Texas Tornados was a Tejano band and its music was a fusion of rock, country and various Mexican styles. The initial combination of these musicians happened almost by chance at a concert performance of a mutual acquaintance. After Freddy Fender, Flaco Jiménez, Kevin West, Augie Meyers, Jorge “Pac-MAN” Diaz, and Doug Sahm performed in front of a San Francisco audience, they all knew the genuine bond they felt in their music could probably be taken to another level. After they initially performed as the Tex-Mex Revue, they took the title Texas Tornados, after Sahm’s song and album of that name.
Another account of the group’s birth says they formed when record company executives looking to cash in on regional music sales approached Sahm and Meyers around 1990, and they brought in longtime friends and collaborators Fender and Jiménez. Sahm had released albums under the name Texas Tornados as early as the 1970s, some featuring Fender or Meyers. Jiménez and Meyers played on Sahm’s Atlantic Records debut in 1971. As Fender once said “You’ve heard of New Kids on the Block?, we’re the Old Guys in the Street”.
Individually, this quartet has had major success. San Benito-native Freddy Fender was a cross-over success story around the world with hits like “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” and “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights“.
Flaco Jiménez has played with acts ranging from the Rolling Stones to Dwight Yoakam. He also is known as the “Father of Conjunto Music” (Flaco plays the Conjunto accordion).
Augie Meyers has shared the stage with the likes of The Allman Brothers Band and Bob Dylan. He’s also a member of the Texas Music Hall of Fame. Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers were both members of the 1960s pop-rock band the Sir Douglas Quintet, with hits such as “She’s About a Mover” and “Mendocino” to their credit. Sahm, Meyers and Jiménez are from the San Antonio area.
The band’s 1990 debut was recorded in both English and Spanish versions. The Texas Tornados were asked to perform all over the world at places like the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, as well as regular appearances at Farm Aid and the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show.
Among their other albums is Live From The Limo, this was the last album to be recorded that featured the complete lineup, as Sahm died in 1999, the year of its release. Fender, who had health problems in later years, died in 2006. Their 2005 Live from Austin album was a recording of a 1990 performance on the TV series Austin City Limits.
People sometimes refer to their lyrics as Spanglish because of the mixture of English and Spanish in the same song, in addition to pronouncing the Spanish lyrics in an American accent, which is evident in their hit, “(Hey Baby) Que Paso”. An example is the lyric: “Don’t you know I love you / and my corazón is real?“, where the word corazón (Spanish for “heart”) is improperly pronounced /ˌkɔrəˈsoʊn/, with an obvious American accent, instead of [koɾaˈson]. The band’s self-titled debut album was offered in Spanish and English-language versions.