You just might wonder if some late model Fender guitar is named after him called The “Tee Blue” or, if the “T” stands for tornado. It actually stands for Tirado, his Navaho/Spanish name.
As for his music career and how it all began for him? Tee said, “In 1975 may dad bought me a Sears Silvertone guitar. The case was an actual amp. The natural distortion was excellent and I got the fever.” It seems that he found his niche early.
Tee was born in the Bronx, N.Y. and spent his early years there with his parents who had immigrated from Puerto Rico. In the early days the neighborhoods in the Bronx had block parties in the streets that were sponsored by Coca-Cola, Pepsi-cola, and/or beer companies. He got to see Carlos Santana, B.B. King and Buddy Guy among others for no admission fee. These artists were apparently considered to be underground, unlike some of the Motown artists like Marvin Gaye and The Temptations who were considered to be uptown. He says, “Those uptown artists commanded top dollar but my father did take me to a lot of those concerts and at early age of 12 years old I saw James Brown and his 12 piece band, horns and all. Wow.”
Some of his early influences included and perhaps the most understandable and universal responses for the time was, “Watching The Beatles and the Rolling Stones on television, Then I started all that good stuff in the late 1970’s. I had good luck with Jon Butcher and The Axis.” He got to play bass for him in Boston, Mass. after having moved from the Bronx to Boston. That lasted for about a year . Then came opening for the J. Geils Band in Foxborough, Mass. for a crowd of 44,000 when he was 27 years old. He says he’ll never forget the sound of the crowd after each song. “It sounded like a tidal wave of screams; like this roaring echo rushing towards the stage”.
And on mixing genres he’s candid about his style on doing it and he describes it as crossing borders as you get older; (think Eric Clapton’s version of I Shot The Sheriff with it’s Kingston, Jamaica sound, saying that he has adequately “Reggigified” the song Tequila although he doesn’t always play it that way. His reggae version can make one wonder if Pee Wee Herman a.k.a. Paul Reubens would contemplate dreadlocks if he heard the rendition.
When Tee plays a Blues or a Reggae club he finds himself crossing genres. He says that European tourists in particular want to hear music from 40 years ago. He continually gets requests for Eric Burdon and The Animals, Jimi Hendrix, and Carlos Santana. He says he doesn’t mind playing these at all but that once in awhile it can be a challenge to remember all of the lyrics and while he loves the classics of the rock and roll era he also really enjoys incorporating World Beat Rhythm.
So what’s in the name Tee Blue? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” If you watch the live performance of long time Tampa Bay area guitarist Tee Blue at Janus Live in1993 you just may say, “Sweet!”. See my more popular video’s on YouTube right here