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Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight: Greg Gonzalez

A man smiling and holding an electric bass is lit by stage lights.
Michael Minasi
/
KUT
Greg Gonzalez performs with Money Chicha during the 65th Anniversary Harry Ransom Center Gala in 2022.

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If you’re even slightly familiar with the Austin music scene, chances are high you’ve grooved to a Greg Gonzalez bass line. For almost a quarter of a century, Gonzalez has been keeping rhythm for music that has reached ears far beyond Central Texas.

His work began more than 23 years ago when he co-founded one of the most iconic outfits to ever hit local stages: Grupo Fantasma. In addition to his work on the bass, Gonzalez contributes vocals for the band and does behind-the-scenes work on the production and engineering ends.

The band has produced seven albums, including 2010’s Grammy Award-winning El Existential. Grupo Fantasma has toured extensively throughout the country and Europe, sharing the stage with artists like Joe Bataan, Prince and Daniel Johnston.

A few years after the formation of one seminal Austin act, Gonzalez was back at it with the group Brownout, which consists of many of the same players who feature in Grupo Fantasma.

Winners of three Austin Music Awards, Brownout has six full-length albums. Over the years, the band has shared the stage with GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan and even made an appearance on the TV show Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour.

If two is nice, than three must be better, and so a few years later Gonzalez was again co-founding a staple of the local scene, Money Chicha. The band has two albums under its belt, 2016’s Echo En Mexico and 2021’s Chicha Summit.

When he's not working with his bands, Gonzalez is backing up a number of artists across genres. He's worked with talents like Ruben Ramos and Gina Chavez, as well as Biz Markie and Maceo Parker.

In addition to his work with some of Austin's favorite bands, Gonzalez has a decade’s worth of experience as a music educator. He’s using his working expertise to educate the next wave of artists who will undoubtedly shape the next era of music here.

Jerry Quijano is the local All Things Considered anchor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at jerry@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.
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