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Forge The Rubicon | I was shocked to see Americans and even other Latinos jumping on Mexicans...Lui

I was planning my birthday celebration with some friends on December 2nd 2013. We decided to meet up at a late night motorcycle type place in Fort Launderdale to see a band with a promising drummer who worked as drum manager for a large music chain. The days of “clubbing” were far behind me. I only used to go to see bands I managed or had friends playing in during the 70's and 80's. Since I managed a large Christian rock band, the religious part not my choice, in 1970, I had come close to signing them to a label called Wooden Nickel out of Chicago. We toured the Midwest for a month or so, before we ended up in Chicago, kind of homeless! After an hour on the street I found my way to Wooden Nickel by talking to all the friendly people inhabiting downtown Chicago at the time. I ended up before Bill Trout, the owner of the label; he had just signed Styx and was basking in their first albums success! After hearing our band that night in a club call Beavers, he and a young millionaire promoter sat in an all-night deli for 5 hours till 4AM, explaining the business. The deal was a two album deal with an option for two more for 50K up front, a lot for a 21 year old kid on his first venture two years out of high school.

Forge The Rubicon

Alas, the band broke up before the deal could be made. The singers left, and we sounded like our guitar player's roots...he came from the Allman Brothers Band, before they went to Macon Georgia and exploded. Gary Carter, Duane Allman's second, was good, but without our vocals we could not keep the label happy. I promoted several concerts for the diminished lineup, and we made some noise after returning to our homes in South Florida, but Wooden Nickle moved on. So, as the years went by I was not interested in clubbing for fun, it was all business to me. That birthday night in Hollywood, Florida, I couldn't hear much as the band was loud...a guy at the bar next to me who seemed 10 foot tall dressed in black leather, silver studs and all, was trying to be talk about something, but I couldn't make out a word, so I just smiled and tried to watch this drummer. He was excellent, played well, sang well. The problem with my band in 1970 was that two of the three lead singers quit and they were what the Wooden Nickel loved about us.

When the band broke up, that night, through the smoke, it was smoking bar, I was introduced to Luis Gomez. But truly the atmosphere was not conducive to anything but drinking beer, which was being bought for me due to the birthday. I hadn't been drinking much for a while, so the combination made communication difficult.

The next day I went to the music store where Luis worked in the drum department and we talked. He wanted to show me a video he had shot of himself playing a song called Forever You. I noticed that he played and sang every instrument, I was duly impressed. We started a slow dance of getting to know one and other. Luis was from Guadalajara Mexico, and it was my first encounter with anyone out of the U.S.A. It took some getting used to, as our customs were quite different, but we spoke Rock! We started to schedule lunches together. He explained that he recorded the song while his wife and baby son were one evening...! An amazing feat for anyone, but he knew his way around Garage Band and video editing, while playing the drums, guitars, bass and keyboards...the vocals, well you just have to listen to Luis...! As soon as he could walk, he became part of a children's chorus, which is mother taught and where he stayed for years. On the streets of Guadalajara, he sang on buses for change in order to finance his purchase of drums. He couldn't have have been much over 12 or 13 at the time. His drumming got him in bands, and he sang when called upon.

After meeting his soon-to-be American wife in a night club, they moved to Miami to begin a family. I explained all that I had gone through in the 70's and we agreed to form a partnership. As long as I didn't have to deal with a “band” again, we would build on the name Forge The Rubicon. He writes and plays all the songs and I promote and mange the joint effort.

Let's address the name. The Rubicon is a small, now polluted river in Northern Italy. History says that anyone who crosses that river with an army to attack Italy would seal their fate, and not in a good way...! It must have been meant for some kind of threat for protection. We'll after having been kicked north of the Rubicon by Italian forces...Julius Caesar formed a new army and crossed the Rubicon to claim ownership of the country, and we know how that turned out...! We'll, I gave it some thought, and knew that Luis had to cross the Rio Grande, even by airplane to get to America. I fashioned a parallel, Luis would be crossing a river to take on the music business...anyway it sounded nice and three word names seemed to be in. I did not mention that between 1970 and 2013 I had been working in Advertising/Marketing and Sales for not only my own companies but Fortune 500 companies. So, even though I am semi-retired, music has always been my Mecca. Let the fun begin!

And, it did...! After a while we started writing together, I was also a copywriter so I was able to help with lyrics...all was fun and manageable as we put up another 7 more songs along with videos together over the next two years. Then, one day I was watching the news and a guy named Donald Trump came on the air and labeled Mexicans Rapists etc. I thought he was nuts...! I called Luis and told him about this, me thinking it would blow over quickly. But, Facebook and the strange makeup of the music scene in South Florida, was emboldened to jump on anyone from Mexico...Luis was in their sights. Some people came out of the woodwork, some from under rocks (no pun to rock&roll there). There were hurtful words being spit out from all directions. I was shocked to see Americans and even other Latinos jumping on Mexicans...Luis was being attacked from all directions. From what I heard, they thought they were being funny. And, then Trump ended up president!

To say Luis Gomez is uncertain of his future is an understatement. He has two children now, a boy and a girl, he wonders what is in store for them in the future. I keep thinking America will get back on course. It can't be the country where I was born and grew up in...can it...?

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