San Antonio Express News Senior Staff Writer
and Music Columnist
There's only one musician in San Antonio who musses his hair like Keith Richards, sings like Bob Dylan and plays guitar like kindred spirits Jerry Garcia, Mark Knopfler and Chuck Berry.
That person is rock 'n' roller Michael Martin.
Martin is best known around these parts as frontman for the folk-rock band the Infidels, which he formed in the mid-'80s and whose name was inspired by Dylan's 1983 album "Infidels."
He's also recorded and toured the world (and appeared on "Late Show With David Letterman") with singer-songwriter Tom Russell. That gig lasted almost four years.
Many admire him for his amazing talents as a pen and ink artist.
Had he been born just a little bit earlier, perhaps it would have been Martin trading riffs with Keef in the Rolling Stones instead of Ron Wood. He's that good - and he certainly has the swagger.
It's been several years since Martin's only solo album, "Fatal Flower Garden." That disc was recorded by Leonard Cohen producer LeeAnn Ungar.
Martin is planning a new solo record,For this one, he's decided to team up with Grammy-winning producer Joe Treviño at Blue Cat Studios, a crossroads of the Tex-Mex scene.
Treviño produced the Infidels' first indie effort, "Babel." Both men are looking to capture something from deep within.For Martin, who taught himself to play guitar at age 13, it means going back to the source: the Grateful Dead and the Stones.
At Edison High School, Martin started a cover band patterned after the Grateful Dead called Mickey Free. That morphed into the Infidels.
"I've tried very hard just to focus on music. It hasn't been the most lucrative thing to do, but I never wanted to do anything else," he said.
The struggle, he acknowledged, is to balance the rocker side with the singer-songwriter who loves Irish and English balladry.
He's not sure what side will win out for his solo record.
"I like playing loud and hard," he said. "It's hard to find the middle ground there".
Hector Saldana is a senior staff writer and music columnist at the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 20 years.Saldana has been a regular contributor to the Austin-American Statesman, Texas Monthly, Country Weekly, MTV and KUT-FM.
Michael Martin performs Solo Acoustic shows,
duo sets w/ George Batista and plays lead guitar with one of San Antonio's best known bands, THE INFIDELS.