Vicky Tafoya is a smooth woman and her heroes names are Frankie Lymon, The Moonglows, The Flamingos, The Harptones, The Swallows, The Students, The Marcels, and The Skyliners, just to name but a few of them.
No doubt, her amazing and splendorous voice will give you goose bumps?! Listening to her singing «So Young» and you’ll cry just like her big baby (husband and guitarist) Ramiro does each time he listens to her?!
Last year with her band the Big Beat she flew over to Spain to do The Screamin Weekender festival in Calella, and then in November they went to England to play the Rhythm Riot. Will always remember Vicky and her husband comin’ kindly to a friend of mine’s chalet to sing a few songs and have a drink. An angel came on earth just for the happyfew of us?!
Vicky also sings in an Acapella Doo Wop group With Eddie Nichols (Royal Crown Revue) Matt Mazolla, and Jimmy Gimelli, and they call themselves the Redondos.
A young lady, yes, but not too young to sing the blues… and boy she can sing it good?!

by Dave "Long Tall" Phisel and Fred "Virgil" Turgis

So, how long have you been doing music ?

I’ve been singing with bands and several different vocal groups since around 1989. We actually didn’t start Vicky Tafoya and The Big Beat until around 2000 or 2001.

How did you get started ?
I started sing around the age of 8 or 9. When I was 10 years old in the sixth grade, my teacher said enter the choir’s talent show, so I did. So come time of the show, I was very nervous (it was my first time on stage). I had my mother on the side of the stage and she told me to go out there and kick some ass!! I went out on stage and it was great. I got 2 standing ovations!

Did you grow up in a musical family ?
Well…. Sort of a have a sister who used to sing in the sixties, and I have another sister who sings Spanish songs. Boleros and such.

Do you remember the first record you bought or the one that made you think «Woahhh, that’s what I want to do !»
When I was young, I never bought any records. They were all handed down to me from my mom to my sisters. They were mostly Oldies compilations with groups like The Ronettes, Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and so on… But the one group who influenced me most was probably Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers. Also Dion and The Belmonts and all the Doo Wop groups. The vocals were just so clean and pretty, I just love it!!

What are your influences as a singer ?
Musically, I am very inspired by the music of the 1940’s and 1950’s, it’s the absolute best. I think I would drop dead if I couldn’t listen to it or sing it! The beauty of a romantic love song, or the beauty of a sad or torch song. The joy of an uptempo Rock n’ Roll song. I really, really enjoy all the songs I’ve chosen to do. It’s very important to me musically to deliver these songs as best as I can, to pay respect to all this great music.

And in terms of songwriting?
As a songwriter, Rock n’ Roll has and always will inspire to write, along with the good, bad, and silly adventures on my musical journey.

What about your band, where do they come from, were they in other bands before ?
My lead guitarist Ramiro was in a group called The Rhythm Shakers from Santa ana California. I’ve known him since we were kids. He’s such a fantastic surf guitarist… I don’t know why he’s still in the band ! I really appreciate him lending his talents to the band and hanging around for so long. Thanks Ging! My rhythm guitar player (and husband) Vince, used to be in a Phsychobilly/ Rock/ Punk group called Los Infernos. Our drummer Robert also plays in a band by the name of Truly Lover Trio, in the Los Angeles area. Mike, our sax guy is going to UCLA and studying to become a music teacher, and Christian our bass player plays in a few other bands including Howlin Al and the Sharps, and Devil Doll.

Do you remember the first show you played ?
Yes. It was the first DooWop Society of Southern California show. I was in an all girl vocal group called The Honeydrips. I was a little nervous. We only did a few songs, but it felt great!

Don’t you think that things change. and there is more women on the "roots scene" than we could see 15 years ago ?
It seems like there are more women out there doing their thing on the scene and its great. I’ve done shows with Carrie Lee and I think she is an awesome front lady for her band, she’s great. It’s just great to be a part of it!!

About your albums, how many are they?
The very first Big Beat CD we recorded was a demo we did in a friends living room. We only made around a few and sold them all very quickly (I think I might have ONE copy). Our “Official” CD is “Meet the Beat” and is out on
El Toro Records.
As for other things I’ve recorded, I worked with Big Sandy on a few songs on his “Dedicated to You” CD. I’m on a Collectible Records Christmas compilation, and I worked with Royal Crown Revue on a song for a Christmas compilation called “Maybe this Christmas Tree”. We recorded that great old standard “Baby, its cold outside”. Eddie Nichols and I have an Acapella doowop group with Matt Mazzola and Jimmy Jimelli, and we call ourselves The Redondos. We are in the middle of putting out a CD, so look for a release from us hopefully very soon!!

Were they done live in studio?
The Demo was done live, but “Meet the Beat” was done in a little studio over a few months. I think it came out all right, but I would have much rather have done the recording live. That’s the way it should’ve be done, but that’s a whole other story.

What is the most memorable gigs you played and/or went to ?
The most memorable shows I’ve ever been to were the Classis New York Doo Wop Shows back in 1989-90. I saw The Cadillacs, The Tokens, The Duprees, and Lee Andrews and the Hearts, among others. While waiting in the lobby for the doors to open so we could be seated, we used to sing in the halls. I went up to Tony De Lauro, the MC of the show, and asked him how I could get on the show. His reaction was “Yeah, maybe next time kid”. Someway or another I received a call from a gentleman named Bruce who asked me if I wanted to a tribute to Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers. I couldn’t believe it! ME, in The Classic New York Doo Wop show! I WAS SO EXCITED. The line-up was The Flamingos, The Spaniels, The Capris, The Dixie Cups, The Calvanes, and Vicky Tafoya with The Storytellers doing a tribute to Frankie Lymom. I was even advertised on the radio. It was one of the most wonderful moments in my life to have been on stage with some of the best! I’ll never forget it. I had my own dressing room ! Before he brought me out on stage, Tony De Lauro told the whole story about this kid who asked him how she could get to sing in the show, and we opened with the Frankie Lymon tunes.
It was awesome !

When can we expect a new release?
As of right now, I’m trying to finish my original material so we can put out a full length CD.

A last word ?
Thank you all from France and this magazine and the whole scene there in France! Viva Rock n’ Roll! It will never die! To you, from me, with a love song, Vicky Tafoya.

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