I went through most of my life thinking that I was the black sheep in my family. I took an interest in music at very young age, and that interest blossomed into the love and devotion I feel for it today. When other kids were outside skating, I'd be inside working on scales, or trying to nail down my favorite Metallica songs. Hell, I'd even skip school just to come home and lock myself in my room to spend the day with my guitar in my hands and my amp cranked to 11. If I was headed to a friend's house, my beloved guitar was always in tow.
That was just the way it was. As far as my family went, I always thought I was a bit different. Maybe I was. My older brother played a little, but he didn't stick with it. Sports and chicks was more his thing.
But then I started to find things out.
I learned that my sister used to be the lead singer of this crucial local metal band back in the 80's. Whoa. My sister, the professional baker. My sister, who goes to church every Sunday. I wish I had some pics of that to share with you all.
I'd always hear my dad talking about my cousin Chollo. He'd always tell me that I needed to go up to New York and hang out with him for awhile if I was serious about music. As a kid who didn't know there was a world of music outside of metal, I just kind of took it with a grain of salt. I never knew that my cousin Chollo was kind of a big deal in the Latin world. He's released quite a few records as a percussionist/band leader in various Salsa acts. He's still up in the Big Apple doing his thing. Besides Chollo, there are other family members who live and play music in NYC. Who'd have thunk it?
Then there's my cousin Drággon. I met him for the first time when I was visiting family in Puerto Rico when I was 14. We shared A LOT of the same interests. He turned me on to a ton of rad bands, and I (hopefully) returned the favor. I remember going back when I was about 18. We had some crazy good times, and he even took me to some pretty cool shows. Unbeknownst to me was that his band was BLOWING UP down there. He and his wife Damaris were in this brutally heavy band called Rabia. He was the lead guitar player, and she was the lead singer. They later went on to form an even bigger (and more brutal) band called Death Arrangement. A little sidebar here, Damaris actually taught me how to say all the "non-PC" things in Spanish that my heart desired. She was always super cool.
I was saddened to learn that Damaris passed away fairly recently, but I know she'll live on forever in the hearts of those she touched. Here's a tribute video that the band made after her untimely death. It's pretty damn cool:
It's funny how much you can learn about yourself if you just take the time to really get to know where you come from. I guess I'm not that different after all. Music is what's in my blood.