The Cruz Brothers
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The Cruz Brothers

Riverview, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013

Riverview, Florida, United States
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Blues




"Riverview Teens Rock the Stage"

In order to become truly great at something, you must possess the drive, commitment, and energy—a burning desire. Luckily for PJ and Phil Cruz of Riverview, their undeniable passion for music began at such a young age that they’re already making a name for themselves…and they’re only in high school!

Yet the road to becoming musical sensations for PJ (15) and Phil (13) wasn’t always an easy one. In fact, according to their mother Phyllis, the brothers’ first introduction to music was almost disastrous.

“I think the boys were 7 and 8 when we considered some sort of music lessons for them in an effort to discover new interests,” said Phyllis. “We enrolled PJ in guitar lessons and Phil in drum lessons to start. After about a year, we came to the realization that PJ hadn’t yet mastered a song and Phil could hit the drums like rapid fire, but struggled to keep a solid beat.”

However, PJ and Phil’s shared dream—to become rock legends—didn’t die there as their music instructor suggested a “Van Halen Switch” which would allow the boys to trade instruments. According to Phil, learning guitar was almost natural.

“All the while I was playing drums, I dreamed of playing the guitar, so I took up Guitar Hero and became really good,” said Phil. “After some time, I realized I wanted to learn how to play all the songs in the game on actual guitar…By the time I had my first guitar lesson, in 30 minutes, my teacher taught me how to play ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’.”

Phyllis was impressed by the seamless transition: “He gave PJ a free drum lesson and he was hooked! Phil, who had been mastering the game Guitar Hero, quite literally beating all the levels, took to guitar naturally…It was very exciting to see them progress so quickly, when they had found their original instruments such a chore. Now Phil plays like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. PJ plays like Keith Moon, John Bonham, and Taylor Hawkins. It’s like the best concert ever, right here in our garage!”

Since 2009, PJ, a Riverview High School sophomore, and Phil, a freshman, have played in the rock band, Hovermode, along with friends Rachel Simmons (15, vocals) and Taylor Benson (15, keyboard). However, PJ and Phil’s most recent musical venture was forming their own two-man band, The Cruz Brothers.

Because PJ and Phil have become seasoned veterans of their respective instruments, the Cruz Brothers have started to write their own songs inspired by the work of their favorite musicians: Keith Moon (The Who), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), and Slash (Guns N’ Roses). Their favorite covers to play include “Little Wing,” “Good Times, Bad Times,” “Rope,” “Heart Shaped Box,” and “Pride and Joy.”

“We have written about seven songs together, and some are really good,” said PJ. “We plan to record an album soon with our originals and maybe a cover or two. We write mostly alternative with some punk and metal. And sometimes, Phil goes all blues on me!”

Apart from producing their own album and possibly being signed by a major record label in the future, other goals for the Cruz Brothers include performing together at larger venues like the MIDFLORIDA Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds and OzzFest. However, until that time comes, the brothers will continue to play at local clubs. So far the Cruz Brothers have performed at The Orpheum in Ybor City, The Brass Mug in Tampa, and The Brandon Moose Lodge.

Phil and PJ have enjoyed displaying their skills throughout the Tampa area, but their most cherished memories include impressing global audiences through YouTube videos.

“It was really cool to see me on YouTube for the first time,” said Phil. “I was only 8 years old, and I was really stoked when it reached 1,000 views. It was right after my first guitar lesson playing ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane.’ Once in awhile, I like to go back and watch sometimes to see how much I’ve changed…My goal is to entertain people and brighten their day with a wicked guitar solo.”

Although they usually practice their instruments for hours each day, Phil and PJ still make time for studying and other extracurricular activities. In fact, both boys hope to compete with the Riverview High School swim team this fall and Phil looks forward to raising his 3.95 GPA to over 4.00. It takes hard work to balance everything, but it seems like they are doing a great job, and their parents Phyllis and Peter are enjoying every moment of the ride.
“We have so many great memories so far, but we have our favorites for sure,” said Phyllis. “But I have to say the best is their first talent show at their middle school. I had no idea what would happen, but they lit up the stage that night and shined like stars. It was the moment we felt like the boys were so much more than we could’ve dreamed. It definitely changed our lives in so many ways and had their father and me reminding ourselves that they were, in fact, our own children we were watching. We hope they will create so many more wonderful memories in their lifetimes in music and always enjoy what they choose to do. I’ll always be there with my camera in hand.”

It’s apparent great things are on the horizon for PJ and Phil if they continue to stay humble, dream big, and work hard.

“All that really matters to me is making people happy,” said PJ. “I love music and I really like it when I can impress the audience and share my music with them. My long term goal is to just keep doing this as long as I can.”

For more information on The Cruz Brothers or to view their upcoming showlist, visit them on Facebook or Reverbnation. - Focus Magazine

"Festival to rock South Hillsborough with local talent"

“Phil is the guitarist and an young man who oozes music, playing a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar as though the fret board was a playground for his fingers. PJ makes the wall of sound their music requires on the drums.” - The Observer News


“Phil is an amazing guitarist at this age and WOW is all I could say. He will have a long career ahead of him, that's for sure.” - Mayhem Magazine Tampa

"Amazing for their age!"

Phil Cruz, despite his age, has an intensity that can take over a show, and P.J.Cruz wails away on the drums like his role model, former Who drummer, Keith Moon. - Tampa Tribune


Still working on that hot first release.



Originally founded by brothers Phil and PJ Cruz after composing the featured theme for television series Surviving Sam, the now four piece powerhouse simply known as The Cruz Brothers bring a blend of talent and creativity through their music that separates them from other musicians, and engages audiences of every background. Their meticulously crafted music holds its own even when compared to music from others that are twice their age. The Cruz Brothers have a diverse repertoire of original music, that reflects their influences from bands like The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and BB King just to name a few.

     With their clean cut appearance, outstanding professionalism, and their knowledge of music and audiences, this supercharged formula for an awe inspiring, high-energy, and action packed show is complete! Don't let their age deceive you! The Cruz Brothers are old enough to have the right amount of seasoning, yet they are still young enough to rock your face off and leave you begging for more!