The Caliente Column

David Lee Garza: Con Algo Diferente
By Doug Shannon (

You wouldn't expect someone with a nickname like "El Padrino" to be hip
with teenagers, but David Lee Garza keeps attracting new fans with each CD.

"I like to see younger people at our performances because it's going to
keep the Tejano scene going. When we first started recording, it was a
middle-age and older crowd. But as we got older, the crowds started getting
younger. That's a good feeling for the whole industry," he said.

Unfortunately those early 80s recordings on Cara Records are out of print
and unavailable on CD so your best bet is to find a used vinyl copy.

It seems like Garza has always found success by challenging himself. That's
how he got started playing the accordion at age 11. Of course, he had a
little help from his dad Tony, who's now Los Musicales' manager.

"I started beating up on some vinyl chairs my mom had, with forks,"
David Lee said.

"I tore those up, and then my dad borrowed a drum set from a friend of
ours. My dad played the bajo sexto, and I'd play along while he hummed
or sang songs. I got to a point where I said, 'Anybody can beat on these
drums. I want more of a challenge.'

"And my dad said, 'You want more of a challenge? Here's the accordion.'
He taught me two or three polkas but I had to learn on my own because he
worked two jobs."

David Lee still stands out in a business that boasts many skillful

"There are other people who are very mechanical when they play and what
I project is what I feel," he said.

His next challenge is to take his road-tested veterans of the Texas
circuit, Los Musicales, to other Spanish speaking areas of the continent.

The band's booking agency, William Morris, is a giant within the music
industry. Its only other clients in Tejano music are Emilio Navaira,
La Diferenzia, and Joel Nava.

"When these fly-by-night promoters come by and want to book us, we tell
them, 'We don't book ourselves; you have to call our booking agent,
William Morris.' We get a little more respect," Garza said.

Despite his fame and high-powered connections, Garza still resides in his
hometown of Poteet. Now 38, he lives with his wife Sandra and kids David,
14, and Eric James, 9.

He and Los Musicales recorded their latest CD, "Algo Diferente," at Zaz
Studios. Look for it to contain a ballad and a country tune written by
guitarist Billy O'Rourke.

"We went back to Zaz for this new one. When Marcos (Orozco) came in to
do lead vocals we went to Emerald Studios to see if we could project the
same sound. It came out a little cleaner, but the drive wasn't there,"
he said.

"People told me right away that the band didn't sound like it did when
Jay Perez was there. Marcos has a softer and more romantic voice and we're
curious to find out if that's why the band sounds different."

Some observers say Marcos is more of a team player within the group than
the opinionated Jay Perez, who's been called "the Dennis Rodman of Los

"Marcos was real quiet and timid but he's loosened up a little bit,"
Garza said.

"I've never seen him have a problem with anybody and some of the other
characters I had before would always run into somebody they couldn't get
along with," he said.

The group's 1994 CD, "Ya Me Canse," produced three hits on Radio & Musica's
chart--"Ya Me Canse," "Amiga Mia," and the romantic ranchera "Una Noche Mas"
which was accompanied by a video.

The members of Los Musicales include David Lee's brothers Adam and Richard
on the drums and bass, cousin Oscar Montemayor on sax, Armando de la Garza
on guitar, Billy O'Rourke on guitar and vocals, and Marcos Orozco on lead