Artist Biography by Mark DemingCalexico take their name from a town on the border of California and Mexico, and the title certainly fits the band, who've been mixing musical approaches and cultural perspectives with elan ever since group leaders Joey Burns and John Convertino began working together. Fusing the dusty sounds of the American Southwest with spaghetti western soundtracks, Mexican mariachi themes, vintage surf music, cool jazz, and a broad spectrum of Latin influences, Calexico are an eclectic ensemble whose work is as distinctive as it is unpredictable.
Calexico's story begins in 1990, when bassist Joey Burns, a music student at the University of California Irvine, met percussionist John Convertino, who was playing drums with Howe Gelb's long-running band Giant Sand. Burns soon signed on to play bass with Giant Sand on a tour of Europe, and then relocated to Giant Sand's home base of Tucson, Arizona. During downtime from Giant Sand's projects in 1993, Burns and Convertino teamed with guitarists Billy Elm and Woody Jackson to form the Friends of Dean Martinez, a group that fused lounge-influenced pop melodies with the musical flavors of the Southwest. The Friends of Dean Martinez soon developed a loyal following on the alternative rock scene, and Burns and Convertino began collaborating with an impressive number of well-respected musicians, including Richard Buckner, Neko Case, Bill Janovitz, Lisa Germano, Victoria Williams, and Barbara Manning.
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