LOS ANGELES, April 17, 2013 — Edward Escoto formed Union 13 in East Los Angeles back in 1992. Twenty years later, after many lineup changes, including a break himself, Escoto is the only original member still playing with Union 13. Escoto and bass player Balti Rodriguez discuss touring while balancing a family and a punk rock band.
THIS IS PART THREE OF A THREE PART INTERVIEW
KW: What is your favorite city to play?
Edward: I would like to say New York. I like the hardcore scene of New York, you know? It’s just amazing the vibe and the energy they bring to shows. I think it’s amazing. So I would like to say New York. I like every single city, you know, but New York’s the one I really like.
Balti: I really enjoy playing those obscure cities that you show up and you’re like, “What the fuck is this? There is nothing here.” And then you get to the show and there’s like 30 kids and you’re like, “F**k.” Then you get on stage and there’s those handful of kids that are singing every lyric and going nuts. I love it. I love being able to be there and having the opportunity to play in front of your fans.
Edward: And for us, even if there are three kids at our show because it happened to us, you know? In a weird place where you don’t even see life forms and it’s like those three or four kids that went to see your show and we always put the same energy into every single show. If it’s a hundred kids to a thousand kids, even if there’s only three, we don’t care, we’ll still go off.
Balti: I love it when we play small cities and there are 30 people there and the kids are like, “Dude, this is the biggest crowd ever!”
KW: How does having a family affect you going on tour? Do you ever take the kids on tour?
Edward: I would love to, you know, once they get older so they could roadie for us. Right now they’re really small and they don’t know what we’re doing. So, it’s a lot easier for us to leave the house. I’m not saying easy, but it doesn’t really affect them yet. Once they get older and start asking, “Where’s Dada? Where is he? He’s not around.” You just got to explain to them that this is what you love to do and you got to be on the road, you know? Like I said, once they get older, hopefully they can roadie. Because the roadies we got right now, dude, we got to roadie for them.
Balti: My daughter always asks questions. She’s always asking why am I leaving and the whole tears and everything. That breaks my heart. I never had experienced that before because I always looked forward to going out, and I still do, but I always tell her I’ll be back. Another thing I tell them is that it’s another job. I have to do this because I have to go to work and I have to play. I feel like for me as a person, I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t playing. I have to, you know. They do come to shows when we’re in L.A., but my wife understands that when we have a show, we [the band] all go together, we set up, we try to be as professional as possible. It’s not a date with my wife, unfortunately, I’m not a parent that night, especially because [of] the disaster we do on stage.
KW: Is there anything else you would like Union 13 fans to know?
Balti: June 18, our next EP will be out, pick it up and continue going to shows. That’s the most important thing. I know now that we’re older, there’s so many times I’m like, “Man, I really want to see this band,” but I’m so tired from going to work and I always go because these moments, you don’t get them back, you know? All the fans that are out there, all the people that are into punk rock, all the people that are into Union, come out, dude. Come out and hang out with us because it’s important that we share what we love.
Edward: Exactly, music, you know? Especially for those that are starting a band, just continue. We’ve been doing this for the last 20 years. Don’t give up, you know, because music is life. Even if you’re not making any money, it’s just a way, you know, to express yourself. So, continue doing what you love. Look at me, I’m married with two kids, Balti’s married with two kids and we’re still playing music. I think even if I didn’t stay in Union, I’d still be playing with some sh***y a** band at a bar, just to play, you know? So just continue playing, you never know what could happen. That’s the advice I would give them.
Balti: I also think the best moments of my life resulted from being in a band, you know? And I really think all the experiences we’ve had combined, whether we’ve been fighting each other or if we’ve been in random cities, it’s really sculpted the people that we are.
Edward: And don’t play in a band thinking you’re gonna make it big or go on tour. No, just do it because you love it and you love doing what you love doing and don’t expect those things in return. If it happens, it’s a bonus.
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