Thee Midniters

Thee Midniters

Thee Midniters were an American group, amongst the first Chicano rock bands to have a major hit in the United States. Also they were and one of the best known acts to come out of East Los Angeles in the 1960s, with a cover of "Land of a Thousand Dances", and the instrumental track, "Whittier Boulevard" in 1965. They were amongst the first rock acts to openly sing about Chicano themes in songs such as "Chicano Power" and "The Ballad of César Chávez" in the late 1960s.

The band was promoted by Dick "Huggy Boy" Hugg on local radio station KTYM, Inglewood and by his fill-in Godfrey [Godfrey Kerr]. Huggy Boy was later the most popular DJ on KRLA.


  • Achievements 1
  • Band members 2
  • The name 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Thee Midniters are the only 1960s band from East Los Angeles that released a greatest hits album. The band was one of the first to integrate horns,unusual combination of trombone and sax, congas, keyboards and electric guitars to produce a sound somewhat on the order of Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears, albeit a few years before those bands were "big". Most band members attended Salesian High School, off the corner of Whittier Blvd. and Soto St. during their times with the exception of drummer(first album only) George Salazar who attended Garfield High School, drummer Danny LaMont(all subsequent recordings) Montebello High School, Larry Rendon(sax) Cantwell High School.

Highly professional and musically sophisticated compared to the surf bands of the day (they were largely school-trained), Willie Garcia and Thee Midniters were regarded in the East LA of the 1960s as The Beatles on a smaller scale, though they sounded (and still sound) more like a big, soul-gospel review group with a hefty dose of salsa.

A well-known disc jockey, Casey Kasem, said, "They were the best band I ever hired". Kasem filled a regular slot on KRLA AM top forty radio in the 1960s and promoted concerts and dances at the time[1]

Thee Midniters continue to be impressive with a combination of original and new members and will appear in Raven Productions' PBS pledge break special "Trini Lopez presents the Legends of Latin Rock," along with El Chicano, Tierra and Gregg Rolie (of Santana and Journey fame) in the spring of 2009.

Band members

Thee Midniters were an East LA band. Willie Garcia, a.k.a. "Little Willie G.", was the lead singer. "Willie G. was one of the most soulful Latin persons I ever heard," said the singer

  • "Green Man Review". 
  • "Mark Guerrero's latin legends website". 
  • "Thee Midniters Website". 
  • "Ponderosa Stomp Day One: The Trashmen, Thee Midniters, more in New Orleans". Sound Spike. 

External links

  1. ^ a b c Reyes, David and Tom Waldman (1998). Land of a Thousand Dances. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 85 & 86. 


See also

Thee Midniters adopted the unusual "Thee" to avoid the possibility of a legal challenge from the established R&B group of a somewhat earlier era, Hank Ballard's "The Midnighters".[1]

The name

Trombonist Romeo Prado was the band's music arranger and was a huge influence in the overall sound of Thee Midniters. Also guitarist Paul Saenz was one of the members that played with Thee Midniters, in the late 1960s, after which he went on to perform with singer Etta James. Thee Midniters have continued to play through the decades under the leadership and management of bassist Jimmy Espinoza and saxophonist Larry Rendon, the two original players remaining in the line-up from the original 1960s group. Since 2006, they have featured Greg Esparza as lead vocalist along with longtime Midniter mainstays through the years such as Bob Robles on lead guitar, Aaron Ballesteros playing drums, Bobby Navarrette on sax, Bobby Loya and Sam Trujillo on trumpet and Bob Luna playing keyboard. Among the group's other songs to either achieve national or regional success are "Whittier Boulevard", "Love Special Delivery" and "That's All". Eddie Torrez was their manager for many years.