keep the Party Poppin' Randall Hopkins, Featherface Drummer and Brilliant Video Director Roby Deaton, Open-Mike Pocket of Cool Nosaprise, Hurrah! for the Blushing Bridegroom Tony Vega, the Big Easy's Barnburner Leslie Krafka, Onward Through the Fog Michael Anthony Shanks, Houston's Merry Shankster DJ Baby Roo, Vegetarian Hip-Hop Veteran Rachel Bays, Filming Them Softly Punk-Rock "Newcomers" Screech of Death Erin Rodgers, the Keys to Glass the Sky Alex LaRotta, Crate-Digging Fistful of Soul Brother Alycia Miles, Triumphant Soul Singer DJ Piam, Poison Girl's Bacon-Fat Funk Specialist Mister Insane, Host of The Insane Show Jake Rawls -- Kemo For Emo Is Back Santos Pastrana, Sound Engineer and DJ Ninja Heading Upstream with RIVERS' Chris Tamez DJ Dayta, Keeper of That Good Good Matthew Davis Buehrer, Runaway Sun's Globally Thinking Bassist Fat Tony, Third Ward to "BKNY" Noon, Rapper With a Lot on His Mind Matt Cash, Clear Lake's Cassette Tape Wailer Jason Smith, Alkari's Space City Rocker DJ Penetrate, All Lit Up in "Neon Lights" Catch Fever Is Catching On Renée Jonard, Princess of Noise Pollution Junior Gordon, Big Man With a Big Sound Chad Smalley, Blaggards' Barse Player Damien Randle, K-OTIX Man of Action Kevin Anthony, 45 Southbound Man DJ Good Grief Knows How to Have Fun Robert Kuhn, the Well-Traveled Islander Gunnar Cushway, Insko's Feel-Good Utilityman Mario Rodriguez, Tax the Wolf/Bang Bangz's Wonky Power Monger John Smith, Goodtime Continental Club Manager Dwayne Cathey, A Good Man to Scare People With Walter Carlos, Guitar-Punisher of Funeral Horse Ryan James, Putting Up a Good Fight John Cramer, Guitar Apostle of Project Grimm Big Gerb, Houston's Hongree-est MC Steven Higginbotham, Hard-Working Wheel Worker Alisha Pattillo & Her Swaggering, Soulful Sax Brandon Ray, Punk Rocker Turned Filmmaker/Animator The Excitable Boys of Another Run Flash Gordon Parks, DJ as Funky Professor DJ Main Event, Kratez Crew JumpOff Man Odd Hours and Back to Back's Hank Doyle Legendary K-OTIX Producer Russel "The ARE" Gonzalez Dylan Bryson Sings the Blues (Rock) DJ Damon Allen, R.O.C.O. Fellow Tom Lynch, New Kid On the Block Ashley Worhol, Goth-Metal Queen of Katy Joe Ortiz, Clockpole's Master of Nonsense Marzi Montazeri, the Man Dimebag Darrell Called a Bad Motherfucker John Salinas, the Beat Beast of Only Beast Homegrown Cowboy Crooner Charles Peters Adam Bricks, NYC Expat Metal Journeyman and Blasé Bassist Alan Hilton Kyra Noons, Houston's Reggae Sunsplash DJ AudiTory, the Maestro of LuvItMane The Nephilim Terror's Death-Metal Growler Danny Carroll Tommy Grindle, Guitarist of Square and Compass The Bailout Bureau's Mysterious "Bob Bovary" DJ Twinkle-Toes, Won a "Dick-Measuring Vinyl Orgy" With Two iPods Beanz N Kornbread, Gmail-Loving Production Duo You(genious), Party Crasher Turned Musical Auteur Daniel Alexander, Klein's Backyard MC
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