LOS ANGELES, April 16, 2013 — Union 13 is a punk band from East L.A that formed in 1992. Singer Edward Escoto and bass player Balti Rodriguez discuss their new EP—due out on June 18—old members of Union 13 and touring.
THIS IS PART TWO OF A THREE PART INTERVIEW
KW: Do you still keep in touch with the old members of Union 13?
Edward: Yeah, actually, I do. I talk to every single one of them, except for José because José is doing his own thing and we’ve kind of lost touch. But everyone else I still talk to, we hang out once in a while. Louis now is a born-again Christian. Jerry is a mechanic. He fixes nothing but old cars. Ben works for the city.
Balti: I think what is really important also is that all those guys still come to our shows once in a while and they still hang out, so we’ve been able to keep friendships.
Edward: Yeah, like I said, you know, that’s what Union’s all about, the unity we have. So, we’re still all friends. I mean, I still talk to José. Don’t get me wrong. I talk to him once in a while and we say, what’s up with everything. We still keep in touch, but now the band is not their lives anymore. Their life is something different. So, that’s good for them, you know? They’re doing what they like.
Balti: And that’s something important for people that aren’t in bands. They don’t know the level of commitment that being in a band takes, especially a band that is active and touring and stuff. I try to explain it to people and it’s like having another girlfriend.
Edward: Actually five girlfriends! Because it’s different little worlds in each person, you know? You got to deal with everybody’s good things and bad things. It’s the same thing with a relationship. That’s what a band is.
KW: When can fans expect to hear the new EP?
Edward: We’re still finishing a few touches. We had to change studios because of certain things, but yeah, it’s almost done. It should be out 2015, 2016 [laughs].
Balti: It should be out June 18. It’s going to be on One Shot Records, which was my old label. We were thinking, “What should we do with it?” I really think that it’s important to put it out ourselves and because One Shot was my old label, I thought, let’s just put it out ourselves on One Shot. And we can get it in stores and get it to our fans.
Edward: Yeah, exactly, nowadays you can just do it yourself. It’s no longer labels [that] are actually selling CDs anymore. It’s everything iTunes or digital, so with that, we could do it ourselves. It’s not that hard and why deal with the whole bulls**t of a label, when you can do it yourself? So that’s what we’re trying to do, kind of DIY, you know, do it yourself. If we do get picked up by a label, that would be great, that would be a bonus, but right now we’re just looking to do it ourselves.
KW: Will you do any touring this summer?
Edward: We’re actually planning on doing Mexico, June 28 and 29. We’re planning to go to the east coast. Those dates are confirmed, which is August 22nd to the 27th. Right now, we are a little bit stumbling because I am making a move. I am moving out of California, I’m going somewhere else. I got to adjust. And once we adjust, we’re gonna go to the Midwest. We’ll go to the east coast as much as we can. Hopefully, we can go to Europe and Japan by the end of the year or the start of next year to promote the record. So, right now our main goal, our main purpose is just to finish this record and for me to just settle down. Once I’m settled down, just run with it.
KW: What is your favorite tour story?
Balti: Every time we go to South America, we always make sure that on our rider it says you can’t charge more than 10 bucks because we don’t charge like rock stars do. We’re bare minimum. You pay for our expenses, our meals, we’re good, you know? And that’s it. That’s all we really ask for. So, the promoter was selling pre-sale [tickets] at $28. When we got there, it was a good turnout inside, but there was about 300 kids outside that were furious and they were angry and they were talking s**t, like “Your band is capitalists.”
Edward: In Mexico, it’s like a different animal. Over there, they take everything to another level. It’s good, you know, but if you’re charging $28 a ticket in Mexico, no one has that type of money. Usually, like Balti said, we don’t like to overcharge people for tickets. I mean, come on, you know? That’s too much.
Balti: So I told the kids, “I’m glad you guys showed up. If there’s anyone out there that knows a venue, you know, we’re here tomorrow. We’ll play for free anywhere.” One of the kids said there was this warehouse. So I said let’s make it happen and that same night, we confirmed and posted it on our Myspace, at the time, and we had about 800 kids show up to this warehouse.
Edward: The great thing about the show, it was the last song and our P.A. blew out.
Balti: Yeah, the P.A. just burned up. It was a place called the Clandestino, it’s in Ecatepec, they called it Epunktepec because there are so many punks there. It’s the equivalent to the East L.A. of Mexico. They ended up doing the show and it was just an empty warehouse with this shitty old school P.A. The worst equipment we ever played on and it just went off. Towards the end of our set, I think we blew a fuse or something, but the P.A. turned off. I think we played the last two songs and we had no vocals and everybody was just singing along. It was so awesome.
Edward: I didn’t even need to yell out. Everybody was just helping me out with the songs. It was amazing.
KW: Are there any bands you would like to tour with that you have not had the chance to tour with yet?
Edward: To be honest with you, dude, I want to tour with everybody. I like everybody, so I don’t have a specific band, but if I would say which one, Bad Religion.
Balti: Of course.
Edward: Bad Religion, you know? It’s the band that I really want to tour with. I grew up listening to Bad Religion. Bad Religion would be the band.
Balti: For me, we had the honor of doing a couple shows with Dead Kennedys in Arizona and New Mexico and California and that was just awesome because they’re definitely a band that I grew up listening to, that I respect and I think that it’s so hard for bands to keep going, you know? Punk’s not where it used to be as far as venues that are accessible and fan base. So I have a lot of respect for bands that are still doing it, like the Casualties. They were just in L.A. and I am so bummed that we’ve never played with The Casualties. I have so much respect for those guys.
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