A Sound Salvation

Austin's Class of 2000

A Sound Salvation
Photo By Todd V. Wolfson

Vallejo: Bilingual Rockers Out to Make Their Momma Proud

"Five years ago, my mother saw Emilio Estefan on television talking about starting a new label," recalls A.J. Vallejo. "She thought we were perfect for him and said, "I'm going to fly down there myself if I have to.' Here we are five years later, working for Emilio Estefan and my mom's thrilled."

Vallejo's mother may not have put together last year's deal between Vallejo and Gloria Estefan's husband and the couple's Sony imprint, Crescent Moon Records, but she was definitely on to something: Emilio is widely regarded as the father of Latin pop and believes Vallejo could do for Latin rock what Ricky Martin and Mark Anthony did for Latin pop. "There are lots of Latin rock bands, but they're missing a Latin Aerosmith or Latin Pearl Jam," posits Vallejo.

Whether Vallejo is the band to fill that void remains to be seen, but Estefan has actually signed the band to two separate deals: one through Epic that will promote an English album with the same muscle they use for Korn or Rage Against the Machine, and another that serves up a Spanish-language release through Crescent Moon's Miami-based operation to both Spanish-speaking American radio and a half-dozen international markets. The two-languages, two-albums approach isn't new: Vallejo says the band had plans to release an album in Spanish through TVT two years ago, but the label just didn't see it as a priority.

Instead, TVT rushed out Vallejo's Beautiful Life less than six months after their self-titled TVT album had just started making headway on radio. Four months after the October '98 release of Beautiful Life, Vallejo left TVT and fired their management and booking agency.

"We needed a clean slate," explains Vallejo. "The overall marketing plan we needed for a bigger picture wasn't there. We were doing fine in Texas and the Southeast, but how could we put that in a bottle and market it so that more people can buy it? It all came back to marketing. We just weren't getting across."

For Vallejo, the Crescent Moon deal seemed like the best of both worlds.

"They're the leaders in this, they see a void and an opportunity, and they're trusting us to fill it," says Vallejo. "There will be a distinct Latin rock flavor on both discs and the two-album thing should work well. They'll still be two different records -- it's not like we're just adding Spanish vocals -- but I think they'll cross over nicely. It's such a huge game plan it's a little intimidating."

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