El Paso Music Scene

Eric Martell Interview

At the time of this interview, Eric Martell had been the drummer for the Cantina Flys for about two months We interviewed Eric at Lucky Devils, in between sets.

EPMS: How did you get this Cantina Flys gig, anyways?

Eric Martell: Basically, I had just heard about it by way of a couple of web sites. Well, it was through a particular web site here in town. I saw the notice that was posted up there, and as soon as I had found out about that, I started trying to track down the guys in the band. I didn't have any of their numbers at the time. I made a couple of calls and tried to find out where I could track them down. Finally did, I contacted Steve initially, and kind of talked to him, and he just kind of gave me the dirt a little bit, as far as background, as far as the parts of the drummer and stuff, and just the fact that they were looking, and they had some stuff that was lined up... (There) was some pretty cool stuff that was in the works for the band, and I just told them I was up for it. I was looking to get involved, and looking to identify with a band, a hard-working band, a band that's after... that's really hungry, that's after it and that's looking to do some heavy things, in terms of a record deal, in terms of touring, you know, stuff that's not settling for the status quo, as far as trying to be local heroes or just trying to do the cover scene, and that kind of thing, but really going above and beyond that.

EPMS: Where were you at the time?

Eric Martell: Actually I had just been floating around here in town, not really doing anything. I had a couple of offers from a couple of other bands here in town. Essentially I had turned them down, just because of the fact that I didn't see the seriousness involved with what they were doing, as far as future plans; any kind of plans in terms of touring, in terms of trying to pursue a record contract. There wasn't anything there as far as, you know, steps and measures that were to be taken to achieve that, and to attain that, in terms of press kits or other things involved in order to get that, and those things alone were just indicators to me of their level of seriousness, and therefore I had turned down those offers. Nothing personal towards them or anything like that. I just wasn't wanting to commit and to put the time and effort and everything else into a band that was just not wanting to go after it.

EPMS: What kind of serious bands have you been in?

Eric Martell: Actually, probably the most serious band that I've ever been involved in was a band back in the 80s, a band called Child. We had been floating around here in town back in the 80s. This place was just infiltrated with clubs that would only take in bands that would do cover songs, cover material, that kind of thing, and at the time we were more wanting to do our stuff and our originals, and oddly enough we were allowed by club owners to go in there and do that. A lot of that's attributed to the fact that we had a very high energy show, as far as what we did on stage, as far as choreography, as far as imagery, and that kind of thing. I mean, we basically just did the rounds here in town. We just did all that we could here in El Paso. We just got tapped out, basically. We had people in town that were telling us "You guys need to take this somewhere else, you guys are ready to go to the next level," and at the time, myself and the other three guys, we were kind of like, "Well, do we go to New York, do we do LA, what do we do?" (We) just kind of put our pennies together, just kind of tossed a coin on it. I know, myself and the guitar player, we were wanting to go to New York, the other two guys were kind of stuck on LA. After the coin toss, basically, we took off to LA. As soon as we got out there, we started doing the rounds. We started doing Troubador, we started doing the Roxy, and Gazzaries, and just did that whole round. Did it for a few good months, actually. After that, we took off on a west coast tour. We picked up a record deal through a small independent record label, and they basically did all that they could do for us, in terms of tour support and everything else, and it was a great experience. After we had tapped out the west coast, that's when we actually embarked on doing a national tour. You know, basically, did the United States at least six times over, and that was a great experience. And it was probably the most serious thing that I've ever done, as far as a band, and after my experience with that particular band, I just kind of got involved in doing session work and studio work, both in LA and New York. I basically kind of found myself tapping out LA. I just kind of ended up branching out to New York. (I) just settled out in New York, just networking and people, other musicians, other artists, that kind of thing. I just kind of got involved with that whole thing on a more professional, more extreme level, and did that for the longest time. I kind of wanted to come back home and just settle down a little bit and relax and, like I said, as far as getting involved with a band, I've been very selective, if you will. Again, not anything personal towards any of the other bands, or any of the other guys that have made offers; it's just I was looking for something else. Something more on the extreme, as far as professionalism, as far as a band that has direction, as far as a band that knows where they're going, you know, and what they want to do, and I definitely found that by way of the Cantina Flys. I had seen them before. Mark, who was the drummer in the band, a real good friend of mine... In fact, we both went to high school together, we were both in marching band. We go back a good long ways, and I love the guy to death, and, you know, coming into this, and filling his shoes for him, it's a cool thing. For me, it's a privilege, it's an honor to jam with these guys, the Cantina Flys, and I'm just glad that the chemistry's there, basically.

(At this point, we had to stop, since the next band was starting their set)

EPMS: Thanks a lot.

Eric Martell: Sure.