San Antonio, Texas is the musical and cultural crossroads of the Lone Star State, fusing the state's modern Anglo-centric history with its centuries-old Latino past. Patricia Vonne is a product of this cultural menudo, growing up with the diverse blend of music in a family of ten wildly creative children- including her older brother, film director Robert Rodriquez. Through five albums, Vonne has found her own sound, harvesting a hybrid mix that has been interpreted as Texas border rock. Patricia Vonne has proven herself a truly ascendant and transcendent musical artist.
The San Antonio native singer songwriter just released her 6th album of Texas border rock on her own label Bandolera Records. Vonne continues her trailblazing ride along the borderline where Castillian and Mexican infusions of flamenco and fiery gypsy guitar meets all American rock 'n' roll. Her song "Traeme Paz" was featured in the film "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" and she was voted Best Female Vocalist 2014 at the Austin Music Awards. Vonne has toured internationally including the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. She has shared the stage with Chris Isaak, Los Lobos, Raul Malo & collaborated with Texas musical greats such as Charlie Sexton, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Rosie Flores, Doyle Bramhall & Flaco Jimenez.
You are a singer and actress. Tell me about your background. How did you get interested in Music?
My first musical connection to my heritage was listening to the music of the Mariachis. My parents always encouraged music in our house so they would invite them over for family celebrations. My father was a drummer in college & a very hard-working travelling salesman. My mother loved to play Spanish guitar & would teach us to harmonize with her on these Mexican songs. That was our Spanish lesson. English is my 1st language. My 1st rock n roll experience that. Changed my life was watching "Johnny Reno & the Sax Maniacs. Old school rock n roll. I wrote a song called "Sax Maniac" as an homage. He played sax w SRV & Chris Isaak for many years. Another big influence was Cruzados. Tito Arriva of T&T had a rock band ... His album was bilingual & it made an impression on me & inspired me to do the same. When I saw Lone Justice share the stage with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers that also made an impact on me to start my own band.
In 1990 to 2001 you were working on being an actress. I see you have a couple of relatives in the movie business. Angela Lanza, Marcel Rodriguez and director Robert Rodriguez. Did they help you to get into the movie business?
I moved to NYC to pursue the arts & to start a rock band. My brother always used us as actors in his home movies since he was 12 years old. I did commercials mainly in NYC.
Why did you pick NYC over LA?
Because you got to have brass balls to live in NYC, you don't need a car & you learn street smarts. That was good enough for me.
I saw you were a corpse in Four Rooms. How was it being dead?
It was the perfect part very memorable & a whole lot of fun.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - As Dallas- How was it making the film?
I love the way they used black and white in the film. They used a green screen with minimal stage props so it was like theater and was quite mind blowing to watch the result on the big screen. It was revolutionary film making. It was a remarkable experience.
In Desperado I had to re-watch it to see you as the bar girl.
That was my sister Angela in the scene w Cheech Marin at the bar w the 3 tourists. I was saved by Antonio during."
Your song "Mudpies and Gasoline" is featured in Quentin Tarantino's film "Hellride," and the song Traeme Paz in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico." How was it to work with Quentin Tarantino?
Quentin was also in Desperado and I saw him more on that set. He was just like you see him in interviews and onscreen. Very playful, funny, ebullient, and his mind goes a mile a minute. Very cool cat.
What type of music are you putting out?
I'm releasing my 7th album. All my albums are bilingual and you just have to listen to it to get the feel. I have some edgy rick songs " Lil Lobo, City is Alive, Citadel, Graceland Trip... one ballad "God's Hands," a spaghetti instrumental, "Western Blood," that I wrote with Steven Medina Hufsteter from my favorite band "Cruzados," and I actually play the lead guitar on the entire instrumental.
I saw one of your first bands you were in was Tito & Tarantula, the band featured in the film From Dusk Till Dawn. How did your band get the part?
I met Tito Larriva on the set of Desperado. My brothers and I were huge fans of his previous band the Cruzados....so I felt compelled to write a song for him. I titled the song "El Cruzado," and I gave it to him. A few months later he called me up and invited me on his European Tour...opening night was in Paris, France. That was a blast. When I returned from that tour I recorded my debut album.
You are located in Austin now, how many times have you been to SXSW?
200,000 people infiltrate this city so it's kind of a blur... but I remember a highlight, I was jumping in a shared cab with two Europeans and one American and we all asked where we were going to navigate each stop & all of us said "Willie Nile!" It was freaky. And now on my new album I co-wrote "City is Alive" with him.
I see a ton of videos out there of you. All of there are great. You have many sides to you and your music.
Thanks. I love putting a visual to my music. I'd like to pursue that more especially after this album is released. I have my own production company Bandoleer Productions so I intend to put it to good use.
You started a label. Bandolera Records. How did that come about?
I feel your more in control especially in this climate of the record business. I released my debut album and all the others on it. It's a very simple process. Just stake a claim through the court house.
Being in Austin I am sure you have played with many great players. Can you name a few?
Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo, Los Lobos, Chris Isaak, The Mavericks, Raul Malo, Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Cyndi Lauper, Texas Tornados to name a few...
What was the first guitar you ever got and who give it to you?
I Bought a Gibson J45 in NYC. Growing I did play Castanets.
I love your NPR Tiny Desk Concert videos. Did you get pick for it?
That was fun. I don't think I got chosen but they have so many submissions.
What is the Graceland Trip?
My homage to Elvis Presley. Scott Plunkett from Chris Isaak's band plays keyboard on it and Johnny Reno who was also in Chris Isaak's band plays saxophone. It's my favorite happy song on the album.Where does your music come from?
You about to release a CD with Joe King Carrasco. How did this come about?
We wrote a song "Lil Lobo" which will be released as a single on CD Baby and online stores. It will be on my new album "Top of the A Mountain." It's about the challenges of dating in this day and age of online dating and texting. It really makes you wanna just turn into a wolf and howl at the moon.
Any other ongoing projects?
More music videos and surprises. I'm a rock n roll realtor too so I'll sell houses this year to help fund the music. Any endorsements?
Gibson and Pyramid strings from Germany.
What are some of the some of the bands which Influences your music? Johnny Reno and the Sax Maniacs, Buddy Holly, Cruzados, INXS, Tom Petty, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Maria Mckee, Joe Ely, &.
Are you going to tour the US in 2018?
I don't have plans for the US but Europe is in April and the fall.
What is you're feeling about Vinyl?
People seem to love it... I don't have a turn table so I don't utilize them.
Who would you like to open for you?
I'd love to share the bill with Ruben Blades.What is the largest audience you performed?
In Lithuania... you can see this crowd in my music video "Rebel Bride."
What direction do you see your music heading?
It's more fun to take it day by day... no stress... so it's midnight now and in about 6 hours I'll be flying to Memphis for the Ameripolitan Awards & to go to Graceland.
How many guitars do you own?
Two guitars. I have a brown Gibson acoustic & I love my Strat it's burnt sienna... When performing I go direct with acoustic and Strat hoes to Vox
Patricia Vonne also mentioned when she listens to music to relax it's "Vicente Amigo." She is part of ASCAP and her favorite cartoon character is Bugs Bunny. Telling us it was "clever" to ask her. If Vonne could choose a music festival to perform it would be "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" in San Francisco.
Patricia Vonne has a crowd funding going campaign in by Pledge Music for her new album through March 2, 2018. You can donate at www.patriciavonne.com.