The three brothers who make up Los Lonely Boys each bring their own personality to their Tejano-inflected rock and country songs. In conversation, however, they speak almost as if with one voice — constantly finishing each each other's sentences, letting one story flow seamlessly into another.
As they tell Weekend Edition guest host David Greene, fraternal harmony runs deep in their family: Their father, Ringo Garza Sr., was in a band with his own brothers called The Falcones, and made a point of bringing up his sons in a musical house.
"Our father was our biggest influence," says bassist Jojo Garza. "He showed us all kinds of music — of his music, as well as the music of a lot of the greats."
Those greats included the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Three Dog Night, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Nelson is also a family friend — the brothers have even golfed with him.
"He's just a person you want to be around at all times," says guitarist Henry Garza. "He's much like our dad in the way we feel around him. Our dad has always been the missing outlaw to Willie, Waylon, Kris Kristofferson and those guys."
On the new album Rockpango, the trio, which also includes drummer Ringo Garza Jr., seems to wear its influences on its sleeve: "16 Monkeys" has clear echoes of the Beatles' "Taxman," and the guitar on "Love In My Veins" is Santana all over. Henry Garza says it's not an accident.
"When we're recording, I think we all try to channel our heroes and teachers," he says. "I definitely am trying to tap into Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray [Vaughan]."
The group has been through tough times together, on stage and off. Most recently, Jojo Garza sustained a vocal cord injury that made him constantly raspy and threatened to grow worse the more he used his voice. He and his brothers feared that he might never talk again, let alone sing.
Thankfully, he pulled through the ordeal. Henry Garza says Jojo's vocals on the Rockpango track "Smile" will always remind him of those difficult days and the joy he felt when they came to an end.
"When we tracked that song, I just cried my eyes out," he says. "I could cry right now."