Up on the Sun has learned that Norteño soul guitarist Eddie Dimas, author of the classic Latin instrumental "El Mosquito," passed away March 8 of natural causes. Dimas was 65.
When he was 17, Dimas recorded the rollicking instrumental, with his band, The Upsets, at Audio Recorders in Phoenix. The song proved to be a regional hit: Phoenix-based label Dektr pressed initial copies of the song, and soon New Mexico-based label Christy Records picked up the release, spreading copies all over the Southwest.
"It was one of those songs that had a built-in audience," says John Dixon, Phoenix music historian and host of Mostly Vinyl with Johnny D, an eclectic, often Phoenix-music-focused radio program on KWSS. "It certainly was popular. Eddie and the Upsets were a great little band, playing norteño music, and kind of a northern soul kind of thing."
According to his obituary, Dimas also composed music at the Grand Ole Opry and worked at CSK Auto for 30 years. He is survived by his by his children, Edward (Denise), Eric, and Lynette.
His oldest son, Edward, says that his father eventually turned his focus away from music, and that while he always had a guitar around, he never saw him play it. Though he didn't have a relationship with his father for much of his life, he's spent the last three years reconnecting with Dimas Sr.
"He had talked about how he composed some music at the Grand Ole Opry, how he toured throughout the United States, and he played in Las Vegas," Dimas Jr. says. "He used to play with the Four Tops and Ike and Tina Turner when they came out west. I was told that Ike Turner didn't like my dad because he was a better guitar player!" Dimas Sr.'s first love was soul music, Dimas Jr. says, evidenced by the R&B/soul underpinnings of his work with the Upsets. "His favorite was Motown, he loved the soul music."
Like many young musicians, Dimas' big hit didn't lead to a life of stardom. With his first son on the way, he sold the rights to the song, and the decision always stuck with him. He eventually recorded a follow-up, El Mosquito II, but only released a few songs from those sessions.
"He loved his life; he loved to play," Dimas Jr. says. "He told me that he would do it all over again, just make better business decisions. Now, he's known for his El Mosquito album, and always will be . . . He never did talk that much about the album, mostly because at being 17 years old, with a child on the way, he sold the rights to it. So he really didn't make that much off the album, but it did give him the opportunity to live his dream."