Words by Joe Reyes:

San Antonio is pretty far south of the big music scenes – we’re kind of isolated down here. If you’re in one of those positions, you can be more original – you don’t have a bunch of people trying to pull you one way or another. You’re sort of left to incubate down here and I think that’s absolutely part of the sound that is San Antonio rock n’ roll. Then there’s something about how people play with the beat here. Doug Sahm was a big proponent of this, I’ve heard it in New Orleans and along the gulf coast – they kind of play behind the beat: it absolutely has a sort of pocket for the groove that I can feel, it’s palpable when I play with guys from San Antonio.

When I play with guys from the west coast or the Midwest, they tend to stay on top of the beat like the Ramones did (demonstrates) on top of the beat, real insistent, pushing it. I get that, it’s a certain kind of energy. But down here in San Antonio, I want to say that people kind of lay back  a little bit behind, and it makes it groove. That whole kind of groove mentality that Doug Sahm sort of represents, I think that’s a huge part of how people play around here.

Joe Reyes is a member of "Buttercup and The Swindles," "Demitasse" and plays with lucky bands all over Texas and beyond. Photo by Al Rendon.
Joe Reyes is a member of “Buttercup and The Swindles,” “Demitasse” and plays with lucky bands all over Texas and beyond. Photo by Al Rendon.

More Retratos:

Gustavo García-Siller, The Archbishop of San Antonio

Henry Cisneros, Former Mayor

Davíd Zamora Casas, Artist

Michael Mehl, Photographer

Ricardo Romo, UTSA President and Photographer

Diego Bernal, City Councilman, DJ, Lawyer

Lori Houston, Center City Development Office Director

Naomi Shihab Nye, Poet

Al Rendon

Al Rendon is San Antonio's photographer. From landmarks to community leaders, Al has photographed the face and heart of San Antonio.