The soulful 1960's Chicano rock 'n' roll sound that put East Los Angeles on the musical map was one of Southern California's most distinctly urban, joyful styles. Yet one of the movement's earliest, most influential and successful groups, the Premiers, first came to life in a small-town San Gabriel backyard over 50 years ago. Within 24 months, the casual, mostly instrumental outdoor rehearsals started by Lawrence and John Perez had transformed the siblings into leaders of a nationally known act, one with a devastatingly catchy Top 20 hit, "Farmer John".
Along with Richie Valens and Chris Montez, the Premiers, who perform on Saturday, June 15 at Burbank's Viva Cantina, were at the forefront of the explosive Chicano rock scene. As teenagers in 1962, guitarist Lawrence Perez and his drum playing brother John drafted neighborhood pals George Delgado and Frank Zuniga. With their mother's encouragement, the band regularly jammed out behind the Perez home. Crowds gathered, and steady small time local gigs soon followed.