|Right out of the gate, Pistoleros were a Valley super-group, but they weren’t Pistoleros when they did their first fierce set at Edcel’s Attic in Tempe on Nov. 20, 1992,
A few months earlier, songwriter-guitarist Doug Hopkins, previously with the Gin Blossoms, asked Lawrence Zubia of the band Live Nudes if he wanted to start a new band with him. They recruited Lawrence’s younger brother Mark. For a rhythm section, they approached bass player Scott Andrews and drummer Mark Riggs of Chuck Hall and the Brick Wall, who enthusiastically signed on. From the git-go, their new band, the Chimeras, was in big demand and its career path seemed to be straight up.
Sadly, Hopkins passed at the end of 1993, but the group went on with the Zubia brothers at the helm. The Chimeras self-released “Mistaken for Granted” in 1995, with Pete Milner replacing Hopkins and Gary Smith on drums.
The Chimeras signed with Hollywood Records in 1996, and had to change the name because another band had previously claimed it. So three years into their band life, they became Pistoleros.
Their major label debut album “Hang On to Nothing” came out in 1997. The album received good reviews, hailing the band for its heartfelt songwriting. The single “My Guardian Angel,” co-written by Mark Zubia and Hopkins, sparked radio interest in Spanish-language markets throughout the Sun Belt. With Thomas Laufenberg now on lead guitar, Pistoleros did a tour with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and also traveled on their own to radio shows and festivals around the country.
Because of a change in label management, Hollywood Records dropped the Pistoleros, but the band played on and independently released a self-titled album in late 2001. Fast-forward to the current Pistorleros era that started in2014, when the band signed with Fervor Records, which re-released “Mistaken for Granted.” Original drummer Riggs rejoined Pistoleros when Smith left in 2017. That same year they released “Silver” to celebrate 25 years of making music.
Now, Pistoleros still play around the Valley of the Sun and continue to work on new music. For keeping on with music through the many turns of their collective career, Pistoleros have well earned their induction into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame.