"DUN NAH NA NA NA, NA, NA, NA, DUN NAH NA NA NA... BO! CORONA!!!"
For many Tejanos living and growing up in the barrios of Houston back in the 1990s, this was the entry music you heard as you tuned your radio to KXTJ Super Tejano 108 FM (which later bought out and joined KQQK Tejano 106.5 FM). Admit it, some of you still remember the jingle and read the opening sentence above with a big grin on your face as you sang along to the rhythm.
The man, the legend, the voice, and the hair behind the mike is of course, none other than Bo Corona. Years after the last note of Tejano music has left the Houston airwaves, you can still hear Bo's voice on the corral of CBS Radio frequencies in Houston (Sports Radio 610, Mix 96.5, The Bull 100.3, Hot 95.7, Mega 101). We caught up with Bo to talk about his history, his favorite Tejano Music songs, and the Tejano Por Siempre concert happening this Saturday, September 26th in the Almeda Mall parking lot.
Before we start with the interview, I'd like to share a definition of Tejano Music:
"Tejano is a distinct type of music played primarily by Tejanos, for Tejanos. It is comprised of several genres of music including orquestas, conjuntos, grupos, and Chicano country bands playing a variety of Mexican music updated over the decades.
Tejanos are Mexican-origin individuals born or raised in the U.S. and, unlike immigrants, grew up speaking both English and Spanish. They also listened to a variety of social dance music heard in the United States and in Mexico, including musica Tejana. This type of music popularly referred to as “Tejano” in the 1990s, was neither Mexican nor American but a complex hybrid that entailed the creative combination of rhythms, styles, and songs from both countries. Despite its complexity, the core of musica Tejana was the ever present polka-based ranchera."
This definition can be found in the extensive case study entitled "When Tejano Ruled the Airwaves: The Rise and Fall of KQQK in Houston, Texas" by Guadalupe San Miguel Jr. of the University of Houston. I know most of us don't like homework, but I highly suggest you check it out and read it.
And now, the interview:
Rocks Off: Hola Bo Corona! So great to finally sit down with you and talk about Tejano music. Tell us a bit about your history in Tejano music and origins.
Bo Corona: Well, my home town is El Paso, and I remember when the pioneer of Tejano music Little Joe would roll into the El Paso clubs back in the day. Later on, I dreamed of going to a bigger city and market, so that's when I went to San Antonio and started working the mornings at KXTN Tejano 107. That's where I originated my connections with the Tejano artists back in the day, people like David Lee Garza, Jay Perez, and all those guys, man. So I was in San Antonio from 1989 until 1993, when I finally made my way to Super Tejano 108. If you remember, we started the radio station by playing David Lee's "Hasta Cuando" over, and over, and over to generate a buzz around the new Super Tejano 108, and it worked! We showcased more of the new blood of Tejano with Fama, La Diferenzia, and Los Hometown Boys.
RO: How did you see Tejano music evolving back then?
BC: Lots of those bands were creating new sounds, and then you had Selena looking to tap into the English/Pop market, and Emilio Navaira going the country music route, and it was exciting! And it was great because it all that just opened more doors for our music and our culture.
RO: Many people see 1995 as a pivotal year in Tejano music. What do you remember about that year?
BC: Well, a few major developments all combined into this shift in the musical landscape. First off, there was the tragic loss of our beloved Selena Quintanilla, which was such a big heartbreaker for everyone. We all loved her and she was, and still is, one of a kind. There is no replacement for a talent and personality such as Selena. And then, that's also the year that El Dorado Communications (owner of Super Tejano 108) bought out KQQK. Two years later, KXTJ switched to Regional Mexican music, and then the influx of Norteño music took over, and then by 2001, KQQK started playing Spanish pop, and Tejano radio in Houston became non-existent on the FM dial.
RO: But even with all that happening, do you still think Tejano music lives in Houston?
BC: Oh yeah, most definitely! Its still alive and kicking. Which is why its great that this Tejano Por Siempre show is happening this weekend. The artists know that people still love them and will come out to support no matter what. The Tejano lifestyle is very proud. Its always a big party, the events are always full, and everyone is a big, loving community. Tejano isn't on radio anymore, but Tejanos are communicating heavily though social media to find the music and shows, and share their memories and keeping it going. The music gives us a great feeling. People can relate to the words and lyrics, and there's something about the music that just clicks.
RO: Tell us a bit about your fanaticism for the Texans, because I see you in the front row at every home game.
BC: Oh man! I am a huge football fan. I have an infatuation with the team and with Toro, the Texans mascot. That's my boy! So you will definitely see me yelling and screaming at the games, which is bad for my voice actually, so I try to do more whistling now but still loud and proud.
RO: Speaking of your voice, people hear it and identify you that way, but they also know you because of your hair!
BC: You know, I've had this hair style since high school. If you look at old photos of me with my wife, our prom pictures and wedding, its always been the same. I'm gonna hold on to this as long as I can, man! I guess when I start losing my hair, maybe I'l cut it. I love having long hair, and people still give me props for it.
RO: Now, I'm most interested to find out what are Bo Corona's favorite Tejano songs. Can you give us your Top 10?
BC: This was a tough list to compile, but here it goes:
RO: Gracias Bo!
The Tejano Por Siempre concert will be held at the El Dorado Western Club (10801 Kingspoint Dr) this Saturday beginning at noon. Tickets for the event can be found at http://TejanoPorSiempre.com/.
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston Music scene and beyond. You can follow his adventures on Instagram: @MarcoFromHouston.