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Jose Casas: Memories of a(n) (in)visible musician

Francisco Jose Casas (Sevilla, 1964) got a guitar in a feria when he was ten. His parents, a worker in a mattres factory and a housewife, sent him to a school in order to learn to use it. “That’s the way you have to play it” he was told. So he did: he took it with his right hand, although he is left-handed. Maybe no one around him knew Jimmi Hendrix.

The anecdote marks the musical beginning of Jose Casas (Jose without accent, as his friends name him), who nowadays has his own group: La Pistola de Papá. When he was a teenager he became closer to rock music, which moved him away from flamenco music. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who. Groups that still are an influence. During the first years of the 80s he formed his first group: Helio. “We were kids, a posse, we didn’t know how to play. We wanted girls, party and rock and roll” recalls Casas, who formed part of Arden Lágrima and Relicarios before he formed his current group in 2006.

‘Plasticland’ was his first record. Jose Manuel Romero and Chencho Fernandez were the main voices. “After the tour, Romero set music aside. I said: if I compose the songs it is logic that I sing them. And then I became vocalist. I used to sing in the shower or in chores”. Then he sang ‘Scampa!! Volumen 1’ (2010), ‘Sacampa?? Volumen 2’ (2011) y the EP ‘Canciones de kilómetro cero’ (2013). Julio Zabala (keyboarder), Álvaro Márquez (bass) y Tony Bonzo (drummer) are his partners in music since then.

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‘Memorias de una pistola invisible’ was released on the last February. A pop rock record with social contents and a touch of irony: the letters talk about a tough priest that gets rid of his pedophile friends, about a professional of euthanasia that refuses to do her last job or about an old group that is ignored by the public. “We wanted to show the tragicomic side of reality but avoiding what is demagogic”. Casas has been in the sector for thirty years. He sees music as a therapy. “I don’t know who said that artists don’t waste money on psychoanalists. We use music to feel free from sorrows. The power is magic”.

He doesn’t imagine himself setting music aside. He alternates his job in the Instituto de Estadística y Cartografía de Andalucía and his group. “Making music is a need. The bussiness, not the industry. To stand out being between so many options is very difficult. I look for the perfect song. It is a utopia that makes me being alert and to carry on”, concludes the guitarist. Jose Casas y La Pistola de Papá try to get their space to avoid invisibility.