Known as the King of Tex-Mex rock and roll, Joe King Carrasco, creates a stylistic borderland of pop rock and Latin rhythms. His cross-cultural stew blends cumbias, calypso, salsa, surf, reggae, and Latin-tinged polkas. It has been a long road, coming from Dumas,Texas, a dusty little west Texas town where in the 7th grade he started playing in garage bands. In his late teens, he was often lured to the beaches in Southern Mexico and was drawn to the Mexican music he was hearing around him. Back in Texas he joined up with future members of the Texas Tornados and formed a band known as Joe King Carrasco & El Molino and in 1978 released his 1st LP titled “Tex-Mex Rock & Roll”. Somehow this record made its way to England and was re-released by Big Beat Records.
In 1979, he formed Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns featuring Vox organ-driven Tex-mex pop. The Crowns, released their first single, “Party Weekend”, and the label chase began and soon the band was playing chic New York venues and generating lines around the block. The band became one of the first American groups signed to England's legendary Stiff Records. During this time Joe toured extensively throughout Europe, Central America, Bolivia and Columbia as well as across the USA and Canada, consistently delivering high energy performances where dancing was the numero uno priority.
Rounding out his assault on the International music scene with an in-depth interview in Rolling Stone Magazine and an appearance performing his music on Saturday Night Live. His song “Party Weekend” which is still known as the quintessential party anthem, was re-released by MTV as Party Christmas, making Joe King Carrasco a household name to MTV viewers across the country.
Even with all this going on Joe knew he was ready to take his music to a new level. It was on the Stiff Records, Sons of Stiff Tour, while traveling with a British-born Jamaican band called The Equators, that Joe picked up much of his reggae influence. After returning from a very successful year on the road, he put this experience to work and recorded the reggae flavored song "Don't Let a Woman (Make a Fool Out of You)" on his album Synapse Gap for MCA Records where he had the King of pop, Michael Jackson, singing background harmonies.
Joe's music is enhanced with an even greater Latin influence after living and studying in Nicaragua in the mid 1980's. His songs dealt with the unjust political situation of that period in Central America, and the resulting albums were; "Bordertown", "Bandido Rock" (off of which the song "Pachucco Hop" was recorded by the French group Mano Negra on their first platinum selling CD), and "Royal Loyal & Live" (with the only live recording of the hit song “Party Weekend”).
Several years ago, His Majesty took a few left turns at Nogales and wound up playing with his band at a bar called Pancho y Lefty's in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. There, the Tex-Mex fell into a slow cool cumbia/reggae groove. This style seemed to be the musical answer to what Joe had been searching for from the Mayan pyramids to the shores of Lake Titicaca. This mystical combination of Latino and Caribbean, with a little bit of Sam The Sham thrown in for a spicy flavor, has evolved into a style Joe has termed "Tequila Reggae". This influence can be heard on several of his recordings including “Dia de Los Muertos”, “Hot Sun”, and “Hay Te Guacho Cucaracho”.
For many years, Joe donated his time and music to make P.S.A.'s for the Tx. Parks & Wildlife Dept., helping to spread the word about keeping our beaches clean. In 1978 Joe's father was killed by a drunk driver. So he welcomed the opportunity to work with and support Tx.'s S.O.B.E.R.program, educating people about the pitfalls of driving while intoxicated.
In early 1996 Joe’s song “Tell Me” was recorded by The Texas Tornados, and sung by Freddy Fender, on his record, “Canciones Di Mi Barrio”. His music has been placed on numerous movie soundtracks including “Tin Cup” starring Kevin Costner, “Breathless” with Richard Gere, James Gardners' “Rockford Files”, and more. In 2003, Joe King Carrasco was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame.
Joe King Carrasco has been involved in acting for many years but in 2009 he stepped into the roles of writer and director with the release of his first film "Rancho No Tengo". The soundtrack with the same name was released in 2008.
Because dogs are such an important part of his life, in 2011, joe started a non profit group, Viva Perros (www.vivaperros.org) which helps homeless, abused and neglected dogs find a better life. Part of the profits from the “Concierto Para Los Perros” CD and T-shirts are donated to dog rescue groups via Viva Perros.
In June of 2011, Joe King Carrasco reunited with the original Crowns, and spent the summer playing across Texas. Teamed up with organist/accordionist Kris Cummings, bassist Brad Kizer, and drummer Mike Navarro, they went back to the studio and recorded a new CD, “Que Wow”, which they released during the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas in March of 2012. Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns were inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame on March 14th, 2012.
The Academy of Texas Music awarded Joe King Carrasco a Lifetime Achievement Award in March of 2012, and he gave them a taste of his endless energy when he played as the closing act on the stage, then running through the audience only to end up back on stage taking a leap from the 4 foot drum rise while still playing his guitar.
Joe King Carrasco teamed up with Ernie Durawa, Speedy Sparks and Augie Meyers, three members of his first band, El Molino in the late summer and fall of 2012 and recorded a new CD, “Tlaquepaque”. They brought in many Austin MVP musicians to play on this LP, including Aaron Lack, Jimmy Shortell, Jesse Dayton, Chuggy Hernandez, and Joe Morales.
When not touring, Joe King Carrasco can be found at his musical home in Puerto Vallarta, Nacho Daddy, a Mex-Tex restaurant and club. Its walls are tapered with memories, such as posters and photographs of Joes' musical history and travels around the world. Holding court at Nacho Daddy gives Joe King a palace to rock his Tex-Mex and transport those who drink the magic flavored "margaritas" to a place where the "Party Weekend" goes on forever.
Joe King Carrasco spends much of his spare time writing music, attending advanced Spanish classes, and relentlessly searching for the perfect desolate beach to hang out with his dogs. He can often be found exploring the twisty back roads from Coahuila all the way to Chiapas, chasing down good inspiration for another Tex-Mex song.