""MUSIC Mexican-American bands struggle to make it HOLLYWOOD For a Mexican-American group, the pop music business is a no man's land. Getting a record deal with a major company is almost impossible. There are no rules or formulas for such bands struggling to sur vive. So few have made it notably, Santana that there are no patterns for others to follow. When a Chicano group cracks the Tod 20 an amazing achieve ment considering the obstacles it has blazed its own trails. Just ask Tierra, the East L.A. band Last year Tierra confounded everyone by with its hit of "To gether, an old RsiU song on ginally recorded by the Intruders. It's remarkable the single got as far as it did, considering its ori gins. The single is from an album, "City Nights," financed bv Tierra and originally dis tributed through a small label All the big record companies turned it down. Without a major label and its resources, records even good ones usually die quickly. But "Together" caught fire "Putting it out without a major label behind it and having it start off so great was the only way to prove ourselves to the big com panies, explained guitarist-singer Rudy Salas, the cool, rugged leader of Tierra. "When it started climbing the national charts virtually without a label, suddenly a lot of labels wanted to sign us." Boardwalk Records, a CBS affiliate, signed the group and guided "Together" and the "City Nights" album to even greater success. Tierra's second Boardwalk album, "Together Again," and a new single, "La La Means I Love You." have just been released. It will be a closely watched album because everybody is curious whether this group is just a flash in the pan. Tierra, which had two flop albums on small labels in the mid 70s, has had a tough time because there are so few opportunities for Latino bands. Labels steer clear of them because there's no set marketing strategy for their records. Black stations are the most likely starting place, but they usually feel the music is too Latin for their audiences. Most pop stations wouldn't play a record by a Latino group unless it was al ready getting air play elsewhere. Tierra was rejected by record companies for other reasons. Some said its music a blend of pop, R&B, Latin and jazz was tough to market because it's too hard to categorize. Other rejections, Salas said, were based on simple prejudice: "When we were sending our tapes around to the companies, friends who were helping us were told by the companies, 'We don't want an all-Chicano group, peri- Soturdoy, Nov. 21, m 1 od.' These people have all these stereotypes about what a Chicano band is supposed to do or be. They just didn't want us around. It knew it wasn't lack of talent' that was holding us back all those years. "That just inspired us more than ever to make it," he said. "Making it became almost an obsession." Salas has been a musician for more than 20 of his 32 years and, until recently, had little to, show for it. Salas admitted that, at times, the strain of poverty almost drove him out of the music business. At those down moments, his wife would intervene. "She would talk me out of it," Salas aid. "She knows how I love music. She would tell me, 'No way you're gonna quit; you'd just take it out on me and the kids and we'd all be miserable.' She was right." The Los Angeles Times m mm k ids 15 "Uemr,- '"OSf-.-.L uut .. . ""i;r.- . '""ere l "ui... erJd.L Mtv.., "fit .1 9 - 4111 ll - "W lr .i .a&s ' o1 feV I ""ik. 1 : If M III CB Wh "'v'es . ' 'tour . "v litest. ' mssstisissstig . an,, i Vjr.r, . sl0 -"II 1,. .1 -v l . . - fffll.. n' Am.. ' , 7Tr ""levv- '"uilltk ' ",e r. ,uc)jn, . ertS3 ', Mr On,r . 'IKJn.l... .-'..- . ""Ur.. nun ". ",l'iin, . '"JL' fn . '"."1,1,. or HiUT.'le cr... hi, -"Pin.. or CALL TO DAY! HBO IS AVAILABLE IN: BLOOMINGTON, IL TelcCable of Bloomington Normal 454-3350 CLINTON, IL Central Cable System, Inc. 935-8394 i IM1 Hm II (titK.vn. AIIKhi-K.'-n FLANAGAN, IL Rainbow Vision Cable 796-2993 GIBSONCITY.IL Cable TVof Illinois 784-8390 MT PULASKI, IL Sangamon Cablevision 792-5063 HEYWORTH, IL Prairieland Cable Corp. 473-3186 LINCOLN, IL Quincy Cablevision, Inc. 735-3448 If v. 4i( . ffimunitv . fy 4 blfj ll V- ur ! 4! ( t T' ( iipjn v 1 ulh- il-il Mll Ji. ihut. .r ' PREVIEW 23 1 1 - , .
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