Giovannie Yanez on his punk rock ‘n’ roll Texas Tejano

Giovannie and the mercenaries. // Photo by Kade Wilcox

Texan rock ‘n’ roll/country Giovannie & The Hired Guns have gone the past two years from playing local venues in their area to becoming seasoned road dogs, thanks to a series of cinematic music videos and brilliantly catchy melodies. They’re bringing their show to Boulevardia’s second night on Saturday, and we had the chance to speak with frontman Giovannie Yanez about the band and its recent growth.

The pitch: Y’all are on this massive tour until the end of the summer. You seem like serious road dogs. Is this the lifestyle for you?

John Yanez: I do not know. It’s just that we’ve been doing it for so long, I feel like there’s no other way or different way.

You’re playing some really big festivals this summer. You play Boulevard here in Kansas City, which is why we’re talking, but you also play Lollapalooza. Has the band done a lot of festival dates before or is this a new thing?

It’s just kinda new to all of us. I mean, there’s a few veterans in the band now, and they’ve seen it, but for the most part, the majority of us have never done these big festivals like this, and that’s really exciting.

What really got you going was “Ramon Ayala” from last summer, and even though it’s a really good song, that video really gets you hooked – and so does your new video,” I Don’t Mind”. It looks like you’re all having a lot of fun making these shorts.

They’re really cool that they let me come up with these ideas and then our director just put my vision in writing, you know? So it’s really, really great.

Where did the ideas for these videos come from?

I thought it would be really cool to go back to my high school. It was my real high school where we went and recorded [‘Ramon Ayala”] at. My manager was there and he was asking the manager and superintendent, “How was Gio?” and they just laughed like, “You see it here.”

It was great to bring that to this music video and just make it fun and just be a little threat in high school, you know? That of “I Don’t Mind”? Man, I just thought about how this song is about being impatient and going to the limits you never tell yourself you can reach. I was just like, “How about a bank robbery scene, man?”

We also shot that in my hometown. Texas is pretty cool, man.

Shooting these two videos in your home town – were people eager to help support you in the band?

Yes my guy. This community really loves this band and loves us and goes to shows. We always see people from my community coming and supporting all the time. That’s really nice.

Since the name of the band is Giovannie & the Hired Guns, is that the case? Are these people that you have brought together to support you, since you mentioned that some of these people have a lot of experience?

When I started it was, and then everyone has fallen into its place over the years and it’s beautiful.

How did you all come together? Is it just playing show after show after show?

I mean, basically that’s it. You know, you kind of meet friends of friends and you network and try to get along with these guys more than these guys. You know what I mean? So, yeah, man.

The upcoming album Tejano Punk Boys, has a title that covers two things that we really like. What can you tell us?

This next one is a mix of, of everything, you know? There are heavy songs. There are tears, there are parties, breakups and just playing in endless dumps. So I’m really, really excited. We are all very excited for this.

Giovannie & The Hired Guns play the second night of Boulevardia, Saturday June 18th. Details about the festival here.

Diana J. Carleton