Meet Joe King Carrasco
Joe King Carrasco, who is known as the king of Tex-Mex Rock n Roll, mixes Nuevo Wavo rock and Latin rhythms. In the 7th grade he started playing in garage bands in the west Texas town of Dumas, Texas. He was often found on the beaches of Mexico, falling in love with the Mexican music. Back in Texas he formed the band Joe King Carrasco and El Molino, which included many of the future members of the Texas Tornados. He released “Tex-Mex Rock & Roll”, his first LP in 1979.
In late 1979, he joined up with Kris Cummings, Brad Kizer and Mike Navarro to form Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns and soon after releasing their first single, “Party Weekend”, “the band was playing chic New York venues and generating lines around the block”. The band signed to England’s Stiff Records and toured extensively throughout Europe, Central America, Bolivia, USA and Canada.
Influenced by the British-born Jamaican band, The Equators, Joe wrote the reggae song “Don’t Let a Woman (Make a Fool Out of You)” and recorded it on Synapse Gap with Michael Jackson, singing background harmonies.
In the mid-1980s, Joe moved to Nicaragua and his songs turned more political as they addressed the political climate of Central America. In 1987, he put out his CD, Pachuco Hop, whose title song was later recorded by Manu Chao.
During the 1990s, Carrasco’s songwriting moved into a cumbia and reggae groove with a little Tex-Mex thrown in for spice, a combination he called “tequila reggae”. This musical blend can be heard on Dia de Los Muerto,Hot Sun, and Hay Te Guacho Cucaracho.
His songs can be heard in several films, including “Caca De Vaca” in the 1983 film Breathless with Richard Gere. They were also played on The Rockford Files and numerous independent films.
He has acted in many movies. In 2009, he released his first film, Rancho No Tengo, a romantic comedy, which he also directed and played the lead role. The movie soundtrack was released in 2008.
He has received numerous awards through the years. In 2002, he was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame. In March 2012, he was honored by The Texas Music Academy with a Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Austin Music Awards in 2012, he was inducted a second time into the Austin Music Hall of Fame, this time as “Joe King Carrasco and The Crowns.”
A lifetime lover of dogs, Joe founded a non profit group, “Viva Perros” (www.vivaperros.org) which raises money to support homeless, abused and neglected dogs find a better life. A portion of the profits from his last live CD, Concierto Para Los Perros, released in 2011, will go to various dog rescue groups via Viva Perros, LLC.
He reunited with the original Crowns, organist/accordionist Kris Cummings, bassist Brad Kizer, and drummer Mike Navarro in June 2011. They toured together for the first time in 30 years during the summer and then went back to the studio to record a new CD. “Que Wow” with “Joe King Carrasco y Los Crowns Originales,” was released during their showcase at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas.