Javier Batiz at the Jollymon Bar

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San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

Javier BatizJavier 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 City.

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."


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