Chris Montez was born Ezekiel Christopher Montanez in 1941, in the city of Hawthorne, CA. As a teenager, he started out by singing ranchera music with his brothers, which honed his exquisite, high tenor vocal chops. While he loved singing ranchera with his family, Chris was inspired by the Lowrider culture and image surrounding him at the time, and even more inspired by the success of Rock n' Roll pioneer Ritchie Valens, and decided to begin a career as a singer. His first taste of success came in the form of his 1962 breakout hit, "Let's Dance" which he cut under the A&M records label. Chris began selling out shows in Southern California, and was also able to begin hitting the national circuit, thanks to the crossover success of this smash hit. After he returned from tour, he hit the studio once again, hoping to duplicate the magic he had created with "Let's Dance." Legendary musician and label director, Herb Alpert, of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, pulled Chris aside in the studio one day and suggested a different approach. He praised the singer's amazingly smooth high-tenor range and suggested that he try a few slow numbers and ballads instead. Chris listened reluctantly, but was willing to give it a try. His legacy as one of the premier Latino balladeer's was born, and Chris saw instant success with songs like "Call Me" from his 1966 album "The More I See You." Deejays began playing it from coast to coast, and Chris' soft high tenor often led to confusion among the deejays as to whether Chris was male or female. He was that smooth. The ladies loved Chris however, and they swooned at his concert appearances as he found three top 40 hits off this album. "The More I See You" peaked at #2 on the U.S. adult contemporary charts, as did "Call Me," while "There Will Never Be Another You" reached #4. Montez followed up this success with three more solid albums under the A&M label, reaching the top 40 once again with the title cut from his "Time After Time" album. Chris also scored a hit in 1974 in Brazil with the hit "Loco Para Ti," and recorded two more albums, "Raza: Ay No Digas" and "Cartas De Amor," before ending his professional recording career. Chris can still be seen performing live, and his legacy and cultural relevance lives on throughout the Lowrider culture.
Cannibal and the Headhunters honed a rock n'roll style that was distinctly recognized as the sound of East Los Angeles. Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia formed the group alongside Richard "Scar" Lopez, and Robert "Rabbit" Jaramillo, who used their Ramona Housing Projects up-bringing as the influence behind a new, Chicano-brand of rhythm and blues. Bobby and Scar honed their singing abilities as part of a four-part harmony quartet that they called "Bobby and the Classics, before ultimately teaming up with Cannibal and formed the group as its know today. They were dubbed "The Sound of East L.A." in the Los Angeles Times in 1964, thanks to the success of songs like "The Land of 1000 Dances" which reached #30 on the Billboard charts in the spring of 1965. The song became a huge smash, and instant hit in Los Angeles, allowing the group to spread their wings and tour as far away as the east coast of the U.S. promoting their brand of Chicano rock. The group also opened up for The Beatles on their 2nd U.S. tour, which garnered the group crossover success and critical acclaim. While the world got to know this legendary group up close and personal thanks to their touring efforts, we still claim them as our own, and hold them in high regard as one of our favorite and most influential groups. Catch them performing live, even to this day, and you can see why Cannibal and The Headhunters are truly an integral part of our wonderful culture.