Professor Doubles as Rockstar at Night
October 13, 2005 6:50 PM
Go ahead and call him crazy, because his name says it all. Jose Cuellar, AKA Dr. Loco, is a professor at SF State and a member of a rock n' roll band.
Dr. Loco looks like a character straight from a Cheech and Chong movie, with a braided sliver goatee, a plaid flannel shirt and a pair Dickies.
He is also the head honcho of Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band, and is one of the band members responsible for infusing an extra twist into the Tex-Mex musical group. He is accountable for the band's vocals, flute, accordion and saxophone. Together they have produced four CD's, in order by release date: Con Safos, Movimiento Music, Puro Party and Barrio Ritmos & Blues. Two of the four CD's are available on iTunes.
"I started the band back at Stanford in 1988," said Dr. Loco.
Dr. Loco has been a professor of Raza studies at SF State since 1990. For the first eight years he served as department chair, and although he is no longer in the position he remains actively involved. He has been known to combine academics with music.
"It's taking the notion of this ethnic studies paradigm and bringing it to a whole new level, by adding arts to it," said Dr. Loco.
Recently Dr. Loco incorporated his love of teaching with his love of music in the revival of the 1977, Rob M. Young film, Alambrista. The critically acclaimed film, which translates to "the fence cutter," is a movie that documents the struggles of a young migrant farm worker from Mexico after he crosses the border into the United States.
"The purpose of me reviving the film is to help the neediest," said Dr. Loco. "They are the undocumented workers in the United States."
Dr. Loco and his colleagues revitalized the film with a $240,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. The director's cut film includes: new scenes, added English subtitles, interviews and a new soundtrack preformed by Cuellar's newest band, "Dr.Loco & sus Tiburones del Norte."
They also added a volume of original essays by La Raza experts, which Dr. Loco and fellow SF State professor, Teresa Carillo, both contributed to.
"The film and the book are here to open people's eyes," said Dr. Loco. "Make them think about what has changed and what has stayed the same in the last 30 years."
The book of essays, DVD and complete soundtrack were published at the University of New Mexico Press, and they are now being sold together as a package.
"My ultimate goal is to inform and help," said Dr. Loco.
Dr. Loco has a strong background in music. He started to perform in public at the age of five. By the time he graduated from high school he was regularly performing with big-name groups, and not too long after that he even took a stab at being a casino musician.
Today he still performs with both Dr. Loco's bands, and hopes to have music in his life for many years to come.
"I was born and raised within a musical working-class familia," said Dr. Loco.
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