Sunday, May 19, 2013

Q&A with Adolfo Cuellar IV

 "There’s been a taste of apathy and oblivious deceit in the air
Would you agree?
The kind of bitter sweet that serves solitude
With a silver platter of Red

…and a sweet side of PURPLE"
-1,000 Fuegos

 I met Adolfo one night after performing for a fundraiser in Northeast Portland. I and some other artists went to a bar on Martin Luther King Blvd to drink, eat, and talk story. Having lived in Portland for a few months, I wasn't impressed by seeing a band performing through the gaudy street front window. However, after finding a table, ordering a plate of fries and a mojito, the intense singing, guitar playing, and the beat of the drums caught the attention of my hips. It was music I could samba to. Adolfo and his band was playing and I instantly fell in love with the energy. After meeting and exchanging music (as artists sometimes do), I discovered he was living in Portland and always looking for opportunities to share good music.  As the weeks went on, I met more great Portland musicians and kept seeing Adolfo in all the circles. Listening to the 1,000 Fuegos EP, I was taken back to the same energy I'd experienced in Adolfo's live performances. A painfully consistent and gracious performer, as well as a bit of a comedian, I looked forward to seeing more of him, but then he bounced...moved to Miami. I was disappointed, but I understood...hell, I'd bounced and moved to Portland, OR from St. Louis, MO just 3 months prior.
Well, I got a facebook invite last week saying that he and my buddy Twitch were going to be performing in Portland. So I figured, what better reason to hound him for a bit of cyber Q & A?
So I hounded him.  

Blue: Where are you from?
Adolfo: Hialeah, FL

B: How'd you get into music and who are your greatest influences?
A: From dancing with my sisters as a young child to screaming in a punk band at 13. I can say that Deftones was the first band to really make me feel like music was the greatest expressive outlet I would ever have. Although I will admit that the first album I ever owned was Boombastic by Shaggy
Then my taste took many adventures… Artists like Death, Machine Head, Glassjaw,
Because of my studies stuff like, Segovia, Penguin Café Orchestra, John Coltrane, Pat Metheny, and
My cultural studies brought me gifts like Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Calle 13, Jorge Drexler, etc…
My youth just naturally included Tupac, Boys to Men, Mariah Carey

Simply, my favorites are Pat Metheny, Death, Deftones, Jorge Drexler and … others …

B: Where'd the name "1,000 Fuegos" come from?
A: My grandfather owned shoe factories throughout Cuba, he was fascinated by sandals mostly. Every morning I’d see him hovered over a shoe machine that had small wooden parts and a matrix of steel tubes all over. He would present me with a sandal he made all the time, to see what thought.
At one point I realized that the passion he had for sandals equaled the passion I had for music. At some point I was told that one of his factories was in a popular city in Cuba named Cien Fuegos, which means One Hundred Fires. So in reference to the following generation that I’m a part of, I upped the ante by calling it 1000 Fuegos.

B: Where all have you lived and how has it influenced your music?
 A: I’ve lived in 2 parts of Miami, Memphis Tennessee and all over Portland, Oregon.
These travels have led to a very diverse perspective on music.

B: If you could eat the perfect breakfast, lunch, and dinner in 1 day, what would it be?
A: I eat really often but usually small amounts. So I’m just gonna lay it out-
Water first (and all day), then some Kombucha and tincture
Fruits next. Sliced banana, ripe pear, papaya, cantaloupe, maybe some yogurt.
A cup of coffee (cream and honey) Eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce allover it and a bunch of veggies
A tempeh sandwich with extra avocado, swiss cheese, chopped romaine, some mayo and black pepper. And crispy sweet potato chips on the side w ketchup (or thousand island)
More fruit, apple, orange, etc… perhaps some kefir and/or a nut milk (almond, coco, hazelnut, etc…)
Vaca Frita with white rice, black beans, platanos maduros and a spring mix salad
Then some coconut flan for dessert

B: What is your relationship with Portland, OR and how did you end up there?
I originally moved to Portland looking for a better life. I wanted to be in a place where vegan friendly foods and healthy living in general was available and commonplace. A part of this was an interest in studying medicine and I got a call from David, a friend who I’d been playing music with for years that had recently moved to Portland, saying that he was putting a band together.
I visited the city, met the band, fell in love with all of it and moved.