The Rocks Off 100: David DeLaGarza, Don of Tejano Stars La Mafia
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.
Photos by Marco Torres (except as indicated)
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."
photo courtesy of David DeLaGarza
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."