The Rocks Off 100: David DeLaGarza, Don of Tejano Stars La Mafia

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Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, 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 the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Any conversation about Tejano music is incomplete without a mention of internationally successful, Grammy award-winning supergroup La Mafia. One of the primary elements of the band since the beginning has been keyboardist and background vocalist David DeLaGarza, whose music and infamous gritos helped shape the sound and heart of Tejano music.

Who? I was born and raised in Seguin, Texas, to a family of musicians," says DeLaGarza. "My father and all my uncles were musicians. My father played with some of the early greats of Tejano music such as Sunny & the Sunliners, Latin Breed, Agustine Ramirez and many more.

"I started playing with my father and uncles at the age of 12," he continues. "I moved to Houston at the age of 19 in January of 1989 when I joined La Mafia."

Home Base: As a member of La Mafia, we're based in Houston," he says. "Although we don't play a whole lot here, this is where we will always be based out of. Being that we don't tour as much as we used to, we are pretty selective on the shows we do."

DeLaGarza also does some shows with his cover band Kosmic Latte, and has played Houston's House of Blues a few times with his project featuring Santana vocalist Andy Vargas. He also has a project featuring ex-Beyonce percussionist Marcia Chapa, Houston sax star Kyle Turner, Al Jarreau guitarist John Calderon and the rhythm section of Jason "Wild Child" Robinson and Junie Wallace (drums).

"I'm pretty busy," DeLaGarza affirms.

Why Do You Stay In Houston? I Love Houston!" he exclaims. "Everything about it. I basically grew up here because when i moved here i didn't know a single soul. As the years have passed I've made some lifelong friends.

I love the sports teams," adds DeLaGarza. "You can always find great music [and] food, and it's where I have my own family."

Good War Story:

With La Mafia, there are so many! We have traveled all over Mexico and South America and pretty much all of the Latin countries, but I remember around 1990 when we were first starting to gain popularity in Mexico, we did a show in Monterrey.

The sound system wasn't very good, and the power kept going out. We thought the people were going to kill us. It got to a point where it was happening every song.

We soon found out that they loved us so much that every time the power went out, the people just kept singing the songs back to us and would just wait until the power came back on because they wanted to see us so badly. And this was before we really even exploded there.

Music Scene Pet Peeve: Being that I also play locally, I really hate the fact that some of these locals clubs will only book you if you play a certain type of music," DeLaGarza says. "They might as well book the same band every night, because they want the same music from everyone.

"I'm just blessed that I have been able to find my niche and can work and play what I want to play," he adds.

5 Records You Can't Live Without:

"Too many to name, but here are some that come to mind," DeLaGarza says.

  • Stevie Wonder, Fullfillingness' First Finale
  • Sting, Ten Summoners Tales
  • Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson
  • Michael Jackson, Off the Wall
  • Prince, Sign "O" the Times

Best Show Ever: "The Jacksons' Victory Tour, Texas Stadium 1984."

See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.


Jason Puffer, Your Psychedelic Sex Panther

Tobin Harvell, Fitzgerald's Unflappable Floor Manager

Walter Suhr, the Straw That Stirs Mango Punch!

Tony Garza, La Orquesta Salmerum Founder

OG Ron C, Chopstar King of the Purple Dome

Football, etc., Giving Emo Back Its Good Name

Angela Jae, Renaissance Artist

Shellee Coley, Voice of the Northern Woods

Blaggards, Houston's St. Paddy's Day House Band

DJ Meshak, Hongree Records' Sound Selecter

K-Rino, South Park Coalition's Southside Maven

DJ Candlestick, One Niceguy and a Very Busy DJ

Danielle Renee, Only Beast's Destroyer of Walls

Felipe Galvan of Los Skarnales

Kristine Mills, Houston's Brassiest Voice

Brian Davis, Punk Drummer, Horror Composer

Elroy Boogie, Top-Notch Turntablist

Sean Ozz, Wizard of The Abyss

Alyssa Rubich, Angel of Instability

Alphonso "Fonz" Lovelace, Righteous Drummer

Frank Zweback, Funkmaster General

OG Bobby Trill, Bombon Beatmaker

Beau Beasley, Organist for the End of Time

Rapid Ric, Mixtape Mechanic

Dwight Taylor Lee, the Wandering Bufalero

Coline Creuzot, Soulful Pop/R&B Singer

Cristina Acuna, Cactus Music's Twitter Fingers

Clint Broussard, Blues In Hi-Fi Man Now Back On FM

Nortnii Rose, Houston Ska's Greatest Hope

Ramblin' Chase Hamblin, the Man Who Will Be Paid

Chris Alonzo, Bringing Night Flight to Facebook

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