Tino Gonzales is not your ordinary, run of the mill, 'hum drum' blues guy. No. He occupies a league of his own and he is a force to be reckoned with. His music cuts across not just one but many traditional boundaries and combines Blues, Jazz, Funk and Latin influences into a fiery blend all of his own. He plays and sings with a rare passion that has earned him the reputation of burning up the stage wherever he goes.
Gonzales doesn't like being labeled and throughout his career he has broken out of the conventional mold to suit his own path. "I'm a maverick in this business" he says if himself, "I have always done things my own way". He has turned down many record deals and career opportunities in the past because of their restrictive nature. "I don't want to be burned out by the time I am 50", he says, "there is more to life than being carted around from one city to the next, playing in smoke-filled bars night after night. As an independent I can choose where and when I want to play and don't have no obligations to no-one". And as for making records, "I can do it myself". He currently has 6 CDs out to prove his point. Recently the French Blues label Dixiefrog has released a couple of his earlier recordings, and has just released a new CD, "Modern Day Hobo", recorded entirely in Europe.
His independant way of thinking permeates Gonzales' whole life-style. He has never been one to settle down and get too comfortable for too long in any one place. At the spur of the moment he may decide to pick up and go to explore the stages of another city, state or even country. His wanderlust has taken him from his boyhood home in Chicago all across the US, Canada and Europe and wherever he goes he is confident that with his guitar in hand he can soon draw a crowd and spice up the local music scene. "I have done it all my life" he says, "my stage is just getting bigger".
He has earned the admiration and respect from his fans and peers alike : B.B. King calls him "a Latin Gem" and Carlos Santana ranks him among his favorite guitar players. Gonzales has played with many great musicians throughout his musical career, among them Ben E, King, Willie Nelson, Etta James, Earth Wind and Fire, Electric Flag, Dan Fogelberg, Peter Cetera, Robert Cray and Charlie Musslewhite, yet his independent spirit has always urged him on to explore the road off the beaten track. So where is he off to next ? "New Zealand sounds like a nice place..."