Dimas Garza: singer for legendary Royal Jesters dead at 68

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NewsFlash 10:01 a.m.

Tex-Mex pioneer Dimas Garza, who was one of the early singers for the famed Royal Jesters, died of a heart attack this morning. He was 68.

RoyalJesters Dimas Garza 2760707035_72f29de340_m.jpgAccording to family friends, Garza had just had surgery for a hernia on Tuesday but was already home recovering.

Details are still being confirmed and again we're waiting for official word on funeral details from family members. As soon as those are confirmed, we will be posting here.

Funeral details 6:30 p.m.: Still not confirmed. To be posted here as soon as they are released. 

Preliminary details:

Visitation, 3-5 p.m. Saturday for immediately family. Trevino Funeral Home, 226 Cupples.

Public visitation 5-9  p.m. Saturday, Trevino Funeral Home

Visitation 8 a.m-5 p.m. Sunday with special musical tribute 3-4:30 p.m..Trevino Funeral Home

Rosary 7 p.m. Sunday,  Immaculate Heart Church on Merida St.

Funeral service 9 a.m. Monday at San Fernando Cathedral.

Details proivided by-and thank you to- Pinky, Dimas Garza's brother in law..

Henry Hernandez, a co-founder of the Royal Jesters was a Lanier High School classmate of Dimas Garza.

"I always admired him, for his voice, he had a raspy, soulful style," said Hernandez. "In that respect, I kind of looked up to him. Before he even joined the Jesters I liked his group, the Lyrics."

Jaime Martínez, founder of the Cesar Chavez March for Justice and a trumpet player with the Sunglows, said he had fond memories of Dimas Garza.RoyalJestersReneRudyJesters.jpg

 "About two weeks ago I was with him. He took me back to the 1963-66 era when we received an award at the Avenida Guadalupe for being Chicano Legends," said Martinez. "The awards honored oldies Chicanos who made an impact not only in SA but throughout the country. Dimas Garza and music and original wrote his music. I played with him and later I got him into DelTones.

"Back then, I remember he married my cousin Gloria Perez, wrote music for her. He comes out of Lanier High School, a lot of good talent there. He was a good spirit, a good songwriter and singer. He is an original."RoyalJestersDimasGarza2007.jpg

Singer David Marez, said he kept in touch with Dimas Garza through the years.

 "To me, he is apart of the Royal Jester family that I have known for the majority of my life," said Marez. "I am so saddened. He was a good friend. He will be missed. My heart goes out to his family."

"Dimas Garza was a liked by everyone because he was a positive person," said singer George Rivas, who was shocked when he heard the news. "He was the one that always encouraged us, always making sure that we did good."

(Photos courtesy Ramon Hernandez)

Rivas was a part of the Royal Jesters in 1972.

Dimas "Dino" Garza was born Feb. 24, 1940 in San Antonio and he attended Lanier High School.

According to his son, Dimas Garza Jr., throughout his career Dimas Garza had recorded with several bands including Dino & the Deltones and the Sunglows. He also had his own group the Lyrics but he is mostly known for his tenure with the Royal Jesters in the '60s and '70s.

Almost a half century ago, the Royal Jesters were the kings of the city. They became a seminal force in Tejano history and pop music in Texas.

The Royal Jesters came in 1956 at Lanier High School where Oscar Lawson and his group the Dukes, were serious fans of the Mexican trios like Los Panchos.

Another school mate Henry Hernandez and his band the 5 Angels, were also hardcore music fans but their heroes were doo wop groups like the Moonglows. The two groups merged as the Five Young Ones. Two years later, the group renamed itself the Royal Jesters.

The Jesters first hits were in English pop including "We Go Together," "My Angel of Love" and "That Girl" that were played heavily on San Antonio's radio stations KTSA and KONO. Then by the 1970s, the group ventured into Chicano (now Tejano) music with the hits "Soy Chicano" and "Chicanita."

Mike Pedraza was the group's first lead singer but he was replaced by Dimas Garza. Through the years a host of Central Texas talent joined the group including such names as Joe Posada, Joe Jama Perales, George Rivas, David Marez.

Dimas Garza was also part of the late '90s CD, "The Royal Jesters Tribute," on the BMG
US Latin label that included their hits such as "Yo Soy Chicano," "Me Voy Pa Houston," "We Go Together," and "Carino Nuevo." The CD also included renditions of other hits such as Rene y Rene's "Angelito," Sunny Ozuna's "Reina de Mi Amor," Joe Bravos' "Que Casualidad," Lisa Lopez's "Si Quieres Verme Llorar,"  and Isidro Lopez's "Besame y Olvidame."

Check out this Dimas Garza performance at the July 2007 Second Time Around Dance YouTube Dimas Garza video

Royal Jesters trivia:
Few people know the Royal Jesters had a hand in the birth of the Tejano Music Awards.

After the Royal Jesters split, Lawson stayed in the music business, creating the Texas Talent Musicians Association with the late booking agent Albert Esquivel. In 1979, Lawson sold the enterprise to Latin Breed saxophone player Gilbert Escobedo.

Escobedo then recruited Lanier High School art teacher Rudy Trevino and the men organized what became the first Tejano Music Awards in 1980. 


IF you knew Dimas or have a memory or photos, please share by posting here or emai ldirectly: musicreporter@gmail,com


Check back for more updates.

More related stories: Jimmy Gonzalez in hospital after congestive heart failure
Top Tejano songwriter Luis Silva dead of heart attack at 64
Irma Laura Lopez: long time record promoter killed in accident



"I am personally saddened by the news of the passing of a Tejano Icon the mighty Royal Jesters origional Mr. Dimas Garza. Mr Garza passed away yesterday morning according to family friends. San Antonio again will be in mourning after the loss of one of Tejano Music Legends and Pioneers. I last saw Dimas Garza in Las Vegas in 1995 when they performed their last show as the Royal Jesters publicly, what a thrill and an honor to have witnessed the last performance live in Las Vegas and I have the photos to prove it. "My deepest condolances to la familia de Dimas Garza and the remaining Royal Jesters. Their music will live forever. May he rest in peace. Siempre Tejano," Manny Garcia, Jr. "El Picante"
(courtesy of Tejano Journal)

"Dimas represented the very best of the early Tex-Mex recording artists....Dimas, and the Royal Jesters were absolutely royalty in early '60s SA music scene."
Jesse A. Martinez, Laredo

"We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of TexMex great Dimas Garza of a heart attack today. For those of us who grew up in the 50s - 70s, Dimasw/ the Royal Jesters were one of the bands to beat during esa epoca. The Royal Jesters recorded some of the great love ballads of the era like Gee Whiz, Your Tender Lips, & Dimas also recorded You Succeeded which was a major hit. "In the mid 90s, Dimas reunited with origial Jesters Oscar Lawson & Ruben Hernandez to record the CD "Tribute." 
"I never got to meet him in person, but knew of him through the music of the Royal Jesters. We, at Chicano Express Radio offer our condolences to la familia de Dimas Garza. We will pay tribute in song on our next program (Friday) to Dimas Garcia. May He Rest In Peace. "
Crazy Chuy Hernandez, CHICANO EXPRESS RADIO http://www.chicanoexpress.com
(courtesy of Tejano Journal)

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Met alot of music folks in this business and played music myself. We can all remember how they
start right in front of our home and then someone calls the cops and some nice officers says: " IT's Ok you guys just keep on playing" This officer knew that these guys were not going to stop playing.

Rest in piece my friend,

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This page contains a single entry by Ramiro Burr published on November 12, 2008 10:03 AM.

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