When I was a little boy, I was surrounded with hard work with my Dad working all the time! My Dad would sometimes bring me little toys relating to farm equipment to keep me interested. I would always play using my little farm toys, but as I was playing with my farm toys, I was also struck by a personal serious illness and my family's situation of barely making ends meet! In the late 50's, I had a terrible experience where I was suppose to pass to the eternal world but the LORD and the HOLY SPIRIT had a different plan!!! The doctor told my parents to take me home that I would not get over my pneumonia and I only had 24 hours to live! My parents being devout Catholics took me to our parish priest which gave the Anointing Of The Sick Sacrament to me and introduced my parents to a Charismatic Pentecostal Preacher from San Antonio who prayed over me along with the tea that my Dad gave me as a result of in the SPIRIT being led by my 3 G Great Aunt Juana Briones de Miranda! To learn more visit my song on reverbnation that elaborates on all of this: www.reverbnation.com/professorpaul247/song/14400435-juana-you-will-always-live-author Immediately after getting over my illness, I played the Everly Brothers song "All I Have To Do Is Dream" www.Youtube.com/watch and created a different lyric to the melody to this song! I sang about my Dad working at a Cotton Gin and GOD giving me a second chance to LIVE and LOVE!!! People immediately around me like my parents and my two brothers and four sisters right then, knew I was a gifted child! This was my very first song that I ever wrote as a very young boy! To hear the song "Dream" hit the above Youtube link. You will learn quickly why this song spoke to my heart as a four year old boy!
I saw how hard my Dad, worked from sun-up to sun-down in the agriculture fields working for agriculture giants in Reeves and Presidio Counties of West Texas for a very minimum wage! As an early elementary school aged boy with sharp intellect, common sense, and the ANNOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, I knew that education was my way to better things!
Then on August friday in the early 60's, when I was a young boy, my Dad, suffered a stroke! My Dad became paralyzed on his left side. From that day on until the early 90's when he passed, my Dad could not speak distinctly. There were no more toys, no more going to "El Mochito"! "El Mochito" was a little stand in East Pecos who was run by a beautiful Anglo Man who only had his right arm. He had lost part of his left arm in an accident. This man had a Heart of GOLD always treating young Kids like me with great dignity. For me that was a treat because on some Saturdays my Dad would take me to "El Mochito" especially after Report Card week. He would buy me a Big Bag of Peanuts, a Bag of Ginger Snap Cookies for me and my sisters, and a case of RC Colas. That was our treat coming from a Farm Worker who worked from Sun-Up to Sun-Down. More than that, I got a frim affirmation from "El Mochito" to stay in school!
I remember one Sunday in 1961, after my Dad had taken me to "El Mochito" the previous day, my second oldest brother had come from Kermit and he had a Black and White TV for us. It was quite a treat. He at the time was about to move to Santa Ana, California and the TV would not fit in his car. We did not have a TV or telephone. For us, a TV was a treat!
I remember we hooked up the TV to the antenna. My older brother who lived in Pecos where we lived, brought us an extra Antenna. We turned the TV on and behold it came on and a football game was being televised. I was excited!!! It was my "Houston Oilers" who were playing! They were my beloved Pro-Team long before the "Dallas Cowboys" were and are! We were closer to Monahans than Odessa, so we picked up KVKM-Channel 9 every Sunday and I watched my "Houston Oilers" with an RC Pop Cola, Peanuts, and Ginger Snaps. On Saturday's I would watch the Roy Orbison Show on KOSA-TV sponsored by Pioneer Furniture.
The other treat was one day in November of 1961 when my oldest Brother and my sister-in-law took me to a Little Joe and the Latineers www.littlejoeylafamilia.com Quincenera Dance at the "Oasis" on Third Street in Pecos, Texas! They played the favorite Tejano and Pop Songs of the day but when they played "I'M Your Puppet" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6j1jjLAf8Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRKdN0PPyHU my ears perked up!!! My ears perked up because I was hearing the B-3 Hammond Organ sound that soon I was going to hear again at the Pentecostal Church on Second Street. That sound just spoke to my Heart!
After my Dad had his stroke, my Mom worked from sun-up to sun-down to make ends meet! She would make everything from Flour Tortillas, Menudo, and Asado to sell. Menudo is a Mexican Stew made up of hominey, beef tripe, and red chilie sauce. It is very spicy and a favorite of alot of Southwestern People who like to eat Spicy Stews like me. Asado is red chile with pork meat. It is also a favorite of many people who live in the Southwest.
I even went to work as a young boy at the Grocery Store which was located on the corner of 5th and Ash in Pecos. My Oldest Brother's boss had just bought the old Figueroa store. My oldest brother was a good meat processor for all the grocery stores he worked for in this West Texas town! The owners of the store treated me almost like an adopted son! I have become who I am in many ways due to their constant support when I was little, and later on, after I graduated from college! Since their oldest son Al needed an Older brother Figure, I became that figure who over the years have written many songs with Al.....who now is the owner of Alfredo's Mexican Restuarant in Pecos....Is anybody hungry for Chicken Fajitas? Al's Family also owns the Mexican Restaurant by the same name in Fort Stockton. Um, I am getting hungry just thinking about those fajitas...I can smell them all the way to San Antonio!
The owners put me to clean the warehouse behind the store. They even put me to help stock the store on Friday afternoons after school. I would make a few dollars every Saturday selling hotdogs, which was a lot to me at the time! The Braceros would come to the Grocery Store every Saturday afternoon during the harvest season. Braceros are Mexican Nationals that came to work the West Texas Farm Fields in the early 1960's under permission from the Federal Government. They had passports and special permission to work here in the United States during the harvest season.
This is where music and education first crossed roads! I was in the fourth grade at Earl Bell Elementary and on Fridays as soon as school was out, I would walk four blocks west on Ash Street, where the Grocery Store was located. I would come in happy because this is where I would hear my favorite songs of the day, while I cleaned the warehouse! Of course Al's uncle, would always have a record player in the back of the warehouse playing the favorite songs of the day! I was nine years old and one un-forgetable Friday afternoon, he played a song that had a strong B-3 Organ sound by the name of "Whiter Shade of Pale!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8jJ1ORIOes I would tell him to play it over and over!!! He wanted to play the Spanish songs of the day and I wanted to hear "Whiter Shade of Pale"! I made the connection between the sound of that song and the sound of the Gospel Music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYn7PWUGrzo that I was hearing on Sunday Evenings at the Pentescostal Church on East side Pecos! It was the Hammond B-3 Sound that I had been impacted by earlier with at the Pentecostal Church and at the Quincenera with Little Joe and the Latineers!!! I just LOVE that Hammond Organ sound!!!
Then Friday November 22, 1963 when we were let out early from school, I knew tragedy had struck again! It was as if all the town of Pecos, Texas had died!!! I felt bad for the city of Pecos, Texas because the city had also taken a hit financially that same year! Years later, I learned thru a major book written by Burr Williams and the personal biography of the famous Wheeler and Dealer, Billie Sol Estes who was the King of Pecos, Texas and US Agriculture had been arrested by US Marshalls the previous Spring. Billie at the time was waiting for a trial date according to Burr Williams' book, "Blood, Power, And Money," and Billie's personal biograpy. I could feel the heaviness in the air!!! It was sadness all over again like the previous August Friday when my Dad had his stroke!!! Now it was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, whom Walter Cronkite would show on TV getting off from his helicopter! I could not believe he had been assassinated in my home state of Texas!!! President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy and their children were deeply respected and loved by my brothers and sisters and my parents! We had a picture of President Kennedy and a golden statue of his face in our living room in Pecos! My parents loved the Kennedy Family and they taught us to do the same!!! My Dad felt like someone in his family had been assassinated! I was shocked because he would not stop crying! Tears kept rolling down his cheeks during the televised funeral on Monday, November 25, 1963! Now 52 years later, thru my DNA Analysis, I have 6.25% Irish ethnicity with an Irish family connection in Owendurf, Wexford County, Ireland. My Dad used to say, "Your blood calls out when your family bloodline is experiencing jubilation or pain!" This is such an astounding event for me to comprehend! My Mom kept the newspaper picture of President Kennedy and Jackie coming down Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas. That picture remained in our Briones Family album until the day she passed in 2009. I now have an updated version of that same exact picture as I bought it from the Kennedy Library in Boston, Mass.
That dreadful day made me realize that I needed to get educated so that one day I could learn more and read more and always discern what town officials, local and and national media would publish!!! I knew that reading, writing, social studies, science, and math was where the power was at the time! All information was in print and it was accessible to those that had accessibility. My accessilibity was my county libraries and my High School and Junior High Libraries where I lived on weekends, before and after school during my adolescent and teen age years!
During my 6th Grade Year, we moved to Kermit, Texas against my wishes but in the long run, it was a good thing cause my musical journey took off. I was invited to become part of a 5 piece band called the Latin Loops! They had two guitar players, one bass player, and a drummer. They needed a keyboard player. My cousin Rey who was the Bass Player brought Ruben Orona the leader of the band over to my house and they asked me to join the band. I quickly learned the keyboard on my own! Before long I was singing and going into puberty age, my voice was changing! I sang lead on "Simple Simon Says" at the Talent Show we had my 8th Grade Year at Kermit Junior High School! Guess what??? We won and that just gave me much inspiration! I just knew I was going to become a successful somebody, someday! That summer before my 8th Grade year, the Doors released "Light My Fire" and everyone was trying to play the song live! That same summer after watching the Buckinghams on the Smother's Brothers Show, I bought a Voxx Jaguar Electronic Organ! All of sudden I knew the keyboard lead at the beginning of the song, "Light My Fire" and everyone, wanted me to play with them! My musical career began even thou we were not getting paid for our gigs. Also during my 8th Grade year, I went to play with a mature group called the Latin Five of which all players were Seniors and I was an 8th Grader...talking about being jubliant, I felt like I was on top of the world playing with Ben Martinez on Rhythm Guitar and Lead Vocals, Manuel (Bombie) Lopez on Lead Guitar and Background Vocals, Juan Martinez on Bass Guitar, and Tony Berzoza on Drums. Later during my 9th Grade year, I went and played with the Soltero Band from Wink for a while before returning my Junior Year with my original Band the Latin Loops in 1971. In 1971, I returned to play with the Soltero Band who at that time, was one of the most popular Tex-Mex Bands in the Region. They were the equivalent of what is now Roberto Pulido Y Los Classicos. Actually during the time I was with the Soltero Band, we played and opened for Roberto Pulido and many of the top Tex-Mex Bands of the time like Carlos Miranda, Carlos Guzman, Sunny & the Sunliners, Agustin Ramirez, and the Latin Breed from San Antonio.
In High School, I was hit with the Woodstock and GODSPELL Craze! I LOVE the Beatles!!! They split up and then George Harrison became my favorite. His song "MY SWEET LORD" was one of my all time favorite songs and still is!...LOL...If the song would have been released when I was five, it would have been easy for me to rewrite the lyrics to this song! The Beatles www.thebeatles.com were my favorite all time band but soon a band called Santana led by Carlos Santana became my favorite! I learned the solos on "Evil Ways and Soul Sacrifice." Both songs were played live at Woodstock! I read about their astounding performance at Woodstock! A friend of mine from Lubbock, Texas, that attended the Woodstock Concert in the state of New York, fried my brain about Santana's appearance http://youtu.be/6MqJOkuWhCA www.santana.com ...LOL...I am still fried! ... I was in La La Land!!! All I did was sleep, eat, and breathe the music of the day especially the Santana and Motown Sound! My nephews and nieces are all witnesses of this Musical Phenomenon. My nephew Art Briones is now living this influence in Phoenix, Arizona as he is a Percussionist Live Session Player.
During the summer of 1973, I went to Cal State, San Jose or San Jose State University to attend a Cramer Athletic Training Workshop. I was suppose to stay a few days, I ended up staying the whole Summer Session!!! I wanted to stay there and go to school at Cal State but the Out of State Tution ate me up.
In the summer of 1973, I observed some of the Heavy Weight Keyboard Players of the day from the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the keyboardist I heard LIVE were the first keyboardist of Santana, Greg Rollie, Tom Coster, along with others like Leon Patillo who later played for Santana. I actually met MALO's and SANTANA's Pianoist, Richard Kermode, the last picture above towards the right of picture below Rich Spremich who is standing, who played awesome beautiful JAZZ instrumentals to me! He was introduced to me by a Cal State friend from Buffalo, New York. Richard in turn introduced me to Rich Spremich, drummer for MALO, standing at the last picture above and to Richard Bean who is not found on the picture because he had quit while I was there and had been replaced by another percussionist Leopoldo Rosales far left in the picture. Richard Bean is the author and singer of the song "Suavecito" and the leader of the new group "SAPO" http://www.myspace.com/116874755 ...LOL...many of these musicians, and I are still friends!...check us out on Facebook! Meeting these talented and gifted musicians and being in the middle of the San Francisco Music Scene fried my Musical Brain forever! To this day, this music runs in my veins, along with the San Francisco Music Sound of Santana and Azteca!!! Paste this link to your browser to learn how Rich Spremich and the San Francisco sound migrated recently to San Antonio: www.facebook.com/pages/Breath-Spirit-Life/133536523372285
In 1976, I made my dream come true when it came to obtaining a college degree! I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Life Science (Biology) from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. www.utpb.edu I became the first person from both my Dad's and Mom's immediate sides of the family to go to college and graduate and get a university degree!!! This is a big deal to my extended family and especially to me! In 1994, I received my Master's Degree in Life Science (Biology) with a Minor in Chemistry from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. My Master's Thesis could have easily been a Doctorate Thesis because it was a "Survey of Heavy Metals (Cr and Pb) In Water, Mud, and Fish Deposits In The Rio Grande From El Paso to Brownsville." libcat.utpb.edu/record=b1171456 This was a longitudinal study and consisted of data from September 1978 to October of 1994. This thesis was a big deal to me because I fullfilled my Dad's wish to study his river that he worked alongside from his twenties until his early fifties!!! After this study, I felt like I had finished a doctoral thesis! I put many miles on my little Nissan Truck and spent a ton of money on gas conducting this study! I enjoyed every single minute of my study and even wrote a song about the river, "I AM, I AM The Great Rio Grande, Yo Soy, Yo Soy, El Rio Bravo Del Norte" that to this day is still very popular with my online students and many of my ex-students. I wrote this song in the Spring of 1993, and to this day, I have ex-students that will still sing the chorus line back to me and still remember the mystical experience of this song when I sang the song to them in front of the Rio Grande! They can still can sing the complete chorus of this song! To me, this is totally awesome and a great compliment!
Continuing my musical developement history. With the San Francisco sound in my mind and heart, it was difficult to continue to play Tex-Mex Music the way I was doing at the time for a very popular Band from Wink, Texas. The band wanted to continue to play the covered Tex-Mex tunes they had been playing for years and I wanted to experiment with the blues, jazz, reggae, and progressive rock! I came into a crashing stand still with them when we played the New Year's Eve gig in 1974 with a Progressive Band from Pecos, Texas called MARO!
That band had as lead guitarist one of my neighborhood childhood friends from Pecos, Texas. His next younger brother was one of my closest childhood friends from Pecos during my years at Earl Bell Elementary and he was the bass player and also had been one of my closest childhood friends in Pecos while I was growing up in Elementary school! That night, they opened the second set with Carlos Santana's "Jungle Strut"!!! I was in shock because I always wanted to play that song with a band!!! I cut across the hall where there were more than 3,000 fans in the middle of the dance hall taken by the concert sound of the band!!! The keyboard player was not playing the original blues and chord transitions of the song. I asked my closest childhood friend, if I could sit in and his brother, the lead guitarist waved a yes! I sat in with the band and it sounded AWESOME!!! That resulted in me being hired by the band two years later when the keyboard player, the drummer, and the vocalist left the band.
I was immediately contacted by them and the rest is NOW history! I played with MARO for over five years and with my childhood friends, Marcos & Pilo Mendoza for over seven years! In the process, I developed a strong relationship with them and another set of Brothers, the Roman Brothers, who made the other half of the band! One of them, Andy Roman, is one of the the best Alto Saxophone Players in the country. To this day, Andy Roman continues to be one of my closest friends ever and has been more like a brother! The other members of the MARO Band, Tito Roman, Percussionist and Lead Vocalist of the band also made an awesome combination as I helped him with the management and promotion of the Concierto Pesados that were being held at Maxie Park. His oldest brother, Louie Roman Jr. who played drums made up the second half of the band along with Tenor Saxophonist, Sebero Jaquez Jr. now the owner of Old Mill Cafe in Pecos, Texas...anybody hungry for Barbeque?...It is the best Barbeque in Texas!!!...also, Trumpet Player, Joe Luis Fuentes, and Female Lead Vocalist, Olga Dominguez, Fronter & Lead Vocalist of the Band. In 1998, I rejoined Andy Roman and the Roman Brothers Band. Thru my experience playing with the Roman Brothers Band, I made strong connections with the younger Roman Brothers, Joel and Artie Roman. I look at these two younger Roman Brothers as my younger brothers since I met them when they were 13 and 8 years old. Also in 1975, I introduced into the MARO Band, Guitarist Al Gomez Jr. mentioned above in the page discussion and pictured above playing guitar next to Little Joe from Little Joe Y La Familia who at the time, was a Freshman Trombone Player in High School. Over time, Al Gomez Jr. has become one of the most polished guitarists of Texas as recently he released his first CD with potent famous studio musicians. http://www.algomezmusic.com/ Over time, this playing experience with these two sets of Roman-Mendoza brothers along with Al Gomez jr., Joe Louis Fuentes Sr., Severo Jaquez Jr., and Olga A. Dominguez proved powerfully for me because it was while playing keyboards with them that I discovered the GIFT and ART of songwriting in 1977! In 1979, I received an Honorable Mention Songwriting Award from the American Song Festival in Hollywood, California, for the original song entitled "I WANT TO LOVE YOU SOMEDAY".
Immediately following my playing experience with MARO, the Mendoza Brothers and I, formed a group called EXXODUS in late 1980. That group consisted of Jeff Bryant on Drums who ended up forming later the country band Lariat and the founder of the Country Band from Nashville, Tenn. called Ricochet. Ricochet, in 1995 received several Grammy Nominations. The other members of EXXODUS were Al Gomez metioned above on Trombone, Cody Stokes on first Trumpet, and Orlando Urias on Alto Sax. The Lead Vocalists of the band were fronters Ben Apolinar who nows has recorded his own Contemporary Christian Album "Firm" and now resides in Texas City, Texas, and Julia Galindo. Background Vocalist and Percussionist was Ricky Barreno.
Since 1980, I have won several prestigious songwriting awards, one in 1986 "Beth, YOU CAN STAND BY HIS WORD" from the New York Pro/Am, another one in 1995 for "LOWRIDING" from the Billboard International Songwriting Contest, and one in 2007 with Guitarist Al Gomez mentioned above from Vh-1's "Save The Music" for the song "TE CONTARRON" as a Suggested Artist.
Later in 1997, I made a partnership with Al and we formed a production enterprise called "In The Bag (Briones And Gomez) Productions". Thru this enterprise we did artist development for several beginning West Texas Singing Artists such as Jackie Salazar, Dana Vuelvas, the Brillante Vocal Trio of Sonia Juarez, Brandy Molinar, and Krystal Monlinar. It was thru us that this Vocal Trio got pitched to Grammy Producers Michael & Ron Morales who produced Billante's CD for Sony Discos in 2000.
In October of 2009, I received a nomination for a Texas Emmy from the Lone Star Emmy Organization for my Science Education Music I have written for Virtual Science University.
Since 1982, I have taught Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and the Physical Sciences in five different school districts, including ECISD from the the early 80's to the early 2000's, United ISD in Laredo, Granbury ISD in North Texas, Pecos-Barstow Toyah ISD in Pecos, Texas and recently Kermit ISD and Kermit High School, which is my high school alma mater in Kermit, Texas.
Recently I've been inspired by the knowledge that I am a 3rd Generation descendant of JUANA BRIONES de MIRANDA pictured above! She was a Californio pioneer and the first female to stand up against the abuses of men in the mid 1800's and the first woman in Alta California to obtain a divorce and an annulment from the Catholic Church and the first woman to win a US Supreme Court Decision! Go to the page on this site that reads, "THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OF MY FAMILY HISTORY" to find out. Juana has given me tremendous inspiration to keep fighting for EQUITY and to stand up with GOD's CONVICTION to the realities of Abuse and Inequality!
I had a dream in 2005 about my life and death experience that I had as a young boy and those images that I BELIEVE IN FAITH, were brought to me by the HOLY SPIRIT, have given me GREAT INSPIRATION! Those images are backed up by the content of the letter JUANA BRIONES de MIRANDA wrote in her letter to the authorities in 1844! All of this sentiment is expressed in my TEXICAN ORIGINAL BLUES SONG THAT I WROTE ABOUT HER "JUANA, YOU WILL ALWAYS LIVE". www.reverbnation.com/professorpaul247/song/14400435-juana-you-will-always-live-author
For this reason, I will MARCH ON WITH GOD'S GRACE to carry on her LEGACY and fight for EQUITY, ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP, IMMIGRATION REFORM, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL POPULATION SUBGROUPS IN SCIENCE EDUCATION!