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Let it rip, like a rip tide rarely seen...
Monday, 07.11.2011, 8:20 pm
oh what a night...
Walter Salas-Humara
+ Jerry Joseph (USA)
«The clash of tradition and technology is what interests me and what keeps How could I stay in place, just because people want to hear me play «Cuba» forever?»
Born on the lovely and hot island of Cuba, lifes currents swept multi- instrumentalist Walter Salas-Humara to Florida and its university, where he studied painting. Creating sounds supported by visuals, he founded The Vulgar Boatmen, who, with their unorthodox mezcla of styles and everchanging formations, made it all the way to «top local attraction».
Then, he recounts, in a vivid and memorable dream he encountered Robert Mutt aka Marcel Duchamp who simply told him: «Les peches marchent dans la rue.»
This profound statement apparently hit him like a jab by legendary Cuban Teofilo Stevenson, because he promptly left the Boatmen (after completing a couple of fine albums) and embarked to New York, with the intention to create art. Alas, he found himself two years later as a truck driver but allthewhile co-founded The Silos with Bob Rupe and Mary Rowell. Their debut «About her Steps» (1985, on their own label Record Collect) featured pretty raw country-folk, injecting a generous dose of The Byrds, R.E.M., Velvet U and Gram Parsons. «What's a song?» he asks and answers his own question «It's essentially about the search for it and if I knew the answer, the search would be done and over with.»
This kind of integrity to the creative process made The Silos into roots rockers par excellence. Still searching and exploring, perhaps deliberately avoiding arriving, that way reigning champion of the raw and unfinished, that's how we know and love this guy.
Philosophies aside, The Silos split up, giving Walter the opportunity for his 1988 solo effort «Lagartija», then regrouped and signed with RCA. Bob Rupe quit to join Gutterball, then they signed with Normal Records. At which point Mary Rowell had returned, and in 1992, they released the masterpiece «Hasta la Victoria (are you listening, Fidel?), featuring guests such as Jon Dee Graham and Manuel Verzosa. Letting the Silos project simmer like frijoles negros on low flame in the pan, Walter joined up with Michael Hall of the Wild Seeds and Alejandro Escovedo of the True Believers as well as The Setters, releasing an 1993 album with just that name. 1994 sprung a live solo album, «Lean», a year later came «Radar» (Visions Magazine wrote: perfect songwriting) Gee, can anybody keep up with this guy?
But there's a method to this madness of separation, reconfiguration, reunion, regeneration and why it all continues to be a work in progress. Currently, he says «the clash of tradition and technology» is what interests him and what keeps asuntas going, forever fascinating to him. And he adds innocently «How could I stay in place, just because people want to hear me play «Cuba»(1987) forever?»
Fat chance for that to happen to you, sailor.
And it's here with us on the ultimate island where you can really let it rip, like a rip tide rarely seen (admittedly) in the blue Mississihl.
But you know? About that visit by Marcel Duchamp in your dream, you know, remember? Could we just talk about that one at the bar?
el Lokal