A wile back i had the opportunity to head out to a event on a Saturday night where a few bands would be playing. I hung out for a wile before i decided to leave.As I was walking out the door i ran into Pachuco Jose.I’ve seen him and his band perform at a few events in the past,but I never had the opportunity to chat with him. I introduced my self and complimented him on his awesome music and very unique wardrobe.We chatted for a little wile and from that day on we continue to keep in contact. Let me say he is one of the koolest dudes you could meet and its a honor to call him a friend. Sit back relax and read on how he first got started in music and some of the experiences he’s had. lets get started
My Name is Jose Leonidas Lara Lara
I am currently living in The Inland Empire.
(I am originally from El Salvador but grew up in Los Angeles since age of 12.
I am a Musician /Artist/Painter/Fashion Designer.
Living in El Salvador in the 1970s my Dad used to listen to Perez Prado The King of The Mambo,Los Panchos ,Los Teen Tops,Elvis Presley to name a few. This were my beginnings that eventually lead me to become a Performer. I started about 12 years ago.After seeing The Amazing Legend of Lalo Guerrero in person immediately I was more inspired. I started a band with friends from The Country Cats and Los Rhythm Rockets.
We started to do sort of a tribute to Lalo Guerrero and Pachuco Boogie was My Main focused and so that was the birth of Pachuco Jose y Los Diamantes… I had prayed for God to guide me as far as to what name I should call the band and since The Veteranos Pastors at my church started to call me “Orale Pachuco” and everyone else did to i decided to call the band Pachuco Jose Y Los Diamantes. I got The Diamantes from the bible. There is a scripture in the bible where The Lord speaks to The Prophet Isaiah and He tells him, “I will give you treasures put of darkness” so i called them “Diamantes”.. So our focus was recreating songs of a very limited and obscure style , “Pachuco Boogie”.
Could you tell us about your very unique wardrobe you wear?
Eventually playing a lot of shows and seeing more and more pictures of us on the Internet I started to realize that I would wear the same suits, so I started to Design my own Zoot Suits and since I have been a collector of Mexican Black and White Cinema I started to notice that a lot of these stars would wear The Coolest threads I decided to make my own…I had collected vintage clothing for more than 20 years then so I had a great idea of the way they made The Authentic Clothes in the 1940s and 1950s..So All the zoot suits I wear on stage I make myself,I am also The Original Creator of The Zoot Jean, Never before seen nor made nor sold anywhere . I made the first one .Of course they had Baggy Jeans in The 40s but not a Zoot Jean until I Designed it and Made it…Its a real privilege. The Zoot Suits I make I Try to do my best to make them as they Originally did,Everything that was made in those days Qasim made right so i try my best to replicate that.. Then I started my own clothing line “Drape Shapes” Pachuco Jose Clothing Co. You can check out
I’m really a small time designer but pray my business will grow soon.
Man thats cool,I bet the out fits you make really turn heads,especially when it’s custom made.
When did you first start playing a guitar and how did you get started ?
In the 1970s a Prisoner at a Jail around the corner from our house in El Salvador made me my first guitar ,i was about 9-10 years old. My Beautiful Mother got it for me as a gift.. I then had to leave my humble poor country because of the Civil War that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Salvadoreans including my uncle and since lot of teenagers like me were being drafted and ,kidnapped and being executed by The Death Squads my Mother decided to come to The United States of America for a better life. So she left us with our grandparents and after working real hard with my stepfather they sent for my brothers and then for me. I was busted 3 times by Immigration but eventually I was released from El Paso Texas afyer being in a Detention Camp… Isn’t it funny? It’s believed that Pachucos came from El Paso,and here was The Almighty God preparing me, haha. What is sense of humor The Lord has…
I along with my brothers was separated from My father for 10 years. For 10 years we couldn’t go back because my people were at war and bodies continued to appear, decapitations,executions,kidnappings,murders,
Massacres of entire villages…..Not seeing my Precious Dad for that long took a toll on me so I started to drink alcohol and use drugs and eventually got into a Gang. 125 young and crazy guys. In time I adopted to a new violence,Gang Violence. So as a 16 year old i got me another guitar and would get drunk and high with the Fellas so I would play my guitar and sing at our hang outs…Drugs,Booze and The Neighborhood my desire to play music was put to the side for a few years…Being shot on the chest during Gang War and losing Homies in The Barrio I had to adopt to that and the only desires I had were of no good intention…But on the Sunday of April 11 2004 at a Viva Las Vegas Weekender after being drunk and high for days I went to hotel room where I was staying with My Friend “Big Joe” and I came to that room and fell on my knees and cried out to The Good Lord. I asked for forgiveness, i was tired of being tired and running . In my messed up condition God heard me and changed my whole life.. i never drank nor used drugs nor have I been involved in any violent crimes since that very moment. It took a few days to recover from all that drunkenness and highness…All those years of singing sad songs of a broken heart in my room when i got high and drunk each day then going to work just to do the same routine were over for me.
So,That was a turning point for me. In 2004, i started to attend Victory Outreach Church in LA Puente and met hundreds of Ex Drugaddicts,Ex Gang members like me who were now Jesus Loving people.. During a sermon from Pastor Charlie Moreno ,He preached about talents and that day I knew God had called me to do music. Uncle Ernie on Guitar and Piano,Chin on Bass,Luis on Guitar,George on Drums,Kad on Saxophone and a few other musicians friends at The Rumble Bar, it was a Cinco de Mayo Show that year 2004 that Richard put together. I sang 3 songs I believe and Los Chucos Suaves was one of them and the crowd and friends were very supportive and showed me a lotta love. So i started Pachuco Jose y Los Diamantes soon after that show.
Some 15 years ago i was doing some little time at The L.A County Jail when a preaching couple were giving us church and the man was playing a guitar and He encouraged me with his playing at a time when i was down so He was an amazing inspiration. Approximately 3 years later i met this man at my church as i was invited to play and sing at Camp Rockie to Youth Inmates,Again,Funny I hadn’t seen this man in almost 10 years,then last Saturday night i was speaking to some people about him and Behold I see him again at church the very next day after……Wow. God does have an Amazing Sense of Humor. Anyways,then the movie” Walk The Line ” came out (Story of Johnny Cash) I knew I wanted to do 2 things He had done. 1 was propose on stage to some beautiful woman which I did at Viva Las Vegas April 2016 . and no.2 Play The Prisons of The World to bring some comfort and a word of encouragement through The Word of God to those doing time.So My Plans is to get more involved in Prison Ministry and continue to play anywhere The Lord permits.
What are some of the places you performed and what was your most memorable performance?
I have been privileged to perform in Many places here in The Beautiful U.S.A ,Germany,Spain,Italy,Mexico and EL Salvador.Soon South America.. A few years ago Pachuco Jose y Los Diamantes ,We were the opening act for The Legendary 1950s Sensation, Little Richard,But the Most Memorable show for me was when I flew to El Salvador about 5 years ago and I performed on stage as a TRIO with My step brother Bladimir Lara and My Precious Dad who recently passed on October 2015..Im blessed to have my Mother and Stepfather but when my Father died, part of me died and music hasn’t been the same..
Man performing in those different countries had to have been a experience,but i can only imagine how nice it was to jam with your brother and father.I’m sorry to hear that he passed,may he rest in peace.
With being a musician that has performed in different parts of the world and opened for other known performers,what advice could you give a youngster who is starting out in music and is serious about it ?
My advise to Youngsters or new bands is to follow that dream of Music that you have, You may end up with different people that you started your band with, But always be greatful for All those that were with you during the process and always be supportive of other musicians whether you think they’re your favorite or not…There is so much talent out there and Amazing Musicians and Singers. Always Respect and People will shower you with Respect..
What plans do you have for the future and where could people contact you or see you perform ?
I have some projects and Gospel is one of them. You will hear me playing in The Prisons perhaps somewhere where you have a loved one or a friend doing time.,It’s a small world..
Please contact me for info or Bookings on
Keep an eye on Our FB Pages for Upcoming Shows.
This has been great chatting with you and i appreciate you sharing your experiences and how you got into music, keep up the amazing work. Anyone you wanna give a shout out or say whats up to?
I would like to thank Our Fans who have given us much love and respect. A special thanks to My Family my beautiful MOM and My Amazing Step Dad
And of Course My Beloved Father ,Rest In Peace .You Always Loved me even when I didn’t deserve All my family My Great Brothers and Sisters.
Last but not least, To The Almighty God who heard my cry on my messed up condition and helped me change my life and has given me a New Purpose in life,My Precious Lord ad Savior Jesus Christ…..