Francisco The Man
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Francisco The Man

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"Ears Wide Open: Francisco The Man"

Not even two years old, SoCal collective Francisco the Man has set out for the general sonic space occupied by fellow Orange Countians Limbeck. Singer-guitarist Scotty Cantino’s orchestrated, twang’d-up take on surfside pop hits me somewhere between Wilco and the Pernice Brothers, maybe in a Band of Horses register and probably more youthfully optimistic. Harmonies and keys from bandmate Joel Bond make listening to Francisco the Man wrestling with its burdens very unburdening indeed. - Kevin Bronson of LA Buzz Bands / LA Times


"Timeless Pop Sensibility"

As a band, Francisco the Man has been together for less than a year, playing its first shows in February, but the group's music has a timeless pop sensibility with its dreamy pop sound-scapes peppered with folk and country influences.

It fits, since the name comes from the character in "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez, the 200-year-old troubadour who meanders through the book, singing songs and telling the news.

Members Cantino, Romero and Ortega have known each other since they were about 15 years old and were part of the band Hotel Underground. When that fizzled, they met up with Bond and started recording their self-titled EP in a church last November.

The members gathered up their recording gear, put it together, borrowed a few other pieces and set off.

"We're pretty big on doing everything ourselves," Cantino said.

He said the wood beams in the ceiling of the church gave the EP its full sound, complete with the natural reverb.

"It sounds live," Cantino said.

Usually band members bring in ideas for a full song or for a verse or chorus and the whole band jams it out.

"Whatever gets brought to practice comes out totally different," Cantino said. "Most started out as acoustic folk songs."

The band is planning to record another EP soon. - The Press Enterprise


"The Garden Party"

Lead singer Scotty Cantino writes deceptively simple tales of love, faith and drifting under diamond skies. The band dresses these tunes up in gorgeous harmonies that you could cut with a knife and a backbeat as steady as the freight trains that roll through the Inland Empire. - LA City Zine


"Get to know: Francisco The Man"

Every once in a while you’ll stumble across a small band that’s just getting started and you feel like you’ve struck gold because of how good they are and all the bragging rights that will soon come when they break through and you can say “I knew them when”, Francisco the Man! is that band.

Out of Orange County with members that barely earned the right to drink legally, this four piece studied at the church of Neil Young and Wilco and lead singer/guitarist Scotty Cantino’s vocals eerily recall Jim James while Joel Bond’s (guitar, keys) occasional lead and backing vocals harmonize with Cantino perfectly. The group is rounded out by Nestor Romero on bass and Abdeel Ortega on drums.


The Schmarm: How and when did the band come together?

Cantino: Me, Nestor & Abdeel met in high school. Nestor has been in every band I’ve ever been a part of. We were in a band called Culver that eventually broke up. After that we wanted to start playing music again so we started another band with Abdeel called Hotel Underground which ended as well. After that I started jamming with joel, who I’ve known since high school too and it wasn’t long before we all came together. We started recording our EP last November (2006) and didn’t start playing shows will it was released in February (2007).

The Schmarm: What are the names and ages of all the members of Francisco The Man?

Cantino: Joel Bond - 21 / Abdeel Ortega - 21 / Nestor Romero - 23 / Scotty Cantino - 21

The Schmarm: You’ve released one four song EP earlier this year, what was the process like of recording and releasing that on your own?

Cantino: It was a lot of fun. It was also a lot of work. Joel and Abdeel pretty much took care of the recording side of things… and me and nestor just played. We had our friend Taylor Balty design the art for us and I found somebody to press it for really cheap. Aside from the CD replication all the EP’s are made by hand… down to cutting the inserts, packagin and using a type writer to write the track listings. It was really a blessing to get to put something out with this group of guys. I can’t wait to do it again.

The Schmarm: This summer, your band was involved in a auto-accident while on tour, tell us about that wreck and how it has affected your group?

Cantino: I could try and explain exactly how horrible the wreck was but i think everyone there would agree that it can not be explained in words. in short: we rolled a 15 passanger van 3 times while driving 60-70mph up interstate 5 at 4am. there was 8 of us total and only the driver was wearing a seatbelt. everyone walked out alive (including all our gear) and we would have finished the tour if we had the means to get to the shows… but we didn’t. Us and Jeprocket have become brothers.



The Schmarm: What is in the plans for you guys next? Are you working on any new recordings?

Cantino: Well, we started tracking songs for another E.P. and all of us were really excited about the songs and putting out some new music. Then, after getting deeper into it, we’ve decided to focus more on writing even more material and tweaking the songs we haven’t put out yet. I think it will turn out a lot better this way. There isn’t a point to put the same record out twice.

The Schmarm: What is some music you have been listening to that you’d like to recommend?

Cantino: Jeprocket - Beyond Further Flavors
The Parson Red Heads - King Giraffe
Vespers - Demos
The Living Suns - Self Titled LP

Visit the band online: www.myspace.com/franciscothemanmusic - Indie Schmarm


"Francisco The Man @ The Silverlake Lounge"

Francisco The Man! played before The Weather Underground and they always put on a good show. I can never pin-point what they sound like, which is a good thing for them. I feel like I want to say Ryan Adams sometimes, then other times I want to say a country-esk Sunny Day Real Estate, then I think to myself that that’s not right either and to just enjoy the music. Francisco did nothing short but deliver at the Silverlake Lounge the same night as The Weather Underground played. They were just as tight as usual and rocked as I’d hoped. These guys are also great musicians and are confident in what they are doing, which is something I don’t see as much these days. - Indie Schmarm


"A Cold Bow and Arrow"

Could be coincidence that we re-entered standard time just as Francisco the Man and Matt McCluer’s the Sweet Sweet Things began their November co-residency at Detroit Bar, but I’d like to think we fell back precisely for bands like these—an extra hour of darkness only sweetens the rock ‘n’ roll bargain, especially if it means showing up early for discounts on your whiskey. And if the inclusion of some twang and a honeyed organ track dripping in the background are all it takes for you to bust out the boots and flannel, Francisco the Man—Joel Bond, Scotty Cantino, Jessica Isaac, Abdeel Ortega, Nestor Romero—are your fall weather friends.

Who or what―musicians or otherwise―inspires you? Joel: Yes. Nestor: James Jamerson, Marcus Shelby, Jorge Luis Borges. Abdeel: Elvin Jones. Also Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home. Scotty: Leonard Cohen lyrics, early Neil Young bootlegs, a new instrument.

When do you feel most creative? N: After listening to a good record, obviously, or reading others’ ideas and/or different ways of approaching creative ambitions. S: After seeing Broken Social Scene & Wilco from 10 feet away in Golden Gate Park.

What is your biggest fear as a musician? A: Backtracking. JB: Going Deaf. A: Yeah, going deaf, too. N: Being a traditionalist musician. S: Becoming worse as a songwriter as I get older―instead of better.

What is your biggest fear as a human? N: Self-seclusion S: Living a discontented life.

Who is your favorite songwriter? Jessica Isaac: Leonard Cohen. N: Norman Whitfield. He is not my favorite, but I admire him greatly for what Motown did with soul and R&B music. S: Too many to choose from―Neil Young, John Lennon and Paul Simon.

What is the quality you most admire in a band? A: When a band is not afraid to go outside their normal writing habits to create something new―without changing the type of band they are. S: The ability to incorporate creativity within solid song writing.

What is your favorite way to relax? JI: A bubble bath and some Kenny G. N: Listening to music. A: Watching Soccer.

What album will you never tire of? JB: Emperor Tomato Ketchup by Stereolab. JI: A Ghost is Born by Wilco. N: Now the Day is Over by the Innocence Mission. A: A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. S: OK Computer by Radiohead.

What album would you hope your children someday love? JI: Hulk Rules. N: London Calling. S: Pet Sounds.

What do you hope to be doing in five years? JI: The opposite of what I’m currently doing. N: Having traveled to many parts of the world, doing something I enjoy much. S: Putting out records. Touring.

What do you feel defines your band? JB: Vocal excellence. N: Raunchiness. A: Raw S: Rarrrrrw.

How do you define happiness? JI: A cold bow and arrow. S: An Elliot Smith song.

What is your favorite chord? JB: G Major. JI: A Minor. N: D Major. A: E Major. S: A Major.

What qualities do you look for from your audience? JI: Bodies. N: The dancing kind. A: We don’t have an audience.

What is your favorite book? JI: I don’t think I’ve read it yet. N: Ficciones. S: It’s a tie between Farenheit 451 & Cat’s Cradle.

What is your favorite movie? A: Goal II. S: The Princess Bride.

Who are your favorite historical figures? S: C.S. Lewis, the Writer Brothers, the Apostle Paul and Grandpa John.

Who are your least favorite historical figures? N: Juan Perón and Che Guevara of Argentina! S: Hitler?

What natural power would you most like to have? N: Memorization of books. A: Photographic memory. S: Perfect pitch.

What super power would you most like to have? A: Flying. S: X-Ray vision―wait, no. Definitely flying. N: I would have to say flying as well.

What is it you most dislike? N: Nagging, traffic, relationships that feel as though one has another girlfriend. A: Whining. S: Bad tippers, headaches.

What is your greatest indulgence? N: PAYDAYS! S: Seinfeld, Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks DVDs.

What words do you live by? N: Know this, my beloved brothers: Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. S: Measure twice, cut once.

What is your favorite song lyric? N: The hillsides ring with/’Free the people’/Or can I hear the echo from the days of ‘39?/With trenches full of poets/The ragged army, fixin’ bayonets/to fight the other line. S: I like songs about drifters/books about the same/they both seem to make me feel a little less insane.

FRANCISCO THE MAN! WITH CO-RESIDENTS THE SWEET SWEET THINGS AND THE HENRY CLAY PEOPLE DETROIT BAR 843 W 19TH ST | COSTA MESA 92627 | DETROITBAR.COM | MON 9PM | FREE | 21+ | MYSPACE.COM/FRANCISCOTHEMANMUSIC - The District - Ellen Griley


"Orange Pop: Francisco The Man Rocks Detroit"

Francisco the Man's mantra? The more the merrier.
The band is keen on inviting others to join in on the fun. Although they regularly play as a quartet – vocalist and guitarist Scotty Cantino, bassist Nestor Romero, drummer Abdeel Ortega and guitarist Joel Bond – the group often has various other musicians help out on stage or while recording, including Dustin Lovelis on guitars and Jessica Isaac on keyboards and guitar.
"It becomes really eclectic as the number of musicians grows," Cantino says, "and it creates this different type of sound than just the four of us create."
At its core the band is focused on creating a rich folk-rock sound that draws from its influences like the Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Wilco, but lyrical content is equally important. As main lyricist, Cantino says his words are honest and drawn from true-life stories and everyday situations.
Since the band views itself more as storytellers, the bassist came up with a fitting name after reading Gabriel García Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
"The character, Francisco, was a traveling musician who goes from town to town singing songs and telling stories," Cantino points out. "It really did seem to fit us since that's exactly what we're doing – going from place to place just telling our stories."
With members residing in Fullerton, Corona, Riverside and Long Beach, it can often be difficult to get together for practice. But the group is dedicated, making time to record a self-titled EP now available on iTunes. (It also can be requested via the band's MySpace page (myspace.com/franciscothemanmusic). They record gorilla-style, laying down tracks in garages, friend's rooms – even in a church in Corona.
Hard work paid off for the band when Indie 103.1 FM began to play a couple tracks off the EP. "It's not our goal to be on the radio," Cantino says, "but it's a nice pat on the back when someone plays it." The group is currently recording new songs, possibly for another full length or to do a couple of split EPs with other local bands.
Francisco the Man also has made the rounds locally, gigging at venues like The Alley and Plush Café in Fullerton and La Cave in Costa Mesa. Steady gigs and an ever-growing fan base have now afforded the band the opportunity to do a Monday night residency at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa this month.
Cantino says each set there will be significantly different, in the hopes of drawing out more people each week and making new fans. On top of playing its own material, the band plans on peppering in some covers, such as "Strangers" by the Kinks and possibly a few Tom Waits tunes.
"Some nights we'll pull out some older songs that we don't play as much anymore and we'll also do alternative versions of some of our songs," he says. "Sometimes we end up writing and doing two or three versions of the same song and they all sound totally different."
Contact the writer: 714-796-3570 or kfadroski@ocregister.com - OC Register


"Point Taken"

Having been deemed worthy by Orange County’s tastemaking Detroit Bar, Francisco the Man! nabbed the super-coveted Monday night residency for the month of November. With enthusiasm and gusto enough to include an exclamation point as a formal part of the band’s name, it’s nearly a given that you, too, will be just as excited about the group’s mix of eclectic sounds and earthy melodies. Paired with The Sweet Sweet Things, a mod-y, fuzzy pop band from Costa Mesa, this weekly get-down is a sheer cover for a feel-good blowout of sunny rock, be it folk-twinged or ‘60s-stung. - OC Weekly


Discography

"Francisco The Man" - EP

"Lord Knows I'm Weak" - Single
"The Organ Song" - Single

Photos

Bio

Every once in a while you’ll stumble across a small band that’s just getting started and you feel like you’ve struck gold because of how good they are and all the bragging rights that will soon come when they break through and you can say “I knew them when”, Francisco the Man! is that band.

Out of Orange County with members that barely earned the right to drink legally, this four piece studied at the church of Neil Young and Wilco and lead singer/guitarist Scotty Cantino’s vocals eerily recall Jim James while Joel Bond’s (guitar, keys) occasional lead and backing vocals harmonize with Cantino perfectly. The group is rounded out by Nestor Romero on bass and Abdeel Ortega on drums - Indie Schmarm.