Music Interview: Arise, Rockers, Arise

In Conversation With Mike Trujillo And Roman Barham

August March
8 min read
Arise, Rockers, Arise
Mike Trujillo and Roman Barham (Eric Williams Photography)
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This story about Burque’s music scene starts with none other than Gordy Andersen, a man many see as the progenitor of the days back in the day when punk and metal finally rose up here in Dirt City. However one glances at the past—with rose-colored glasses included in the rainbow-hued temporal possibilities—there just wasn’t a postmodern, post-structuralist punk rock scene centered in downtown Albuquerque until after 1979.

Before that, bars in the Heights with names like
Alfalfa’s and Chelsea Street Pub dominated the club scene, presenting either slick cover bands or too-groovy yacht-rock semi-masters and made for the media verisimilitudes of New York-style new wave bands.

Then punk broke in Burque because bands like
Jerry’s Kidz—Gordy played guitar in that seminal outfit—really rocked; their authenticity guaranteed that the scene’s inheritors would become the model for all that has happened since, inadvertently—but some would say gratefully—erasing the suped-up and fancy-pants world that came before.

Mr. Andersen’s name rose up immediately when I slid on down to ARISE Music and Coffee, the new ultra-cool, hyper-local music and coffee hangout on the edge of Downtown, on Second Street behind the Sunshine Theater, for Chrissakes!

Mike Trujillo and Roman Barham, the shop’s proprietors are familiar with Gordy, too. He was part of the joint’s inaugural podcast, plus Roman is the front man in
Black Maria, Andersen’s current sonic ensemble. Barham is also well known, friendly and recognizable, as the longtime welcoming presence at the Launchpad.

Meanwhile, Trujillo has been following the hard rocanrol and sports scene here in
El Duque for at least 30 years. Dude hosted the legendary “Zero Hour Squared” community teevee show in the ’90s and currently talks his talk on 610 AM, the Sports Animal when he isn’t serving the community as one of the founders and the president of the board of directors at the Media Arts Collaborative Charter High School.

I told the two about how one of the other members of Jerry’s Kidz, Kevin Cruickshank, lived in my hood growing up and how I first heard of Gordy when a show by a Doors cover band called Crystal Ship happened at a club near Eldorado High School. The place was called Graham Central Station and
of course Gordy was there.

I mention this because of intersectional commonality. It’s a small town,
carnales, but ARISE seems like the center of it all, music-wise. So, I wanted to hear tell about Andersen’s recent visit, as well as plans for new shows on the horizon for the aforementioned rock colossus, and a community music shop whose folks are in the know about the scene is a refreshing return to familiar cultural practices. After that discourse, we sat down to some mighty fine coffee and talked about music in this town—past and present—and more importantly, how ARISE rose.

Weekly Alibi: Let’s start out with Mike. Mike, what should Alibi readers know about you?

Mike Trujillo: I’ve been involved with the Albuquerque music scene since 1986, when I was in high school. I started “Zero Hour Squared,” a public access teevee show about local music, in 1992. It aired for about 20 years, my last show was in 2012. I interviewed local bands as well as national acts, primarily metal and punk. Everyone from The Eyeliners to Ronnie James Dio, Saxon, Lemmy, and of course, Black Maria. Now I work in radio. It’s called “The Sports Bar” with Michael Carlyle and myself. And of course ARISE, which is a direct extension of the local scene.

Et Tu, Roman?

Roman Barham: I started working within the scene about 2001. I’m from Mountainair originally. It took me a while to move up to Albuquerque after high school; I moved around the state, to Santa Fe, and was in a whole bunch of different bands. I found a home here in Albuquerque, though with The Ground Beneath. That was my first band, Steve Civerolo’s metal band. I played drums in that band for awhile, then played with other bands like Torture Victim and Black Maria. Right now, I am also playing with Red Mesa. I worked at the Zone and did Zone fests for a while, but eventually I got hired at the Launchpad. The rest is history, as they say; I’ve always wanted to be part of the local scene, and to help it thrive.

It’s true, much like Mr. Andersen, you two do have quite a history in the Burque’s rocanrol story. How does ARISE fit into that historical model and how will it fit into the future of Burque, too?

Roman: We want to fill a void in Albuquerque’s music scene. We’ve got this cool space, I know there’s record shops and stuff, but nothing like this Downtown.

Mike: It’s focused on the local scene.

Roman: We really want to encourage folks from the local scene to work together. Not just for one scene, not just the metal scene, not just the hip-hop scene, but all kinds of people working together to create an inclusive, dynamic scene. Our scene.

It seems like sometimes, going from show to show, one sees very distinct, divergent and exclusive—even cliquish—subcultures in action …

Roman: Everyone knows everyone else, though.

Mike: Roman and I were both inspired by the same kind of dream. We share a love for music and that’s something that we want to make a commonality for everyone in the community. We were lucky because we got to manifest our dream. We wanted to start a record store, something tangible, something we could share with others, so that others can see where we came from as a community, where we’re going. We put our heads together and this is what happened. I call this a cell—you mentioned Gordy—in our first podcast he described ARISE as a cell that comes alive, grows and replicates in other places and other minds. We’re happy to be that. This shop, in the short time we’ve been open, has come to encompass and represent local music and artists with merch that you just can’t find anywhere else in Albuquerque.

Roman: We also added the component of coffee. You can take our coffee to go or drink it here, chill out, listen to some great records.

What kind of response have you had from the music community thus far?

Roman: It’s been awesome, check out our selection of local band t-shirts! All sorts of local bands—from 5 Star Motelles to The Talking Hours to Tenderizor —have been bringing in their records and t-shirts. A lot of local bands are learning about other local bands they hadn’t heard about because of our marketing strategy. That’s awesome. We want everyone to know what’s out there. And now because of that, I’m starting to book shows at the Launchpad that are very much mixed-genre.

I noticed that. I was going to ask you about that. I think that’s a great idea. Stuff like that brings the community together, right?

Mike: Yes. That was a philosophy that was more in line with our generation too, the shows at Club Rec, the shows at the Atomic [Theater]. You could see Cracks in the Sidewalk playing with a hardcore SLC outfit like Latter Day Saints. That’s the big component, like Roman says, about this shop. We want to emphasize the diversity of our genres, Albuquerque’s bands. We really want to invite everyone out there to support New Mexican music at ARISE.

As seasoned experts, how is the local scene doing now, generally speaking?

Mike: Being involved since the ’80s, I’ve seen it peak, flounder, stabilize and rise again and again. But through out it all, the one common denominator has been passion. In a town like this, it’s cyclical; it’s a small place and people come and go. Remember, some of the most amazing acts in the world have come from Albuquerque. Right now the scene is very strong. You just gotta take the bull by the horns and go out and see some shows.

Roman: Recently at the shows I’ve been to, there have been a lot more young people, all-ages. It’s really cool and great for the scene. Everything comes full circle.

ARISE Music and Coffee

112 Second Street SW

Open 10am to 3pm Daily

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