|By Logan Hawkes
It's high time for Texas music and great Texas seafood, and that's what you'll get when the LandShark South Padre Island Music Festival takes place Sept. 18-19, featuring 25-plus Texas artists and some of the best Texas seafood available anywhere in the world.
The two-day, music, food, and arts event, will be staged on outdoor stages on the bayfront at the South Padre Island Convention Centre. A lvariety of seafood and sides from the coastal region's most esteemed seafood restaurants and vendors will be made available at the festival plus classic festival food fare including hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage on a stick, funnel cakes, turkey legs, fajitas, and more. The festival will also feature an eclectic variety of coastal and Texas art presented by Texas artisans from near and far.
So far the great Texas music lineup includes Kevin Fowler, Ryan Bingham, Cory Morrow, Jason Boland, Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Schneider, Bowling for Soup, Michael Salgado, Ruben Ramos & the Mexican Revolution, Honeybrowne, Micky and the Motorcars, Vallejo, Rodney Hayden, Doug Moreland, Jake Andrews, Subrosa Union, and His Royal Majesty, Joe King Carrasco. While everyone of these artist can and no doubt will turn in solid performances, my money is on the King of Texas Weird.
Texas music lovers need no introduction to the music of songwriter, performer and filmmaker Joe King Carrasco. His Tequila Reggae music and Tex-Mex attitude is highly contagious, and it takes but one live performance to realize that the KING is not just a party animal, he is a party performer.
Embellishing everything that is Texas in his obscure but bouncey music, Joe King - his “Majesty” as he has come to be known in Texas music circles - is an explosive on-stage performer who subjects his audience to mad fits of high energy stage antics and even acrobatics. Watching a Carrasco concert is not only contagious, it’s exhilarating and completely tiring - like running and winning a 26-mile marathon. You don’t need to understand who Joe is to enjoy his live performances.
Understanding and appreciating his music, on the other hand, requires a little understanding of his background.
Since the early 1980's Joe has been the toast of Texas as the crown regent of the "nuevo wavo" crowd. In 1978 he released an LP titled Tex-Mex Rock & Roll with his band El Molino, featuring Augie Myers. Carrascos early 1980 band, the Crowns, signed with England's legendary Stiff Records. During this time Joe toured extensively throughout Europe, Central America, Bolivia and Columbia as well as across the USA and Canada, consistently delivering high energy performances where dancing was numero uno priority. It wasn't long that he became an eclectic legend - an outlaw of music whose style and flavor offered something you couldn't get anywhere else.
Reminiscent of Elvis Costello and David Byrne, Carrasco added enough Texas 'regionalism' to his sound that he stood out above the other alternative music wizards of the time. Trying to label that music is, well, nearly impossible. At one moment we can easily discern a punk beat with a Latin or Reggae rhythm. The next moment we’re hearing a far out style that reminds us of Sam Sham or Doug Sahm. There are plenty of Tex-Mex infuences too. But underneath it all is a sound that is uniquely Texas - and uniquely Joe King Carrasco.
While Joe’s music may be considered obscure, the mainstream media has recognized his undeniable talent. Joe was the featured interview in an issue of Rolling Stone Magazine a few years back, and made it big on MTV with a take-off of his popular song “Party Weekend”. But perhaps the crowning moment of his acceptance in the world of music came in 1981 when he was recording an album in London in a studio next door to Michael Jackson - who was also recording at the time. Carrasco meandered into Jackson’s studio, introduced hiimself to Jackson, struck up a conversation, delivered a few lines of an original song and WHAM! - Jackson walked back to Caraasco’s session and sand the backup vocals on one the album’s songs, ““Don’t Let A Woman (Make A Fool Out Of You)”.
Joe is certainly an off-the-wall type of guy. Choosing to live his life and play his music “his way”, he has captured the ears and hearts of millions around the world. Yet choosing personal happiness over fame and money, His Majesty has long dared to walk the road less traveled. In recent years, for example, Joe has fallen in love with Mexico’s West Coast, and on just about any given night you can catch him performing in one of several bars and clubs in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, Joe, along with his dogs, travel extensively in Mexico and can often be found in obscure little night spots from Puerto Vallarta to Chiapas.
Even if you’ve never heard the name ‘Joe King Carrasco’, one night standing before a stage where the jacked-up Texan performs is enough for him to blaze a lasting memory into your mind. The music is good and it’s fun, and his musical and performance talents are far beyond what one might call usual or good.
You can catch the magic and energy of Joe King Carrasco on South Padre Island in September when he performs at the LandShark South Padre Island Music and Seafood Fest - a highlight of the festival. For more info about the King, visit his Web site at www.joeking.com. Visit the festival Web site at www.sopadrefest.com.