A.J. Vallejo: Vocals, Lead guitar
Alejandro Vallejo: Drums
Omar Vallejo: Bass
Bruce Castleberry: Guitar
Heath Clark: Guitar
James “Diego” Simmons: Percussion
A striking blend of modern rock grooves, potent guitar work, Latin percussion and soulful lyrics has made VALLEJO one of the most popular bands to hail from Austin, Texas. The music immediately hooks their listeners right in, taking them on a roller-coaster ride of musical beats and expressions.
Raised in the small town of El Campo, Texas, The Vallejo Brothers were formed in 1990 by three brothers A.J. (Vocals, Lead Guitar), Alejandro (Drums), and Omar (Bass). The Vallejo family tree of Guatemalan and Mexican descent introduced the boys to the Latin sounds of Tito Puente, Herb Alpert, and Santana, to name a few. Their influences led this alternative band to have an eclectic sound of heavy guitar rifts with an edge of Latin rhythms and melodies.
The first door opened when the three brothers were in their early teens. “Our musical career was fueled when our parents bought us three trumpets back when we were in our teens,” says Alejandro. “Between the three of us we were all over our school’s music department – in jazz, marching band and symphonic band.” While in high school, the band added Bruce Castleberry (Guitar) to the line up and officially changed the band name to VALLEJO.
In 1995, the group moved to Austin, Texas, the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Over the next five years, VALLEJO released two albums on TVT Records. Their album Shining Sun was released in 1996, followed by the 1998 Beautiful Life, produced by Vallejo and Neil King. While sharpening their performance skills with a non-stop touring schedule, the group also added James “Diego” Simmons on percussion and most recently Heath Clark as an additional guitar player. Having become one of Austin’s premier live bands, Vallejo was voted the city’s best rock band of 2000.
In the winter of 1999, VALLEJO signed with Crescent Moon Records/Sony, helmed by Emilio Estefan. “We’re very excited to be on Crescent Moon and we also feel very fortunate to be working with Emilio,” says A.J. “The timing was perfect.”
Going into the new millennium, Vallejo headed to the studio and began recording Into The New. Produced by Michael Barbiero (Blues Traveler, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses) and the Vallejo Brothers, the album was recorded at Arlyn Studio (Austin, TX) and mixed at Blue World Music in Dripping Springs, TX.
The album’s twelve songs – with influences ranging from alternative rock to hip hop – include the title track “Into The New,” with its driving rhythms and unforgettable chorus; and “Classico,” a showcase for A.J. Vallejo’s lead guitar work and the band’s superb rhythm section. “El Matador” is a powerhouse instrumental, which builds from its opening trumpet fanfare to the finale of a surging guitar-and-percussion workout. The tough-minded contemporary protest song, “Modern Day Slave,” features an incendiary guest rap by Austin’s MC Overlord.
“We’re out to have a good time,” says A.J. “We want to play music that makes our fans want to get up and be alive.” The Vallejo show is an energetic experience and the “tightness” of the band’s chemistry is apparent the instant the first note is played.
VALLEJO is primed, poised and ready to go into the new.