Band Bios & Interviews
This weeks featured band is the Latigo Band, which hails from Monument Valley, Utah. The band consist of several talented musicians that go back many, many years. Prior to changing the band name to Latigo, the name of the band was Young Natives, dating back to 2011. The current Latigo band consist of three original members of the Young Natives, Including Kyle Bedoni (Vocals & Guitar), Mario Bennett (Drums) and Cordell Nez (Bass Guitar). Bedoni is the leader of the band. One day he felt that a name change was needed because he didn't think they were young anymore to fit the Young Natives band name. So, he turned to his father Vergil, who manages the band, for help in renaming the band. According to Kyle, his father felt that maybe a western themed type of name would do the trick so he suggested "Latigo." Kyle says, that the name comes from a leather strap that goes on the belly of a horse. At least that was the explanation he got from his dad. That is how the name change was made in 2012.
A fourth member of the original Young Natives, left the band prior to the name change. To fill the slot, Vergil asked his son Kyle, who he thought would be an ideal person to ask to fill in temporarily. That person came to be Tim Holiday, who is the voice of the band (Vocals & Guitar). Holiday was asked to fill in one time, thereafter he was asked to play in more gigs as the lead vocals. The rest is history, as they say. Interestingly, Holiday wanted to play under the name of Young Natives, but to no avail. He has a vast background in native country music, which includes having his own band in the 90's called Southern Strait. He started that band in 1991. Around 1998, Holiday wrote his first and only original song titled, "Let's get it on." He states that, "Many native country bands play that song, and I feel honored to hear them playing it. That tells me that they like it." He also mentioned that Steve Kaiser of Ace's Wild like to sing it too.
As far as original songs go for Latigo, Bedoni states that right now, the band has no original songs. Instead, the play a lot of cover songs. The band has released two CD's thus far, and will be recording a third sometime in December. That definitely something to look forward to.
Bedoni, Bennett and Nez most definitely go waaaaaaaay back, having grown up together and attending Headstart together. "We are like brothers. We have a great relationship." states Bedoni. "As young boys, we use to do a lot of off road riding on Off Road Vehicles, and sometimes we would run out of gas. Then we think about what else we could do. There was really nothing else to do but play some songs. People liked the songs that we played. Sometimes we would play up to 2:00 in the morning. And it just built up from there. And this is where we're at today." explained Bedoni.
Bedoni's first musical instrument was not a guitar, but the Piano. Yes, the Piano. Considering that he in his own right is a great guitar player. He was introduced to the Piano in the 7th grade while attending Kayenta Middle School. "That was the first instrument that I learned." he states. "It just came naturally to me." In 2001, while in high school, he played on a band for the first time. The name of the band was 16 Natives. He was the drummer for the band.
Looking back, Bedoni credits his dad for inspiring him to play. The elder Bedoni, in his hay day was also a guitar player. Around 2001 or so, Vergil bought Kyle his first guitar. It is a reminder of how much support his parents have given him as a musician. As of today, the guitar remains in Kyle's household. Aside from his parents support of his music career, a gentleman by the name of Tom Irwin, also has been an positive influence and inspiration to Bedoni. "I learned a lot from Tom Irwin. He was my music teacher." Stated Bedoni. "He taught me how to play the Saxophone and the drums. He had a lot of confidence in me." Mr. Irwin is currently teaching music at Hopi Junior Senior High School in Keams Canyon, Arizona on the Hopi Indian Reservation.
Aside from his own Latigo band, Bedoni expressed that he also gets inspiration from the Hopi Clansmen, for the fact that the original band also started while still in high school. Inspiration also comes from Fred Thompson of the Ace's Wild Band, because he admires his showmanship. Travis Friday, of Stateline fame is also thrown into the mix. "I enjoy the Stateline album titled "Change". Travis Friday is pretty phenomenal with the guitar." stated Bedoni. When asked, what other native country bands he would like to play with on stage, Bedoni said, "It was the Hopi Clansmen, but we've done that now. The other band would be the Navajo Sundowners. My dad is a big fan of them. He even sponsored a dance and they played for him. During this year's Shiprock Fair, Harold Mariano, the lead singer of the Navajo Sundowners joined us on stage and sang a few songs. That was an awesome experience." stated Bedoni.
Although he enjoys playing on the band, Kyle was faced with making a tough decision that he knew was not in the best interest of the band. Living and working in Phoenix made it hard for him to make Saturday night gigs. It took a toll on his body, with all the traveling back and forth to various gig destinations, not to mention his work schedule. So after consulting with his father, he decided that he needed someone else to fill in for him on gigs that he could not make. Roy Ramone, a highly qualified and experienced guitar player was his pick. He joined the band in 2014 and continues to be a part of the band. Like Tim Holiday, Ramone also has an outstanding musical background, having played on several bands throughout the years, including Ace's Wild and Twenty X Band. Kyle states that the addition of Ramone was a good move and that the band came together pretty good. "The current lineup is good. The presence of Ramone in my absence makes the band more whole."
As far as uniqueness goes for the band, Kyle feels that they are top notch when in sync with each other. The vocals are unique in itself, with the sound system playing a role in putting out a great sound. Kyle also states that Tim and Roy play very well together. "I think we all play well together as a whole. It just takes a positive mind set on stage to perform well. I also feel that we are competitive in that way with other bands." states Bedoni.
Bedoni enjoys playing for a variety of audiences. Getting them out there dancing is the objective, allowing them to have a great time. At every dance event, he makes sure that they play the song titled, "Old Soldiers". That song Bedoni says has a significant meaning to him personally, because it is a Veteran's Dedication Song, honoring those service members who sacrificed their lives for our country, as well as active and non-active service members. The other song that he enjoys playing is "Working Man Blues" by Merle Haggard.
Throughout the years, Latigo has opened up for two national country artists. They had the honor and privilege of taking the stage ahead of Bucky Convington and Marty Stuart. The latter was at the Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, Arizona. They have also taken their show on the road to Sin City,...Las Vegas, Nevada where they played at a Native American Indian Conference at one of the casino & resorts. The band has played a variety of the current modern songs, but they also play a lot of the older songs that people like. " A lot of bands play the same songs that we play. Those are the older songs that people like to dance to, so we continue to play them." Due to the distance between all band members, as far as residences and work is concerned, it is very hard to get in a good practice session. Majority of their practice sessions happens just prior to a dance, during sound check. According to Bedoni, sometimes they can rehearse a song three times during sound check. So overall, there really is no practice time for the band. He also states that band members just practice on their own at home. Talk about discipline. How awesome is that.
Latigo has become very popular within a few short years. Aside from Utah and Arizona, they would like to to expand their services to the state of New Mexico, possibly to venues like the casinos and such. Two other individuals that played on the band as fill ins at one time or another was Harold Russell Jr., who played the drums. He is the son of Harold Russell Sr., band leader of the One Ninety One Band. The other is Steve Reddye, who played the bass guitar.
As far as inspiration from national country music artists, Bedoni says that there really in no one in particular, but he does enjoy the music of a band called Midland. When asked about participating in Battle of the Bands, he says that he has a split opinion about that. "It's a good place to showcase your talent." he states. Now, Music Festivals is a different story. That's what he gets fired up for. Bedoni also expressed that the style of play of native country bands really changed from years past. He misses that good ole' "Chapter House Beat", as he called it. The Thunders and Wingate Valley Boys come to mind when he thinks about that good ole' "Chapter House Beat". That was their style of play. The rhythm was just right, and the amplifier's were much smaller back then, compared to today's huge, upgraded amps which makes a huge difference. "Bands became more modern and advanced in their equipment, leaving behind that good ole' "Chapter House Beat." stated Bedoni.
Tim Holiday has experienced a time when he played with the band, Krossroads. He also sang a few songs with the Stillwater Band. His ultimate goal on stage is getting the crowd to sing along with him when he's singing. There is no favorite song for him to sing. Of course he's being modest about "Let's get it on" right? Holiday enjoys singing and having a good time doing it. Singing song request's by fan's is an absolute treat, because that's when he "jams out", he says. Holidays music career is very similar to that of Kyle Bedoni. He played the drums in junior high school, and high school. He played on the Jazz and Concert Bands. It was after high school that he finally picked up a guitar and taught himself how to play. The the rest is history. An interesting fact about Holiday is that he does not listen to native country music. Instead he enjoys going to live concerts either in Phoenix or Albuquerque. His song writing is a work in progress. He says, "Someday, I may write another song." The idea of playing in a Battle of the Bands is something that Holiday enjoys, however he states that there is a lot of favoritism involved these days, and it's unfair. On the flip side of that, he enjoys Music Festivals. The idea of playing with other bands is good, he says. Two bands, Borderline and Stillwater are bands that tops his list as far as style of play.
In 2012, when Holiday was asked to fill in as the lead vocals, he felt very honored and went for it. He has been the voice of Latigo ever since. His interest in playing in a band goes way back in the day, when he use to listen to KTNN Radio. "I always liked music as a kid." Says Holiday. Other genre of music that he enjoys is Rock, Mexican and of course Country. As the lead vocals for the band, Holiday gives other members of the band the opportunity to pick which songs to play at each country dance. "We try to pick songs that people like to dance to." he says. During off time, Holiday enjoys airbrushing as a hobby. Coffee mugs are his forte'. One time, he states that he airbrushed a trucks front hood. Imagine how cool that came out.
The message that Holiday wants to extend out to all their fans is to be safe, always buckling up and not drinking or texting while driving. We want to see you all at the next dance. We appreciate all your support. Thank you.
Kyle Bedoni shares the same sentiments by saying to their fans, "Be safe out on the roadways, buckle up and don't drink and drive. Also no texting while driving. We want to see you all at the next event. I also want say a big thank you to our spouses for their support. They have to deal with our absence when we are out playing a gig." He also expressed how much their fans mean to them. "We enjoy and love playing for you, our fans."
During Kyle's down time when not playing, he enjoys hanging out with family, practicing on his guitar, cleaning up the yard, and relaxing. And as he puts it, "Staying home, saves me money." Which leads to this question. Has he stashed away enough money in his mattress at home to sit out Saturday night gigs? lol
Lastly, maybe Saturday nights are set aside for working on that new fancy dancer outfit worthy of the 2018 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow!
For Bookings Call: (480) 747-3313 (Vergil Bedoni)