Saturday, May 1, 2010

The San Luis Valley Rhythms of John Overton

Interview with John Overton conducted January 2010.

No matter how hard he tried, John Overton could not win the Sargent High School talent show.

"The first band I was in, in Monte Vista, with Eugene Mestis and his cousin Leroy both on guitar - we could never beat the comedy and acting skits that would always win." So the drummer learned how to play one of the most intensive songs to perform on his instrument, The Sufaris "Wipe Out."

"We placed second."

After graduating in 1974 he started playing with Anthony Dupont, and Tony Sanchez, in the local band, The Crusaders. "We’d play weddings and clubs, with a mixture of Spanish, country and oldies music." As often was the case, the members of the group suffered from personal conflicts, and broke-up almost as soon as they formed.

While attending Adams State College, he joined the band Los Chicanos - but the act only lasted a few months. A series of jobs would follow with other local groups, including Brown Magic, Alias Tube and Dusty, Badd Boies, and Camino.

While trying to find stable work, he saw an ad in Rolling Stone. "It was for Musician Referral," he said. "You pay $50, and I got put on a drummers list - and all of sudden I started getting calls for work."

One of the first gigs came from a Nebraska band, Diana Kay and the Country Riders. "They were in Montana, and needed a drummer for their tour, so I drove up with my gear from Monte Vista all the way to Montana." The job would take him throughout North Dakota, Wyoming, and Canada.

After the tour was over, the phone would ring again.

"I played in the soul band, The Coffey Show," he said. "They were out of Chicago."

Animo
(left to right: Anthony Dupont, Jake Medina, John Overton
and Timi Medina)

In 1985, the local group Animo was looking for a drummer. Popular around the San Luis Valley, the group would often pack clubs with their signature Hispanic garage rock sound.


"The guitarist Anthony Dupont and I were in The Crusaders, and Jake Medina, who was the bass player, is married to my aunt, so I knew the type of music they were playing, and just fell right into it."

Timi Medina also played guitar in the band.

The group would record a full-length self-titled cassette, with a mix of bilingual songs, but by the release of their second single ("Mi Floresita" / "Mil Amores" - Fussia 6001) in 1986 Animo would begin to unravel.

"Anthony got mad and left the band, so we brought Leroy Maestas in - then Timi left the band."

Alma
(left to right: John Overton, Vernon Pedilla, and Jeff Jacquez)

The following year Overton would go on to form his own band Alma, with Jeff Jacquez and Vernon Padilla. The group would release two singles on Denver's Fasttrack Records.



The band's song "Middle of the Rainbow" would peak at #2 on Monte Vista's KSLV weekly radio hit list in October 1988.

Indian Nickel


For the past five years Overton has performed with the local band, Indian Nickel, which includes former Alma keyboardist, Jeff Jacquez.

COMING NEXT POST: Sam Bachicha

2 comments:

  1. Questions:

    1. What was the B-side on the Fasttrack "Louie Louie" 45?

    2. What is the meaning of the "d.a.r" songwriter credit on "Louie Louie?"

    3. Where can I find a copy of the 45 for sale?

    Thanks?

    Clay Stabler
    c.stabler@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the questions - the B-side is a cover version of Hank Williams' Jambalaya.

    According to John, "DAR" really only means that he didn't write the song.

    To anyone who wants a copy of this record, John does have a few left - e-mail me and I will get you the information.

    ReplyDelete