For years, I didn't honor Labor Day by refusing to labor and going to one of the last backyard/bbq/swim parties of the year.  I was usually laboring my butt off.

It was a labor of love though because it involved partying, live bands and bbq ... the KLAQ bbq.

Held every year at Western Playland, both locations, (and once at Club 101 ... that's a long story), it was THE end of summer, rock 'n roll throwdown.

At first, the bbq was just a couple of local bands and a genuine bbq cookoff between local grillers. I would do my airshift, then head over to Western Playland for whatever was next.

Judging the bbq contest, signing up winners for special prizes, maybe doing my show live from Western Playland ... I never knew what the day would bring.

I even acted as a "carnival barker" one year for Buzz Adams while he rode El Bandido over and over until he puked.

The angle here with me playing "barker" was getting peeps to ride WITH Buzz and, possibly, be his wingman when his stomach threw in the towel.

Radio is such a glamorous business.

KLAQ/Nico
KLAQ/Nico
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Anyway, over the years, the bands got bigger and I moved away from park and on/air duties to running the stage and assisting the bands. Man, we had some times back there.

It rained on us just about every year and the backstage area ... a small "alley" between the park, the stage and the road that winds around Ascarate Lake ... would become a slippery, swampy muddy mess.

It was great.

Pat Benatar, Trapt, Blue Oyster Cult, Cowboy Mouth, Rev Theory, Smashmouth, Gary Hoey, Hinder, Aranda, Filter, (That's Richard Patrick crowd surfing in the pics), Tommy Lee, The Badlees, Caroline's Spine, Halestorm, UPO, Drowning Pool, Fuel and so, SOOO many more.

Amazing artists, amazing shows and amazingly weird issues we had to work through. I practically "swam" through 90% of those bbq's.

We dealt with wet electronics, mechanical failures, slippery stages, low visibility, mosquitoes the size of baby hummingbirds, cold food, warm beer, rowdy crowds and anything else you can probably think of.

Fights, band conflicts, crazy rider demands and the, literal, classic cliche of "sex drugs and rock 'n roll".  Man, I miss those days.

Anyone want to find some crazy partiers, a few demanding and cranky band managers, then fire up a super loud stage to act as a lightning rod while we run around in the rain for 12 - 15 hours and get drunk?

If so, call me ... I'm in.

How These Texas Cities Got Their Names

Texas City Name Origins

Inside The Historic Sonic Ranch Studio in Tornillo

One of the biggest recording studios in the El Paso area is Sonic Ranch Studios located in Tornillo. It has been the sight of many recording artists & when you go, it looks way more than just a studio. Here's a brief look inside at the main recording studios, the equipment & some of the various rooms at Sonic Ranch. All photos can be found on their official Facebook page.