Versatility, thy name is guitarist, singer and songwriter Javier Trejo. You could listen to the album with his band (now defunct) The Beads and say, “This guy rocks that old San Francisco sound, and does it with enough fire to jumpstart a volcano.” Or listening to his solo album of a couple of years ago, Javier Trejo, you’d say, “This guy is a jazz guitarist with a heavy taste for Latin flavors.”
Catching him onstage as guitarist and second lead vocalist with New Primitives, you’re prompted to say, “Woah, this guy does that New World thing like nobody’s business.” And you’d be right all three times. For good measure, he has a splendid limited-edition single each December of “The Christmas Song” backed with “Silent Night.”
Born in Monclova Coahuila, Mexico and raised in West St. Paul, this gifted performer has to be one of the U.S.’s best imports. A sample of his accomplishments includes having opened for and worked with The Neville Brothers, Widespread Panic, The Big Wu, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Los Lobos. Just before the 4th of July, when performers worth their salt are busy bringing in the bacon, Trejo got out of town for a family outing. He took time to speak with Insight News.
INSIGHT NEWS: Glad to get away for a minute?
JAVIER TREJO: Right now I’m with the whole family in South Dakota. And we’re going swimming!
INSIGHT: How’s the career been going since your solo album came out two years ago?
TREJO: I’m trying to find balance between music and family. I am very proud of the album and using it as a promotional tool to get myself into different venues and varying musical positions.
INSIGHT: How’d The Beads reunion go?
TREJO: The reunion was fun, I had a good time, it was like riding a bike; you just get right back on.
INSIGHT: That new New Primitives album, “American Nomads,” is taking forever to come out. You still looking forward to it?
TREJO: I’d have thought it would have come out a long time ago. Come October, I’ve been in the band five years. It’s pretty frustrating that the record isn’t out yet. And the record we have, I am not on.
INSIGHT: What did you do on the new album?
TREJO: I’m contributing two songs [“Sketchy Cat,” “Buscando La Gente”].
INSIGHT: When is your next solo release?
TREJO: As soon as I finish paying for the first one.
INSIGHT: Writing new material?
TREJO: Yes, I am working on a few different songs. I would like to just take a week or so and go up and lock myself into a cabin in the woods to finish some lyrics and ideas. But with the gig schedule of both New Primitives and myself and balancing family, free time is a hot commodity.
INSIGHT: Do you put in a lot of research on the vast catalogue of songs you add to your repertoire of originals?
TREJO: No, these are just songs I love and grew up with.
INSIGHT: Where in the world did you come up with New Primitives’ arrangement of that old Temptations jam, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”?
TREJO: Just put a Ska beat on it and opened up the throat.
INSIGHT: What’s next for Javier Trejo?
TREJO: To tell you the truth, I’m just going to keep on plugging away. I’ve been sober for a year, so I’d really like to get out of the bar scene.
Concentrate on more festivals, university gigs and teaching. I am currently teaching guitar at my son’s school, Crossroads Elementary.
INSIGHT: Have a nice time with your family.
TREJO: Count on it. I’ll try and not get too sunburned.