Final Impact made great impression

By Chito de la Torre
    The winners of the 5th Annual Tejano Music Competition are certain to leave
their mark on the Tejano music scene.  Final Impact, of Austin, Texas, scored
the top prize at last Saturday's competition, and is already being approached
by some heavyweight sponsors wanting to back them up.

    The TMC, held at San Antnio's Mission County Park, is dedicated to helping
new bands get on their feet by not just providing a venue for new-comers to
strut their stuff, pero tambien by giving them what they all want, a recording

    Final Impact, a mixture of some very seasoned musicians and upstarts, is now
ready to enter the studio and record the group's first CD under the Freddie
Records label.  Freddie Records is also the same label that records Los
Chamacos and Potente.  You might remember that Potente got their start last
year after winning the TMC themselves.

    "I've got enough material for a record," said Marcelo Gaona, accordionist and
lead vocalist of Final Impact.  He added that their first CD will also
probably contain some of Freddie Martinez's own material (Freddie is the owner
of Freddie Records).

    In fact, Final Impact took the first place by playing some of their original

    "We played Tocando Puertas (by Tropa F)," says Manny Flores, manager of Final
Impact.   "After that we jumped into one of our originals.   Marcelo wrote it,
`No Te Importa a Ti' (ranchera)  from there we went into an old guapango that
we converted and restructured ourselves."  That guapango is called El Kitty.

    But the recording contract is not all the group won.  They gained a lot of
respect and attention. 

    "Seems like as soon as they announced the winners, there were photographers
and different (record) labels," recalled Flores.  Some of those people were
representatives from Voltage Records (Los Palominos) and Virgin Records as
well as some major potential sponsors.

    "Miller Lite already called me today," said Flores last Wednesday.  "Budwiser
wants to sponsor us also. Things are happening too fast."

    But they really haven't happened all that fast.  Part of the reason that
Final Impact made such a winning impression is because these musicians are
already professionals.  Even though the group is only 15 months old, all but
one of the members have recorded in the past.

    "I've recorded for Los Hermanos Aguirre," said Marcelo Gaona.  "I used to
play Norteno.  My first recording was with my brothers in `74.  We recorded a
song called `Choo Choo Train' from Los Cuatitos Cantu.  I've also recorded for
Salaman, Rudy Davila and Joe King Carrasco."  Not only did he record with
Carrasco, he also got to tour Europe with him.

    Gaona has been in music since he was eight years old when he used to play
with his dad in cantinas.  "We had a big family and we had to do something to
maintain it," said Gaona.

    Other Final Impact members have also recorded.  Guitarist David Guzman has
also recorded, as have bass player Mario Gaona (Marcelo's brother), drummer
Edward Sandoval, and even 13-year-old timbalista Daniel Sandoval.  In fact
only keyboardist Raymond Anthony Garza has yet to record, and with the winning
of the contract, that will no longer be true in the very near future.

    Other winners of the TMC include Pacencia from Kenedy, who features a female
vocalist, took second place and also won a contract.  In third place and also
a contract was Grupo Momento from Houston.  And in fourth place was another
Houston band, Amanda y Ambicion.
--30-- (printed with permission)