I grew up in the sixties watching B.B. King and Tito Puente and Miles Davis and Coltrane, everybody, Marvin Gaye, Jimi. And at the same time, with my left eye I was watching Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Mother Teresa.
I have come to the conclusion - and I don't know why it took me so long, but nevertheless, I'm here now - that a lot of people tell me they don't get enough guitar on my albums. So I decided to do an album where the guitar would be the singer, playing the melody.
I have been accused of being a very simplistic, very lyrical player, and that's okay. That just comes from the blues, which is my background. But every day you wake up and transcend. You can't ever rest on your laurels.
When you fly to New York, sometimes they put you on hold and you just go round and around in a holding pattern. Sometimes in a concert, I feel other spirits in a holding pattern that they want to land through my heart and through my fingers.
There's a melody in everything. And once you find the melody, then you connect immediately with the heart. Because sometimes English or Spanish, Swahili or any language gets in the way. But nothing penetrates the heart faster than the melody.
I realized that it's all really one, that John Lennon was correct. We utilize the music to bring down the walls of Berlin, to bring up the force of compassion and forgiveness and kindness between Palestines, Hebrews. Bring down the walls here in San Diego, Tijuana, Cuba.
You can take things that Jimi Hendrix took, from Curtis Mayfield or from Buddy Guy for example, because we are all children of everything, even Picasso. But if you want to stand out, you have to learn to crystallize your existence and create your own fingerprints.
My dad's a beautiful man, but like a lot of Mexican men, or men in general, a lot of men have a problem with the balance of masculinity and femininity - intuition and compassion and tenderness - and get overboard with the macho thing. It took him a while to become more, I would say, conscious, evolved.