Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Mezcal

It took a while, but popular Visalia band Mezcal finally is releasing its debut CD, "Foreclosure."

The band, mostly made up by family members, is led by percussionist Carlos Rodriguez. After a recent trip to Africa, Rodriguez has added African percussion to Mezcal's Latin rock sound, resulting in more of a world music experience.

Mezcal will celebrate the release of the CD on Saturday with an event at Visalia's Garden Street Plaza, 300 E. Main St. Extra Golden, a group from Kenya that has performed with The Flaming Lips, Kanye West and Pearl Jam, will join Mezcal. There's also an art show planned. The event starts at 6 p.m. and is free.

We caught up with Rodriguez to learn more about the new CD.

So the album is finally done? You put a lot of work into it, right? It must be a big weight off the shoulders. After almost three years of recording, breaking up, quitting, counseling and nervous breakdowns, the record is finally done. Many times it was us working day jobs, followed by gigs at a club, then all-night sessions in the studio afterward.

What should people expect from the CD? People should expect a new beginning when they pick up a copy of "Foreclosure." The music nullifies typical songwriting and production. We hope that "Foreclosure" gets filed under world music. The album features music written for Mezcal and also debuts my solo work, like the dark and moody "Pulse."

I know you spent a while in Africa studying percussion, how did that influence the band's sound? I spent time last year in Guinea, Africa, studying percussion under village masters. You can hear some of West Africa speaking to you on "Afrodesias." That experience changed my outlook on music and life. The album's timely title is a direct influence of those significant changes. I needed to change my lifestyle. We have all suffered the consequences of living excessively.

What do you have lined up for the CD release? This weekend, we're going to perform part of the music found on the new CD in downtown Visalia. Mezcal promises to also throw in the crowd favorites, as well. We're also celebrating the birth of the Sound and Vision Foundation, too. I invite the entire Valley to come out and support this homegrown event.

If they don't pick it up this weekend, where can people get the CD? It is also on sale at Marcela's Home Store, Palomino's Music and Tazzaria, all in downtown Visalia. We're currently looking for retailers in Fresno, as well.

What else should people look out for from Mezcal? After this gig, Mezcal will get busy rehearsing for our first featured show. We're very excited to showcase the music on "Foreclosure" to the public and we think Visalia's Fox Theatre is the perfect stage. We just found out that the date for the concert will be on July 25. Mark your calendars.

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Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,