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Levi Platero drops INTO Gallup for a show

Local Dineh Blues musician, Levi Platero, made a concert stop to promote his latest blues album “Take Me Back,” at the Gallup Downtown Events Center July 22.

A local favorite, Platero plays lead guitar and his niche is the Blues.

Platero got bit by the blues bug at an early age, noting his father as a big influence.

Since then, Platero along with his siblings formed a band, and later Platero ventured out on his own making a name for himself. The Gallup Sun caught up with Platero before he headed out on stage.

Walking into the conference center, Platero, along with his band were busy conducting sound checks. I spotted him, and let him know that I was here for an interview.

Being this was my first time meeting him I was excited, having caught some of his performances on YouTube.  I was eager to find out why he chose the Blues and all that it entailed. We stepped outside the venue for little less distraction.

Sun: You’ve performed here at the Gallup Downtown Conference Center, right?

Platero: Yeah, I’ve been here about three or four times now. I’m here on a small tour with a CD release party for my new album called, “Take Me Back.” It has about five songs on it and it’s a EP. We’re kind of on a little tour headed out to California.

Sun: Where did you guys start out at?

Platero: We started out in Oklahoma and then we headed out to St. Louis, from there to Columbus, Ohio, and then New Jersey, New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and then came back (laughing) out here to the west. We have tonight here and then California. It’s kind of a busy run.

Sun: Wow that’s crazy, what’s your tour called?

Platero: I don’t have a tour name (laughing) cuz then I’ll have a lot of names and I wouldn’t know what to call them (laughing). I would run out of names by tour three (laughing).

At this point people start to show up for the concert and are watching me do the interview and taking pictures of us. Platero seemed nonchalant. I on the other hand was getting nervous, but continued with the interview.

Sun: When did you start on this tour?

Platero: I started out on July 10, so it’s been recent. So, I’ve been kind of keeping it going, and oh yeah … I’ll end it out on July 27th.

Sun: So, you like touring Gallup?

Platero: Oh yeah, it’s like family here?

Sun: You’re Native right…what kind? I mean tribe (laughing).

Platero: (Laughing) What kind … I’m the red kind (both laughing), I’m a Navajo, Dineh. I’m from Tohajiilee, about 35 miles west of Albuquerque.

Sun: How many albums have you guys put out so far?

Platero: We got out two right now, I’ve got “Hang On” and this EP that’s coming out. I’m working on a whole new album that’s ready to go, just trying to pick a release date.

Sun: Now going back you were touring with your family, first, right?

Platero: Oh yeah, I took a little break to just finish the album and kind of do my own thing for a while you know. Get a little more established, and I’m going back on tour with them in September with Indigenous. That should be really cool. I’m excited about that.

Sun: Any other top musicians you played with?

Platero: I played with Los Lonely Boys, there’s quite a couple … ahh Los Lobos … War; I got the opportunity to open for Johnny Lang. I shared the stage with a lot of them the names are up there (laughing).

Sun: That’s all cool, so who are your influences?

Platero: My main influence is probably Stevie Ray Vaughn. Stevie is a big part of my influence. The raw motion on how he played the guitar, that’s what I take from him. I like his style, he’s cool. I would have love to play with him or Hendrix, Hendrix is a cool inspiration too.

Sun: How’d you get into it?

Platero: My dad really brought home a cheap pawn shop guitar for me one summer, and I learned how to play a Stevie Ray Vaughn song. That’s all I did the whole summer.

Sun: How old were you then?

Platero: I was about 9-years-old, and I didn’t have a lot of friends … like I lived on the reservation, but I went to public schools in Albuquerque. I had friends in Albuquerque, but none on the rez … just my guitar. Every time I came home that’s all I practiced on. I really never bothered with homework (laughs).

Sun: So, this does pretty well for you then?

Platero: This is my full-time job; it’s taking care of me. I’ve been doing this since I was 12 … touring and doing shows, and now I’m 25.

Sun: How many guys you have in your band?

Platero: Well, tonight it’s a trio, I want to keep it small.

Sun: You write most of your stuff?

Platero: Yeah, I try to write most of my stuff, but sometimes I throw in covers. But the release is all of mine.

Sun: You hoping to get on a major label?

Platero: I would love to get on a major label, still working on it. Other than that (I) just keep playing. I have Knifewing Segura who books some of my shows, and sometimes I go out and do it.

Sun: Well, cool is there anything else you want to add or maybe something that we don’t know about you, like what you do in your spare time?

Platero: I love to skate, I love to read my bible,  and I like to play video games …y eah video games. I usually like to when I’m not on the road …. write music and reading the bible. It keeps me sane (laughing). God has been a major part of my life. He’s the reason why I’m living today. There was time in my life where things weren’t rays of sunshine. God is a big reason why I’m doing what I’m doing. My songs are based of some of my experiences like, drugs, relationships, … pure life you know. A lot of it can go either way like secular to gospel, I like talking about the real anything that can relate to life’s experiences. I’m just telling a story and just hoping people will listen.

Sun: Cool, well I really appreciate you taking the time out for this, how can people get a hold of you?

Platero: Oh, you’re welcome. People, they can find me on facebook, or my website www.leviplatero.com, and find me on Instagram, Snapchat.

By Dee Velasco
For the Sun