The video above is the new single from the B-Side Players, which begs the question, what exactly is a spliff and why is life like that? Maybe I'll leave that answer to our Medical Marijuana columnist Mr. Smith.
However, while philosophizing on the B-Side Players, you should also ready yourself for their show at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, July 31, with Tucson's American Android and The Jons — all to benefit the Save Ethnic Studies Raza Defense Fund. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cost is $10 and you can get your tickets now online here.
Former Tucson Unified School District Mexican American Studies director Sean Arce and educator Jose Gonzales are battling it out with former teacher John Ward, who continues his lawsuit against the teachers. Right now, Gonzales and Arce's legal team are in the middle of depositions and transcription costs — the need for donations is critical. On the other side, Ward's lawsuit is being funded by donations raised by Attorney General Tom Horne — making the lawsuit an extension of his anti-Mexican American studies agenda.
The $10 admission goes to a good cause, but you are also in for a great show. The B-Side Players are an amazing mix of Ozomatli, sprinkled with a little Bob Marley.
In a 2006 interview with the San Diego Reader, saxophonist Russell Gonzales explained Chicano life in San Diego and it sounds like these guys have a good understanding of what life is like right now in Tucson and Arizona:
“San Diego is an odd place to grow up if you are Chicano,” says B-Side Players saxophonist Russell Gonzales. “In my personal opinion, Chicano culture in San Diego is considered a novelty. It has been designated simply to a park in National City and similar areas were you can’t deny the overwhelming presence of the people who live there. These are the barrios of San Diego. They were designed to keep a culture and a race of people segregated from the rest of America; glass menageries to keep novelties like Mexican culture in.”
“There are other cultures in similar situations here, to be sure, but Mexico is in our blood, so this is who we represent. We are the Brown Side Players, and we are taking the culture out of glass cases and displaying it to the rest of the world.”
“People compare us to Ozomatli all the time,” says singer Karlos Paez. “But they used to come to see us play back before they became a band themselves.”
In July 2007, the band performed at LAMC in NYC, while their song “Nuestras Demandas” was number one on the Alternative Latino Singles Chart on iTunes and their new album Fire in the Youth was number ten on the Alternative Latino Album Chart. A new video for “Nuestras Demandas” was inspired by a May 2007 immigration protest scuffle with police.
Their 2009 record Radio Afro Mexica won Best World Album at that year’s San Diego Music Awards. The band won Best World Music at the 2011 SDMAs.