Backstage: Raul Malo, Fernando Perdomo, and More Local Luminaries

Chris Alvy and his band.
Chris Alvy and his band.
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Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares stories of memorable rock 'n' roll encounters that took place in our local environs. This week: My hometown heroes.


This week, I'm taking time to give a shoutout to some local artists I've gotten to know here in these environs. Rich Ulloa, once the proprietor of Yesterday

& Today Records and the budding record label of the same name, exposed me to the local scene and the bands that made it so

vibrant. Y&T Records fostered many of those talents -- bands like the

Mavericks, For Squirrels, Mary Karlzen, and Amanda Green -- and it

continues to pursue selected projects that garner Rich's enthusiasm.

Through Rich, I first met then-local hero Raul Malo of the

Mavericks. He has gone on to international success with the band

and, in the past decade or so, without. But I specifically remember

sitting in a restaurant in Coconut Grove and listening to Raul talk

about his dreams of making it in the world of country music and hearing

how he was inspired by heroes like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Roy

Orbison -- all of whom had made an obvious impression on him early on. It

wasn't long after that that Raul agreed to speak at a music business

class I was teaching in the evening at a local high school. He

graciously brought his guitar and performed several songs acoustically

for my students, who numbered no more than ten people during that

particular session. I'm convinced it was the smallest audience he ever

performed for, both before or since. More on my interactions with Malo here.


In the past couple of years, I've come to admire the efforts of Fernando Perdomo, another local musician who I'm convinced will one day inherit that same "I knew him when" designation with which I've credited Mr. Malo. In addition to writing about him, I've also come to share some special connections with him. He's an unabashed fan of classic rock, and I'm impressed not only by his extensive musical knowledge -- a savvy insight that eludes many musicians of his age -- but also his humility. He's also one of the most ambitious artists I've ever met. If he were involved only with his excellent band, Dreaming in Stereo, that would be impressive enough; the band's two albums are adroit compendiums of accessible melodies and progressive intuition, the sort of thing that successfully entices even on first hearing. However, Fernando hasn't stalled his intentions there. His Forward Motion record label has gathered an impressive roster of like-minded musicians and has expanded exponentially in the past year, even to the point of securing veteran singer/songwriter Andy Pratt and a spotlight gig at the industry-intensive South by Southwest conference a couple of weeks back.

I've known singer/songwriter Jim Camacho since the mid-'90s, when I hosted the Goods -- the band he co-helmed with his brother John -- at Hard Rock Café in Bayside. The Goods were the best band to ever emerge from South Florida's musical environs, given their knack for irresistible hooks, memorable refrains, and adroit execution. They secured a national recording contract, although it unfortunately failed to get them the recognition they deserved. Jim continues to make superb solo albums, the latest of which is Beachfront Defeat. Never one to be reticent about sharing the label's newest news, Perdomo recently told me that he and Jim have joined forces and will shortly commence work on a new project for Forward Motion. In the meantime, an EP boasting outtakes from Beachfront Defeat, the Is It Me EP, marks their initial collaborative label effort. Ever the multitasker, Jim is also working with Rich Ulloa to stage his children's musical, the charming and delightful The Cavie Islanders & the Troll -- one of several theatrical efforts Jim's produced in recent years -- and word is that the musical score will be rereleased on Y&T Records later this year. 

I recall rendezvousing with Chris Alvy at a relative's house in West Miami, where I met his band, and heard some of his early musical projects. Chris has an unabashed energy that's reflected in his music. He has a new album, Anything Goes, that is making its bow on Forward Motion. It's still the propulsive rock 'n' roll that I remember from Chris' earlier efforts. It's good to have him back, and his trio (rounded out by bassist Darrell Killingsworth and drummer Todd Toulbee) is destined to have a decided presence here locally in the months to come.


Follow County Grind on Facebook and Twitter: @CountyGrind. 



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