The Caliente Column

Luis Ayala: La Fiebre's Big Guns
by Doug Shannon

Luis Ayala has three of La Fiebre's biggest guns--his biceps and of
course his trumpet, which shoots off brassy riffs into the crowd.

What remains to be seen is if his new CD, "La Fiebre Presents Luis Ayala,"
can bullet up the chart.

Ayala produced and arranged the music, which was recorded at Houston's
Sunrise Studios. The first single, "Nunca," is a techno-cumbia written
by Paul Ybarra. La Fiebre is the backup band on this CD but Ayala used
a few guest musicians including Mazz keyboardist Brando Mireles.

Since La Fiebre is a democracy and musical ideas and song selection
are decided by vote, Ayala used his solo CD as an opportunity to call
the shots on the sound it would have and what material he would use,
much of which was written by his friends.

La Fiebre lets Ayala sing some of his solo material at their dances,
giving Pete Espinoza a break. Ayala added that he'll do more solo work
if this release is a hot seller.

He gives his age as "twentysomething" and he's a bachelor.

Q: What sets your music apart from everyone else's?
A: I actually went to school for music. I got a scholarship to University
   of Houston and I studied music there for four years. So my music comes
   out more contemporary. Plus, I'm a young guy, so I like to think of
   new stuff and give it a new flavor.

Q: Did you finish your degree at U of H?
A: No, I sure didn't. I was on a five-year plan and I went for four years
   and La Fiebre came along and whoosh, there I was.

Q: What was your main instrument in college?
A: In high school I was a trumpet player and I got a scholarship to go
   to U of H and there I learned sax, piano, and guitar.

Q: Do people compare what you're doing to what Gavino did when he was
   with La Sombra?
A: I'm sure they do and I'm glad, because it is basically the same.
   Gavino doesn't really have a musical background and I'm actually
   educated in music so that gives it a different style altogether.

Q: Will La Fiebre have any personnel changes?
A: As far as me leaving? No. I'm happy with the guys. They're all my
   friends.

(Since this interview, trumpet player Eric Jimenez left La Fiebre and
 joined Candiani.)

Q: Were you upset that when your CD hit the stores, many radio stations
   hadn't received "Nunca"?
A: I wasn't upset. It was more like, "Pick the ball up, let's get going."
   We've got to work together (with EMI Latin) for a long, long time so
   it doesn't do any good to get upset with anyone.

Q: How long did you work on the album?
A: About a year. I started on it last March. It was a really slow process
   because of my commitments to La Fiebre.

Q: How often do you work out?
A: I like to work out every day but being in La Fiebre doesn't let me.
   If I'm on the road and I can't, I'll just run. If I can hit a gym on
   the road, I will. I work out about three times a week. I stay for an
   hour or two. I do spot work, where I look at myself in the mirror and
   say for example, "Whoops, need to work more on the legs," and I do
   extra heavy on the legs.