Outside, the scene is livelier than it was at noon. The crowd's grown from a hundred people to a couple of thousand, and everybody seems to be taking photos of pinup girls posing with cherry cars and drunken buddies posing with beers.

Once Curse of the Pink Hearse starts playing inside, a small crowd begins to gather around them, including members of local bands the Rhythm Dragons and Dirty Dan & The Distributors, who move in on Polo's microphone and sing along to parts of the song "Johnny Danger." A blond woman in a black dress tears down the chain separating the band from the audience so she can dance on the floor with them, then grabs more people and pulls them in.

By the time the band begins playing its second song, the crowd around them has tripled. Even the people who were playing pool in the adjacent room have stopped to watch.

Mario Moreno, "the Ritchie Valens of south Phoenix."
Jamie Peachey
Mario Moreno, "the Ritchie Valens of south Phoenix."
Rockabilly's custom-car culture has Chicano roots.
Jamie Peachey
Rockabilly's custom-car culture has Chicano roots.
A peek under the hood of a hot rod.
Jamie Peachey
A peek under the hood of a hot rod.
Fernando Figueroa's car reflects his personality.
Jamie Peachey
Fernando Figueroa's car reflects his personality.
Marco Polo's poised to defy the critics.
Jamie Peachey
Marco Polo's poised to defy the critics.

Polo's as animated as a Saturday-morning cartoon, injecting his Mexican accent into every lyric, growl, and scream. As Curse of the Pink Hearse wraps up their fiery set with the song "No Megusta Santaclos" (roughly, "I Don't Like Santa Claus"), he yells, "This is a song from the ghetto! Olé! Olé!"

There's a white guy in shorts and a fisherman's hat on the dance floor in front of Polo, enthusiastically swaying from side to side and running in slow circles, beer in hand. He's laughing and looking around for a dance partner.

"I've never heard anything like this before," he says, grinning. "This is some crazy Mexican psychobilly. I fucking love it!"

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7 comments
sierra19urias
sierra19urias

first of all the original drummer for the jokers was Robert Urias on base luz gonzalez they are the ones who created the jokers and as for the fabulous jokes well that was just another band that could NOT come up with a name

ethompson11
ethompson11

LMAO ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? MARCO WAS AND STILL IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CLOWNS IN THE PHX SCENE.. HE WASNT ONE OF THE FIRST ROCKABILLYS IN PHX... HE WAS ONE OFT HE FIRST HATED... WHO IS THE CLUELESS OWNER OF THE CLUB WHO STATED HE WAS? THAT MAN SHOULD BE SHOT.

James Bailey
James Bailey

Hadley Murrell, . . . "One of the biggest beefs I have is the guys who were really the foundation of music in Phoenix have not been recognized by the Arizona Music Hall of Fame. I really think that's a shame."

I want to thank Hadley for the above statement. If he had not stated it, I would never have went to the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame website www.azmusichalloffame.org and found a number of Chicano musicians from Arizona actually HAVE been inducted there - along with a lot of other really talented people from Arizona. For example, there's a Chicano Artist from Arizona EDUARDO "LALO" GUERRERO who is a member there. The FATHER of Chicano music.

In addition, under "future" inductees, WOW, there's Calderon Ballroom! AND numerous other hispanic/latino musicians and entertainers there.

I believe that Mario Moreno is an inductee in the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame as is Tony Uribe from Tucson. http://www.azblueshof.com

After getting that wonderful history of Hispanics/Latinos/ Chicanos in Arizona music history from the New Times article and then getting "the rest of the story" from the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, I felt I had really been enriched.

So, thank you Hadley for your highly inaccurate statement - It led me out of ignorance and into a new appreciation for hispanics and latino/latinas in Arizona music history.

OH - BTW - My lead singer's is from Puerto Rico and is the daughter of Rufus Thomas!

Moral of the Story - Don't believe everything a DJ says - double check those vatos!

Belle
Belle

Awesome article! Viva "Razabilly"

Wolf
Wolf

Thank you !!!!!

 
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