Henry, Ringo, and JoJo Garza grew up in San Angelo learning about music from their father, a conjunto musician. The Garza brothers lean in a considerably more rock-oriented direction, with impressive results: Their 2004 major-label debut went double platinum, and they won a Grammy in 2005. Los Lonely Boys’ new album is titled Rockpango.
The new studio album is your first for the Austin independent label Playing in Traffic. Why did you guys leave Epic Records?
We had a contract for a certain number of records with them, and we pretty much finished that deal up. And when it came down to it, we didn’t feel like shopping ourselves around, so we just ventured out on our own. We’ve got our own imprint under Playing in Traffic, Lonely Tone Records.
You hear about bands like Radiohead and Wilco leaving the major labels to strike out on their own because they figure, once they’ve made their reputation, they can do it on their own.
Once you’ve established yourself, you really don’t have to do anything other than put out a song, you know? Then another song, another song … And hopefully you’ve made some friends along the way at radio and in stores to keep the river flowing.
You guys have an identifiable sound. Is there anything about the new record that differs from what you’ve done before?
There’s a song called “Road to Nowhere” that has a string quartet background, so that’s new. There’s a song called “16 Monkeys” that’s kind of off-the-wall. It’s got this early-seventies vibe, and it’s kind of like Beck in a way too.
“Porn Star” has a heavy hip-hop vibe. Who did the scratching on that?
That would be DJ Beans. He’s from San Angelo, but he was in Austin at the time that we met him.