Rockabilly on the Route Interview 1: Ungelbah Davila!

Posted by bunny On April - 3 - 20133,174 views

“Rockabilly on the the Route” is a festival presented by La Loca Magazine and Vive Le Rock Productions. The festival will also include Burlesque performances by Albuquerque’s Gilded Cage Burlesk & Variete, a pin-up girl contest for Miss Rockin’ Route 66 2013. The first year line-up includes headliners Wanda Jackson and the Chop Tops. With support by Danger*Cakes, the Shadowmen,the F-Bombs, and Mr. Right and the Leftovers. This is the first in a series of interviews high lighting the fest. Today we’re sitting down with co-founder Ungelbah Davila, aka La Loca Linda !

rockabillyontherouteposter!

Your website states that you “draws inspiration from her own multiculturalism” as well as “classic Americana.” Give some detail on that and how it relates back to the scene?

I am Navajo and Scotch-Irish through my mother and Spanish through my father. I grew up in a somewhat archaic setting on a ranch in rural New Mexico, in a cabin built by my off-the-grid parents that had no electricity or phone. My father loved collecting antiques and our house was decorated with them, inside and out. Our “lawn ornaments” consisted of two old rusted out Model-Ts in the pasture. I also spent every day with my grandmother down the road until the age of 11. Since we were so out in the boonies most of the TV shows my grandparents could get were things like “I Love Lucy,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” So I guess all that laid a foundation for my interest in yesteryear.

You have a magazine coming out soon. Care to plug that?

routelinda2

I started La Loca Magazine three years ago and have been building it up as a free online publication dealing with New Mexico rockabilly and vintage lifestyle, as well as New Mexico culture and counter culture in general. Last year Simon Cantlon of Vive le Rock Productions approached us about collaborating on the Rockabilly on the Route weekender and we jumped on board. I had been looking into taking the magazine to print and thought this would be a good opportunity, so in June La Loca is going to double as the magazine and the event program for ROR and we are going to give out a free copy yo everyone who buys a weekend pass. La Loca Magazine and Vive le Rock are producing Rockabilly on the Route.

Also, what is “pinup-ology?”
routepreggo

Pinup-ology is the science of pinup. You can’t have a rockabilly magazine without pinup girls, so when I started La Loca I, by default, started a second career as a pinup photographer. I have a BFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, but my second love has always been photography, so this was a natural match. My partners in crime on this are Carrie Tafoya and Abigail Ortiz and it’s developed into a little bit of a pinup collective. We do some classic pinup work but we also do post-pinup work, in which we play off themes using elaborate costuming and sets. For example, Carrie recently welded a metal corset which she wore in an Archangel Michael themed shoot for the January issue. Pinup-ology will be sponsoring the Miss Rockabilly Route 66 pinup contest at ROR.

Also, we’re hearing a lot of great things about the “Rockabilly on the Route” festival. Your first year line-up is looking really strong. Please tell all about that?

wandaroute

We are hoping to utilize Rockabilly on the Route as a way to revitalize the city of Tucumcari, NM, which is possibly one of New Mexico’s best kept secrets. It has a rich history stretching back to the days of the Wild West when it was known as known as “Six-Shooter Siding,” up to the heyday of Route 66 in the mid-century. Where so much of the history of Route 66 has been lost across the country, in Tucumcari it is still alive, as seen in its collection of priceless classic neon motels, giving visitors a taste of what it must have been like to travel the route all those years ago . This is what we are hoping to celebrate in Rockabilly on the Route and why we chose to do it in Tucumcari rather than a bigger city, like Albuquerque.

New Mexico is such a unique state and has a diverse pallet that you can’t find anywhere else in the country, which translates over to the Rockabilly scene, as well. It’s what makes our “scene” unique to, say, Southern California, Arizona, or Nevada. Shoot, New Mexicans have been driving old cars, putting grease in their hair and cuffing their jeans for generations. Our sense of history here is extremely strong, as is our pride — pride of ancestry and pride of place. All of these elements make New Mexico, and Tucumcari, well suited for a large-scale rockabilly weekender. We are blessed to have secured the lineup that we have and are just hoping to come out of the gate strong and blow people’s minds. Put Tucumcari and New Mexico on the map.

This is for charity, please explain that side of things?

Part of the proceeds from the weekender are going to fund the creation of the New Mexico Route 66 Museum, which is aimed at paying homage and perserving the history of Route 66 in New Mexico. Our modern society has become obsessed with upgrading, out with the old, in with the new, and I think the danger in that is loosing our sense of heritage and historical treasures. The 1950s are so relatively recent that many do not consider the era historical or worthy of preserving yet. However, us and many like-minded people do realize the necessity to preserve this part of our American history before it is lost forever. Across the country, relics from the ’40s and ’50s are being replaced by strip malls and corporate business chains. That is why it is so crucial that places such as Tucumcari are able to have the means to preserve their history before it’s too late.

If the first year is a success, will you be doing a second year?

Absolutely. This is a fantastic opportunity for New Mexico and Tucumcari to capitalize on this niche demographic that is actually quite large and international, using what is already there in front of it. We are known for our art, our sunsets, our national parks and hot air balloons, it’s about time we are known for our section of the Mother Road and all the extraordinary Americana that is still thriving here, waiting to be revived once more.

Anything in closing?

Thank you!

You are very welcome!

You can learn more about Rockabilly on the Route at their facebook group.

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