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TONY CASTANON - Bass Guitar/Lead Vocals
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My name is Tony Anthony Castanon. I consider myself a free artist. I find ways to express myself with things that just come naturally and I believe come directly from God Himself. My music ability was taught to me by my mother. She taught me to sing and my dad forced me to sing and play an instrument in church as we grew up.

So I picked up the easiest instrument I could think of, the bass guitar. Only four strings right? Wrong. Bass is the easiest to play and hardest to master. Trying to sing and play at the same time is harder yet. So church music is my background. I first sang with my family in church; gospel style with lots of harmonies. When I got older in my teens I started learning bass guitar. My influences were the 80's and 90's bands like U2 and the Cranberries. When I heard their music, I realized God had a place for me.

I graduated Cooper High in Abilene, Texas. '87 and went to Howard Payne University, in Brownwood, Texas. in '89-'94. Graduated with a B.A. in Biblical Studies. Those were the greatest years of my life I can say for sure. I would never trade my days at Howard Payne.

In 1994 I moved to San Antonio to continue our band which at that time we named Soterian. Our band was more of a Christian Rock band. However, band members got married and moved away and well we all separated. This was a hard time in my life because I realized at this time, that I am a gay man. No matter how much prayer and time with God, I would spend, I remained the same. So now I felt alone and completely lost away from my family, my church, my band, my music, and my God. Took me three years to see that God was with me the whole time and even more so now. I was amazed! I never lost anything, my family and friends all came back and my talent for music was always there and was even greater now.

In 1996 Soterian did record some songs at Edit Point Studio. Hopefully someday I could get some of those songs on here. In 2000, I formed another rock band with my cousins Gloria Escobar and Will Escobar. We named the band Amnesia, we got really good, and played around town. We played Gay Pride at Travis Park in June. We also played other artistic venues like the Esperanza Center, and Starving Artists Exhibit on the Riverwalk. We also played a Labor Day block party at Silver Dollar Saloon. In 2002 we played the AIDS Walk for Life opening for Emilio Navaira. In 2003 we played Fiesta Frenzy at The Comedy Club downtown. By this time our band's name has changed to Aniseed, also with different members.

In 2005 I changed the name yet again to 2nd Frett. We didn't even keep the name a year, to when I changed it to Burning Nopal. Now that name I will keep, and love! Finally! We played at TAGZ Bar and at Texas Tech Scholarship dinner as the dinner music. This was the last gig Will Escobar played with us. He soon got sick after that and passed away on Oct. 3, 2006. I will never be the same again after losing my cousin, who was more like a lil' bro to me. For now on any music I do, I do for him also, because I know he is still with me.

In June of 2005 Burning Nopal played Pridefest at Sunset Station. In 2007 we played several times at Beto's Latin Grill, back patio. In 2008 we played Gay Fiesta at Sunken Gardens. Was an awesome gig and finally seems like our music is growing and the band is sounding good. Now in 2009 we met with our keyboardist Eric Morris who has shown us so much about music biz. We are blessed to have him join us. Now I am excited to move forward. Eric has helped us get recorded and now we have gigs coming up at Candlelight Coffeehouse and another Gay Fiesta at Sunken Gardens. I hope and pray that you may hear more of our music soon.

I also want to thank our wonderful and loving church, River City Living Church, and our awesome pastor Joseph Garrett for thier great support and love they have for us and our mission in music God has given. Peace and God bless!

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