Batiz has a face like Charles Bukowski and a speaking
voice that sounds as if Tom Waits is trying to imitate
Redd Foxx. His umbrella of hair looks like a bushel
of badly carded black wool in search of clever knitting
needles. And his mouth is hidden inside a dark crop
circle of whiskers and only appears as a grimace or
clenched smile during his performances. But like many
in his profession, Javier's face reflects the hard roads
and difficult choices he has had to make in a long career
from obscurity to living legend status.
Born Javier Isac Medina Núñez
in Tijuana, Javier Batiz (as he is known to the music
industry and his fans) formed his first group in 1957.
They were called The TJ's and like many groups
who pioneered the electric sound of music on both sides
of the border, they were influenced by black musicians,
blues, R & B and the emerging sound of rock. Batiz'
influences include T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, BB King
, Chuck Berry, Howlin 'Wolf, and James Brown.
In the 60's Batiz moved to Mexico
City where he performed in alternative cafes. Joined
by two of the TJ's members, Batiz' popularity grew to
include a wide sampling of Mexico City's society, from
artists and intellectuals to outcast members of the
motorcycle gang known as The Nazis.
By 1968 Javier's reputation won
him an invitation to perform at the bar of the Terrace
Casino, one of the most prestigious clubs in Mexico
In 1969 Javier Batiz was among
the performers at Mexico's first open air concert. Licensed
by the Department of the Federal District in Alameda,
it drew a crowd of over 18,000 spectators.
Called by many the "Father
of Mexican Rock", Javier Batiz has been a
longtime friend of Carlos Santana and is said to have
helped Carlos develop his distinctive style.
Javier now lives in his native
Tijuana with his wife Carrie, who often accompanies
him on drums. Over a career that spans more than five
decades, Javier Batiz continues to travel and perform
his music. Last night he delivered a high energy concert
at the Jollymon Bar, north of San Felipe. This appearance
supported the Food Bank, established to benefit the
hungry and homeless victims of the Easter Earthquake.
Between numbers, Javier told
the audience he felt his life had been blessed. After
writing more than 300 songs and travelling a road that
he admitted had a "few speedbumps", he felt
that it had all been for the best.
"Look," he said, smiling.
"It brought me here to this place."