The Rocks Off 200: Tim Ruiz, La Mafia's Master of Technics

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Who? Member of Grammy-winning Tejano band La Mafia, bassist Tim Ruiz has been creating music in this city for the better part of two decades. A top advocate for the local live-music scene with an emphasis on live jazz, Ruiz is the the creative mind behind the new Jazz Scene Houston page on Facebook and Twitter.

Home Base: "My home base will always be Houston," swears Ruiz, who is given to exclamation points. "La Mafia rehearses and records at Urbana Studios in the Near Northside, formerly known as Houston Sound Studios. For my personal projects, Jazz Technics and funk/soul band SoulDig, I write and rehearse in my home studio in the heart of the First Ward just north of Downtown. We play at The Flat monthly."

Why Do You Stay In Houston? "I am very connected to it!" says Ruiz. "My parents moved here from Mexico and was born in Houston. This is the place I learned how to play music, having attended HSPVA, where I learned the formative material about music and jazz."

Ruiz also provides these excellent reasons why we should be proud of Houston:

  • Tremendous opportunity for growth and development
  • So many awesome musicians that provide inspiring live music
  • One can make a pretty good living at being a full-time musician
  • Quality and quantity of art
  • Best food in the country

"I do feel that as a city, we need to have more pride and we all need to know about all the things make it great to live in Houston," he says.

Good War Story: Interesting times in Mexico:

Once maybe about seven years ago, La Mafia was on tour in Mexico. One night, we played a club on the outskirts of a major Mexican city, so we played our usual hour-and-a-half set, but then we were 'advised' by the venue owner or promoter to continue playing to accommodate a group of "special" fans (of the possible famed illicit unlawful kind) who arrived late to the show and missed a large portion of the concert. Anything for the fans!

Story continues on the next page.

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "The need for this question," says Ruiz. "I love it! It is to imply that there IS a problem with our scene. I would like to cut to the chase:"

1. Let's elevate the visibility of the music scene in Houston to the point that people not directly involved with music get to know Houston as a "music city." We have all kinds of great music going on here, so why shouldn't Houston should be also known as a music city? If we made an effort to achieve this, then there might be more respect from the people listening to the live bands and more support for them.

2. Let's be more supportive as musicians to other bands and musicians. Learn to be nice, stop playing the I'm-too-cool-to-talk "artist card" and learn to support one another, resist the energy-sucking urge to talk badly about one another. This zaps our scene from feeling connected and moving forward.

3. At this point the closest thing we have to a "centralized music district" as of now is this is the Continental Bar/Big Top/Alley Kat area in Midtown. I think if we could achieve a unity with bands and venues they way people like Bobby Heugel have achieved in Downtown with the bar scene, we have a chance at branding Houston as a "music city."

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (album)
  • Bjork: Vespertine
  • Depeche Mode, Music for the Masses
  • Los Panchos, Anthology
  • Prokofiev, Piano Concertos 1-3

Other personal favorites include "some Chopin"; Stravinsky, Petrushka & Firebird suites, Faure's Requiem Op.48 In Paradisum; Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, John Coltrane, A Love Supreme; Miles Davis, Kind of Blue and '58 Sessions; Herbie Hancock, Headhunters and Quartet; Snarky Puppy feat. Lalah Hathaway, "Something"; and "so far any record Grethen Parlato has released."

Best Show Ever: Prince in Lafayette, La., circa 97," says Ruiz. "For about two minutes he really evoked something spiritual that washed over me as if I had gone to a church."

Ruiz expects to release an album with Jazz Technics soon, featuring collaborators like singer Leah Alvarez and saxophonist Cory Wilson of the Suffers. The group's next show at The Flat will be next Wednesday, September 9. SoulDig with David DelaGarza and John Calderon plays The Flat on the last Sunday of each month. Ruiz will also play with La Mafia in Mexico and in Colombia in October and November.

See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and a link to the Rocks Off 100, on the next page.


Jessica Perry, the Spice In Vanilla Sugar Handsomebeast, Silver Jeans Starchildren Silver Blueberry, Garage Days Revisited DJ Squincy Jones, "If It Jams, I Play It!" DJ B*Ryte, From VA To H-Town With Love Jess Walker, the Pride of Pride Houston Phil Peterson, AR*V All-Star John Janatsch, Mayor of Houston Rock City Frank Ortiz, Synth-Pop Served Perfectly frank. Optimo Ram, Online Radio Jefe Meagan Chambers, Don't Gag Her Gorgeous Guitar Justin Nava, the Voice of thelastplaceyoulook Donnie Houston, Halftime Entertainment Chase Harris, Deep Cuts' Rather Deep Thinker Dave Callier, Grindcore Guitar God Mlee Marie Mains, the Heart of Hearts of Animals DJ Navo, Bombón's Boundless Body-Mover Breelan Angel, Dirty Little Secret Keeper Michael Dauzat, Sr., a Rabbi and a Hate Nick Greer, a G Among G's Chingo Bling, H-Town's Own Versace Mariachi 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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