How old were you when you first took the stage?
"Ah, when I first took the stage. Hmm, good question... Yes, my first performance I was in the third grade."
Can you recall the song you played?
"Star Wars!" (laughs)
Your very first album was recorded in the Spanish language even though it was traditional country. Was it easier tto focus on the hispanic audience at the beginning?
"Well, I think it was an idea that was brought to me by the record company at the time. They really wanted to service that market. I thought it was a good idea to service the album to the Tejano market. That's what we did."
Is there any real girl named Bobbie Ann Mason?
"You know what, there is a real woman named Bobbie Ann Mason. She writes for the New Yorker, she's an author. So yes, there is. But it was no intension. I met her!"
What is your favorite song that you recorded but it never became a single?
"Well, let's see... Probably "Un Momento Alla". It was never a single and that was a song that is one of my favorites, song that gets requested quite a bit here in Europe."
I found information about one of your albums that I hadn't heard of before. The source said it was called "Changing In Your Eyes".
"OK, that album was supposed to be released but it never got released. It was gonna be a Sony/Columbia album. It never came out. That was gonna be the album title but it never got released."
Is there any chance it would come out someday?
"Well, there is a chance it would come back out but that would be Sony's department. That'd be their decision."
In 1999 you lost your record deal. What moved you to record an album of Mexican folk music "Mi Son"?
"At that time I had done a couple of albums with Los Super Seven and I was very interested in working with some of the producers like Steve Berlin and Alberto Salas, who played piano on Canto, which is the second Los Super Seven album. I wanted to do an album with them. I wanted to do whatever I could at that time. I was writing country music trying to get another record deal. So during that time I recorded Mi Son. I'm very proud of that album."
How did you get started to work with Raul Malo?
"It was the second Los Super Seven album. It was kind of Pan-Latin album. That's where we met and we started writing country songs."
If you wanted to record a duet, what artists would you consider?
"It's hard to say, there are so many wonderful singers, female singers out there... I don't know. On the last two albums Raul Malo has been singing background vocals. I sing background vocals, he sings background vocals. I don't really feel to need to collaborate with anybody. Once you've sung with Raul Malo you don't really have to look for anybody, any great singer to sing after that."
What was the most enjoyable video you have done?
"The last video that we did. It's called 'Separate Ways'. We've just finished the video. But I think this last video was a lot of fun because I was able to use some acting. It's my first time to do acting with a female actress. It was a learning experience for me and I really really enjoyed it. No sex scenes, it was just pure acting!" (laughs)
This video was directed by Peter Zavadil. Do you know anything about his roots? Because in fact the name Zavadil is a typical Czech name. There are many people named like that in the Czech Republic.
"I know he's from Albuguergue in New Mexico. He's just one of the greatest video directors in the business. He lives in Austin now and I find it a privillege to be able to call him in my home town Austin, we go visit and talk about the video ideas, to be able to have that kind of access with the video director because sometimes you don't see the video director until the day of the video. I would consider to be able to visit with the President who lives in Washington as convenient as an honor to have that kind of access with him."
What can you tell me about your new album? Where did you get the title "Whole Town Blue"?
"We wrote the song called 'Whole Town Blue' and it's a song that has to do with an American saying or it may be an European saying, but if you're gonna go out and have fun, you say: 'I'm gonna paint the town red.' We figured that the way we would write it this would go 'paint the town blue', obviously meaning that it's not a good night. We really love the track and love the title Whole Town Blue."
What kind of music can we expect this time?
"I think it's similar to "In My Dreams" very much because it's the same writers. It's in a better place lyrically, I really like some of the themes we were talking about. There are two songs that I didn't write on the album. "Separate Ways" is one of them. I really love the fact that "Separate Ways" found its way to me. I think it gave me an opportunity to sing songs from other people's perspective or other writes' perspective."
Is there any Mexican influence on the album?
"I think so. There is definitely the same type of influence that "In My Dreams" has."
Is there any song or a part of a song that is sung in Spanish?
"Let's see... "Everything Is Better In Texas" has very strong mariachi trumpets in it. There's another song called "Autumn Rose" that has beautiful mariachi trumpets in it. It sounds like an old Marty Robbins song. It's beautiful, you're gonna love it!"
I know you're a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Have you ever practised football by yourself?
"I played football in junior high school. When I was a kid I loved the Dallas Cowboys. My family, my uncles knew I was a big Dallas Cowboys fan. They would buy me Dallas Cowboys jackets, hats, pictures and stuff. Whether the Dallas Cowboys win or lose, I'll always be a Dallas Cowboys fan."
I was impressed when you invited your fans on MySpace to play you on Play Station 2.
(laughs out loud) PLAY IT!
You know, I can't even imagine anybody else, for example George Strait, who would invite his fans to play a game on the Internet!
"I played the day before we came to Europe and I played against somebody from New York. I think there is people who play from Russia, France, Germany. They play all over the country that game." (laughs) "Just find wholetownblu! That's all you gotta do. That's funny. You know what, probably more people will wanna play me when the album comes out. Because of the title."
What are some of your other favorite leissure time activities?
"I like to run, jog, running. I like to play baseball with my son."
What do you do on tours to kill time between shows?
"I like to walk around the town. I like to exercise and maybe find a bookstore to find some books. Or a good cigar store or a wine store."
Do you take your family on tours?
"Not lately. My kids are in school. So it's very hard to do that."
What is the hardest part of balancing a musical career and a family life?
"You know, it really hasn't been that hard so far but the hardest part is just being away from the family being on the road. That's the hardest part. But when I'm at home I don't have to go anywhere. I'm at home, I can take the kids to school, I can eat lunch with them, I can play with them, read to them at night, be with Karla, my wife. It's difficult to be away, but it's more fulfilling to be at home. 'Cause when I'm permanently home I'm not gonna have to go to work. I'm just at home, you know, from morning to sundown."
Do you like playing Europe?
"I do. I enjoy the fans. The audience is very educated when they come out and I really appreciate that. The fans understand what the music is about. I mean sometimes I feel they are more educated than the fans that I play for in the States. European audiences really pay attention to who writes the music and what the music is about."
Do you care if your fans approach you in public places?
"Do I care? Yeah, I care! If they didn't come, if they didn't approach me then I would be upset! So it's a good thing. I want them to come up to me to tell me they like my music. Because if they don't do that, there is a problem."
Alright, that's all. Thank you very much!
"OK, thank you."
A greeting from Rick Trevino
(C) Petr Mecir 2007. All rights reserved.