The Caliente Column

Chente Barrera Leads Generation TeX
By Doug Shannon (

Many onda-watchers see 18-year-old Vicente "Chente" Barrera as Tejano's
most influential young musician. He's been voted Best Drummer in the
Tejano Music Awards for the past two years. He's frequently on tour as
JAY PEREZ's drummer but also does plenty of studio work, laying down
tracks for other bands and singing backup vocals for acts like TEXAS
LATINO and GARY HOBBS. As a songwriter, his hits include "Tu, Nadie Como
Tu" for Texas Latino and "Ay! Carin~ito" for EDDIE GONZALEZ.

Chente began drumming at age eight. He gigged with LA TROPA F as their
keyboardist for a few years, and in 1993 was invited to be Texas Latino's
vocalist by drummer J.B. Hernandez. Still a senior in high school, he
turned them down so he could concentrate on his studies. He graduated
from South Side High School last year. Chente carries on the musical
tradition of his father, conjunto vocalist ROBERT BARRERA, who passed
away in 1985.

Q: Do you plan to go solo or form your own band soon?
A: There have been a lot of offers. A lot of people have offered to back
   me up, whether it's financially or musically. Or sometimes I'll be at
   a record label discussing some studio work I'm doing for them and
   they'll say, "Consider doing something on your own." Right now, though,
   I'm basically just trying to improve my playing. I'll consider going
   solo in another three years. I'll keep playing with Jay for a little
   while, but I don't know if it will be for the next three years.

   I've thought of doing a tour where I play drums and do lead vocals
   at the same time because it's never been done before. I wonder if it
   would impress people.

Q: Why is it important for you to turn 21 before you start you own band?
A: I think turning 21 will be a big change in my life. I can be more
   responsible if I were to make my own band. Right now if I sign a
   contract I need my mom's signature. There are times when my mom panics
   because she needs to sign a contract and she doesn't even know what
   it's about.

Q: Do you write from personal experiences, or imagination?
A: A little of both. If I'm in the shower or walking around I'll start
   humming things. Or if I'm at the the mall I'll hear a little jingle
   over the speakers and it'll stay in my head and I can make a song out
   of it. STEFANI SULLIVAN called me one day and said, "I need you to
   write me a song." So I said, "All right, I'll work on something."
   Later I was listening to the radio and I heard this song, "I'm just
   a shy girl, I'm just a little girl in the dark," and that phrase
   "shy girl" stuck with me. I was messing around with my bajo and
   humming and finally I came up with this song. I went to (Sony rep-
   resentative) Jose Rosario with it. He's very good with the Spanish
   language and he can make people's songs more exciting. He helped me
   put some words in it. Then Stefani heard it, and she loved it. I
   had no intentions of it being a hit. I just thought it was a good
   little groovy song that people could dance to. But it's going to be
   the first cut off her new album. It's called "Timida."

Q: Is there anything else you've thought about doing besides working in
   the music business?
A: I thought about being a surgeon. I'm a blood person. I like to go see
   scary movies where people get stabbed. I'm not violent; I'm just into
   horror movies. I really don't like it, but I get into it.

   Anyway, there was a channel here that put a camera on top of an
   operating table and they showed a caesarian section, a foot operation,
   and a facelift. That interested me. It's kind of in the back of my
   mind now, but maybe one day it'll happen. People ask me if I'm going
   to college, and I want to say I don't have the time. But I would like
   something to fall back on just in case a few years down the road I have
   an emergency, like Rick Allen from Def Leppard.