Crossing the rockabilly ‘Border’

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By Victoria Gamero

By Victoria Gamero

Yes, they have pompadours and wear jeans with large cuffs in them, and yes, they have sideburns that can only be described as “chops” but no, they are not a band of Elvis impersonators.

They are members of the rockabilly trio known as the Border Hoppin’ Boys. This group of “boys” was started in 2001 when Constancio Sanchez went looking for a couple of musicians to play in a band with him.

The group went through a couple line-up changes in the last four years but ultimately ended up with two original members, Sanchez on stand-up bass and lead vocals and Jorge Barajas on guitar and one new member, Miguel Enriquez, on lead guitar.

The trio plays rockabilly music, a traditional form of rock ‘n’ roll they describe as “raw hillbilly with classic rhythm and blues influences.” It boasts an impressive catalog of about 15 songs, most of which they wrote themselves.

Although its sound is influenced by music legends such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and many other rock and roll pioneers, BHB, as the band’s fans affectionately refer to it, has created its own signature sound that has drawn fans from all over Southern California to its shows.

The band members have played everywhere from tiny bars in remote locations to more traditional rockabilly venues such as The Rumble Bar in Paramount and Yesteryears in Pomona. Regardless of where they play, or at what time, their fans follow them, sometimes waiting until well after midnight to watch the band play a couple songs.

When asked what he enjoys most about playing to an audience Barajas cited the adrenaline rush that transports him to “a whole different world,” a world in which he doesn’t feel the pain of bleeding fingers and can do what he loves to do-play music.

Sanchez had his own take on the same question.

“I like being able to express myself on stage and getting people’s reaction to my music,” he said.

The audience also loves having them on stage, regardless of whether they usually listen to this type of music or not.

“They put on a good show,” said Carlos Renteria, a long time fan of the band. “They are one of the only bands you can see locally that ‘rock out’ throughout their entire set not just at the end.”

By “rocking out” he means the many points during the show when you catch either Barajas rolling around on the floor while playing his guitar, Enriquez ripping through a solo on his guitar or Sanchez playing while standing up on his bass.

BHB would like to stress the point that you don’t have to be a huge fan of rockabilly music to enjoy their show. Their show at Pepito’s Bar and Grill in Riverside proved this to be true.

The band members recount the night as their favorite show so far. They were playing to a crowd of punks and skinheads and didn’t think that their style of music would be well received by this particularly rowdy crowd, but they were pleasantly surprised that the crowd embraced the band and their music.

When not on stage the band can be found watching some of their favorite bands. As fans of live music themselves, they know what the experience should be and they try to give their fans the ideal experience.At a point in time when most of the music that is heard is either super-sweet pop or rap the Border Hoppin’ Boys attempts to bring a refreshing classic sound to audiences everywhere.

So why go see a show?

“Just come and check it out. It’s the wildest type of music out there and it relates to everyone, young and old,” Sanchez said. “Keep rock ‘n’ roll alive and support local bands.”

The band can be seen March 12 at the Tiki Room in Pomona and March 16 at Mi Hacienda in Pico playing with one of their favorite bands The Moonlight Cruisers.

More information on the band can be found at Yahoo Groups under “borderhoppinboys” or at http://www.myspace.com under “theborderhoppinboys@yahoo.com.”

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