The day later became known as The Day the Music Died. FAIRMONT — Martin County Commissioners took care of a variety of items Tuesday. Eventually, a lawsuit was filed by Bob Keane and half of the award went to Valens' mother, although she was not part of the suit. He influenced the likes of Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Carlos Santana at a time when there were very few Latinos in American rock and pop music. Also on board were Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. Learn about Ritchie Valens: her birthday, what she did before fame, her family life, fun trivia facts, popularity rankings, and more. He re-strung the instrument and taught Ritchie the fingerings of some chords. Keane booked appearances at venues all across the United States and performances on television programs. Valens was just 17 years old. All performers were augmented by Holly's new backup band including Tommy Allsup on guitar, Waylon Jennings on bass and Carl Bunch on drums. The first songs recorded at Gold Star Studios, at a single studio session one afternoon in July 1958, were "Come On, Let's Go," an original (credited to Valens/Kuhn, Keane's real name), and "Framed," a Leiber and Stoller tune. They’re like zombies there. They’re like zombies there. Valens was a pioneer of Chicano rock and Latin rock and was an inspiration to many musicians of Latino heritage. His parents, Joseph Steven Valenzuela (1896-1952) and Concepcion "Concha" Reyes (1915-1987), were from Mexico. His parents were Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Reyes. [citation needed] When he was sixteen years old, he was invited to join a local band named 'The Silhouettes' as a guitarist. Ritchie Valens was a Mexican American singer and songwriter influential in the Chicano rock movement. Geni requires JavaScript! Valens was portrayed by Joseph Thornhill in the 2011 film Lives and Deaths of the Poets. Ritchie Valens (born Richard Steven Valenzuela; May 13, 1941 – February 3, 1959) was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. I didn’t fit, but I fit here. His parents were of Mexican origin and Valens grew up listening to traditional Mexican music. Half brother of Private and Private. “I said, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t listen to his music.’ I was still holding onto the hope that maybe he really wasn’t gone. Ritchie also inspired Chan Romero, Carlos Santana, Chris Montez, Keith O'Conner Murphy, Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys. As well as the aforementioned demos, two of the tracks laid down in Keane's studio were taken to Gold Star Studios and had additional instruments dubbed over to create full-band recordings. A miner from Chile, Luis Ponce came to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush (1848-1849). Similarly, it was Keane who decided to shorten his surname to Valens from Valenzuela in order to broaden his appeal. “It’s funny; I never fit into California. That’s what I told myself,”, “I was waiting for him to walk around the corner. When he was three years old his parents separated, and young Richard Valenzuela spent the next several years with his father. Valens transformed the song into one with a rock rhythm and beat, and it became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritchie_Valens. Ritchie Valens, American singer and songwriter and the first Latino rock and roller. After the February 2, 1959 performance in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly, Richardson and Valens flew out of the Mason City airport in a small plane that Holly had chartered. Conditions for the performers on the tour buses were abysmal and the bitterly cold. He was a performer-songwriter. He wrote 22 of the 33 songs he recorded at 17,” Connie shared, pointing out that at the time it was an unheard of accomplishment for someone that young. Connie said that what really drove Ritchie was his desire to get a house for his mother and the family. This tour has taken place at many of the original 1959 venues in the Midwest. Valens' next record, a double A-side, which was the final record to be released in his lifetime, had the song "Donna" (written about a real girlfriend) coupled with "La Bamba. We know that Hollywood does things their way, but I want you to show my son’s life for who he was and not what you want to make him be,’ and they were true to their word. Ritchie Valens was born in Pacoima, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, on May 13, 1941. This is an aspect of his music that is not heard in his commercial studio recordings. WELCOME — Welcome City Council met via Zoom this week. He had four siblings, most notably his older brother, Bob Morales, who was portrayed as a bike riding enthusiast in the 1987 movie, La Bamba. It is located on private farmland, about one quarter mile west of the intersection of 315th Street and Gull Avenue, approximately eight miles north of Clear Lake. Valens has been the subject of several biopic films, including the 1987 film La Bamba. Brother of Private and Private Valens was born Richard Steven Valenzuela in Pacoima, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. A book came out this year about Ritchie Valens. Ritchie learned the lyrics phonetically in order to record "La Bamba" in Spanish. She also shared another fun fact about one her brother’s top hits. Richard Steven Valenzuela was born on 13 May 1941, in Pacoima, California, USA, of Mexican descent. Donna shares her memories of Ritchie Ritchie was my first true love and my first experience losing someone I loved. We were able to come from our hiding places where we had hidden our wounds, and talk about it,” Connie said. Several songs, that would later be re-recorded at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, were first demoed in Keane's studio. As his career … In the next generation of Ritchie Valens’ family, Maria Antonia Lugo – one of the many children of Jose Trinidad Lugo and Maria del Rosario Dominguez – married a foreigner. Cody John Opheim, 32, has been charged ... BLUE EARTH — The Faribault County Commissioners met in a budget workshop prior to their regular meeting last ... Jason Sorensen In 2001, Ritchie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. At his appearances, he often improvised new lyrics and added new riffs to popular songs while he was playing. These original demos can be heard on the Del-Fi album Ritchie Valens — The Lost Tapes. Robert Quine has cited Valens' guitar playing as an early influence on his style. Connie talked about what it was like growing up as Ritchie’s sister. When Dion and the Belmonts were performing, the drum seat was taken by either Valens or Buddy Holly. He is considered the first Latino to successfully cross over into mainstream rock. Primarily set in 1957-1959, it depicted Valens from age 16 to 17. He is credited with inspiring many other musicians of Mexican heritage, including Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Carlos Santana. Ritchie Valens Family at Annual Rock and Roll hall of fame at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York United States on March 19 2001. KION: Legendary Bob Morales, brother of music icon Ritchie Valens, passes away. Impressed by the performance, he invited Ritchie to audition at his home in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, where he had a small recording studio in his basement. His parents were Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Reyes. He makes personal appearances from time to time and has enjoyed being included in … Morales, who called Watsonville home, was known globally as Ritchie Valens’ hardened older brother, or La Bamba Bob, as he became known for a … Ritchie Valens was born Richard Steven Valenzuela on 13 May 1941, in San Francisco Valley, Los Angeles, California, USA, to Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Reyes. Los Lobos performed most of the music in the film. I can’t be somewhere and not make eye contact and smile at people I pass. One of his first stops was Philadelphia to appear on Dick Clark's American Bandstand television show on October 6, where he sang "Come On, Let's Go." Brought up hearing traditional Mexican mariachi music, flamenco guitar, R&B and jump blues, he expressed an interest in making music of his own by the age of 5. They did a really good job,”, “I said, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t listen to his music.’ I was still holding onto the hope that maybe he really wasn’t gone. That’s what I told myself,” Connie admitted. In addition to the performances with The Silhouettes, he would play solo at parties and other social events. Ritchie Valens had several hits in his eight-month career. Keane recommended that he change his name to Ritchie Valens in order to widen his appeal. Keane went to see Valenzuela play a Saturday morning matinée at a movie theater in San Fernando. Though Ritchie has been gone for 60 years now, he has achieved a lot posthumously. Somewhere deep inside my mind, I was waiting for him to come around the corner and ask where I’ve been,” Connie said. People here really care about each other.”. A self-taught musician, Valens was an accomplished singer and guitarist. People here really care about each other.”, “All because a 17-year-old-boy, who was a little overweight, who had acne, and who came from the wrong side of the tracks, had a dream,”, “Our family is blessed to be a part of the Ritchie Valens phenomenon,”, “He was only 17. He eventually overcame his fear enough to travel by airplane. On Feb. 3, 1959, also known as “The Day the Music Died,” Valens, Buddy Holly and J.P “The Big Bopper” Richards, died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. In the film he appears in a diner miming his song "Ooh! Connie said the family had never really discussed Ritchie or the accident after it happened. One day, a neighbor came across Ritchie trying to play a guitar that had only two strings. Having grown up in California, Connie shared how she came to live in Iowa. “‘Donna’ is real. His parents, Joseph Steve and Concepción (Reyes) Valenzuela, were working at a munitions plant at the time of his birth. Ritchie is considered the first Latino to successfully cross over into mainstreams rock. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted only eight months. Her personalized license plate reads ODONNA. On February 3, 1959, on what has become known as "The Day the Music Died", Valens died in a small-plane crash in Iowa, a tragedy that also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. While in Early Life And Childhood. In 1990, he got a start on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The novelization of the film Grease (1978) by Ron De Christiforo is set around the time of Ritchie Valens' death. After Bunch was hospitalized, Carlo Mastrangelo of the Belmonts took over the drumming duties since he had some drum experience. Later, the main vocalist left the group and Ritchie assumed this position as well. December 27 saw a return to American Bandstand, this time for a performance of "Donna.". He was a pioneer and was an inspiration for many after his death. “I was waiting for him to walk around the corner. In one of the earlier chapters, the gang sit around in the character of Sonny's basement, upset at the death of some of their favorite stars in the plane crash. Richard Steven Valenzuela (May 13, 1941 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Ritchie Valens, was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Connie Valens, younger sister of rock and roll legend Ritchie Valens visited Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont on Tuesday to discuss her brother, and how losing him affected her family. His siblings, including one older brother, two younger sisters and a younger brother, were living in California and Nevada. You most likely recognize his iconic hit, "La Bamba," which came out in 1958, when Ritchie was only 17.Born in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles in a neighborhood called Pacoima, he was invited to join a … In November Ritchie traveled to Hawaii and performed alongside Buddy Holly and Paul Anka. Originally from Los Angeles, Valens was the second of five children, including brother Bob Morales, younger sisters Connie and Irma, and younger brother Mario Ramirez. She said she cried inside the Surf Ballroom knowing it was the last place Ritchie had been alive. “All because a 17-year-old-boy, who was a little overweight, who had acne, and who came from the wrong side of the tracks, had a dream,” Connie said. We know that Hollywood does things their way, but I want you to show my son’s life for who he was and not what you want to make him be,’ and they were true to their word. Ritchie Valens was born in 1941 and skyrocketed to stardom at an incredibly young age. The plane, a three-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza, departed for Fargo, North Dakota and crashed shortly after takeoff in a snow storm. He was only 17,”, “‘La Bamba’ did something special; it brought us back together. Bob Keane, the owner and president of small record label Del-Fi Records in Hollywood, was given a tip in May 1958 by San Fernando High student Doug Macchia about a young performer from Pacoima by the name of Richard Valenzuela. Ritchie Valens was an American musician who is best known for being part of the trio of musicians that were involved in ‘The Day that Music Died’ plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.. Connie Valens poses with a poster of her brother, Ritchie, at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont on Tuesday. We were able to come from our hiding places where we had hidden our wounds, and talk about it,”, “Mama told [the director], ‘I’m going to trust you with my son’s story, but I want it to be told like we tell you. "Boogie With Stu" from Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti album was inspired by Valens' song "Oooh, My Head." While Ritchie was left-handed, he was so eager to learn the guitar that he mastered the traditionally right-handed version of the instrument. He recorded numerous hits during his … He was only 17,” she said. Valens found himself a last-minute addition on the bill of legendary disc jockey Alan Freed's Christmas Jubilee in New York City, singing with some of those who had greatly influenced his music, including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, the Everly Brothers, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran and Jackie Wilson. Partner of Private After Valens' death, the family stayed out of the public eye, though they did work closely with producers of "La Bamba." 9/17/2018 #RitchieValens #BobMorales But how did Valens end up on this plane? In the mid-1950s, the family moved to the Los Angeles suburb of Pacoima, where the teen-ager attended high school and began playing in a rock band. At this point he took the name Ritchie because, as Keane said, "There were a bunch of 'Richies' around at that time, and I wanted it to be different." Immediate Family: Son of Marciano Valenzuela and Agripina Valenzuela Husband of Concepcion Valenzuela Father of Ritchie Valens; Private and Private Brother of Lorenzo Valenzuela and Len Valenzuela. Ritchie's real-life sister, Connie Limos, was on-set when the infamous "coin toss" scene was filmed, … Accompanying him were Buddy Holly, Dion and the Belmonts, J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Frankie Sardo. Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Ritchie Valens' mom, Connie Valenzuela, passed in 1987. He used his dreams to end the cycle of poverty for our family. Upon his return to Los Angeles, Valens filmed an appearance in Alan Freed's movie Go Johnny Go! At 17, Valens was the youngest to die on the flight. “2019 marks 60 years since the day the music died,” she noted. Valens, however, had a fear of flying brought on by a freak accident at his Pacoima Junior High School when, on January 31, 1957, two airplanes collided over the playground, killing or injuring several of his friends. Please enable JavaScript in your browser's settings to use this part of Geni. Ritchie Valens Wiki Biography. In his short eight-month career, he produced a lot of great hits.”. She said he was really like a father figure to her since there was a nine-year age difference. The demos primarily consisted of Ritchie singing and playing guitar, but some of them also featured drums. Ritchie Valens is interred at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California. Unfortunately, Connie said they owned the house for 30 years but their mother maybe lived there for seven because it was too hard for her to be there. He used his dreams to end the cycle of poverty for our family. Valens was on the plane because he won a coin toss. His short career ended when he died at age 17 in the 1959 plane crash in which Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper also perished. At the age of eleven he started playing guitar and took it … "Donna" was one track (although there are two other preliminary versions of the song, both available on The Lost Tapes), and the other was an instrumental entitled "Ritchie's Blues. “‘La Bamba’ did something special; it brought us back together. "La Bamba" would prove to be his most influential recording, not only by becoming a pop chart hit sung entirely in Spanish, but also because of its successful blending of traditional Latin American music with rock. In December 1958, Ritchie Valens paid a visit to his alma mater, Pacoima Junior High School, in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Born Richard Steven Valenzuela in a largely Hispanic community north of Los Angeles, California known as the San Fernando Valley, his father was a devotee of flamenco music and blues and instilled his love of music to Ritchie. Carl Bunch had to be hospitalized with severely frostbitten feet and several others, including Valens and the Big Bopper, caught colds. Occupation: Laborer: Managed by: Private User Last Updated: August 18, 2018 During this time, he had several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which was originally a Mexican folk song. By the time he was attending junior high school, he brought the instrument to school and would sing and play songs to his friends on the bleachers. From left, Ritchie Valens siblings, Erma Norton, Mario Ramirez, Connie Lemos and Bob Morales speak at a press conference at the Surf Ballroom on Friday. In early 1959, Valens was traveling the Midwest on a multi-act rock-and-roll tour dubbed "The Winter Dance Party." A park in Pacoima was renamed in Ritchie Valens' honor. Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, in Mason City, Iowa, and the country lost one of its most talented singers. The next meeting of the city council will be via Zoom at 6 ... FAIRMONT — According to information from Faribault and Martin County Human Services, Martin County, as of ... FAIRMONT — A Fairmont man is facing a felony charge in Martin County. The event, along with Buddy Holly's death, inspired singer Don McLean's popular 1971 hit "American Pie," and immortalized February 3 as "The Day the Music Died." It introduced Lou Diamond Phillips as Valens and co-starred Esai Morales as his older half-brother, Bob Morales. Amongst the musicians were Rene Hall, Carol Kaye, and Earl Palmer. Valens grew up in suburban Los Angeles in a family of Mexican-Indian extraction. [citation needed] Valens attended Pacoima Junior High School (now Pacoima Middle School). Maybe some nice Iowan picked him up from the ice and he didn’t remember who he was. “[It] was devastating for mama. On Feburary 2, 1959, rock and roll legend Richie Valens was killed in a plane crash in Iowa. A rock & roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted eight months, as it abruptly ended when he died in a plane crash. She mentioned some of Ritchie’s top hits. He was encouraged by his father to take up guitar and trumpet, and he later ta… After this first audition, Keane signed Ritchie to Del-Fi on May 27, 1958. He also created a similar stainless steel monument to the three musicians near the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Connie spoke about a time in her 30s when her mother suggested putting on one of Ritchie’s albums. Ritchie's nephew, Ernie Valens, has toured worldwide playing his uncle's songs, including a new version of the "Winter Dance Party" tour with Buddy Holly impersonator John Mueller. He was a performer-songwriter. Today, Bob is an icon in his own right and to many he is known as La Bamba Bob. Connie said she loves hearing stories from people who say Ritchie inspired them to start playing an instrument or to start singing. About Ritchie Valens: Rock ‘n’ Roll legend, Ritchie Valens made history as rock music’s first Latino star with popular songs such as “La Bamba” and “Donna.” Connie's life wasn't an easy one: she was employed as a farm … I can’t be somewhere and not make eye contact and smile at people I pass. Ritchie, the 'California Kid' was from a family of poverty stricken fruit pickers and was the first rock star to originate from the West Coast and one of the innovators of 'Latino rock. ", At this point, in the autumn of 1958, Valens quit high school to concentrate on his career. In between the live appearances Ritchie returned to Gold Star Studios several times, recording the tracks that would comprise his two albums. They did a really good job,” Connie said of the film. She discussed what it was like the first time she came to Iowa, in 1988, for a Ritchie Valens memorial at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, where Ritchie boarded the plane that crashed. Photo taken backstage with Donna and the family of Ritchie Valens. ", After several songwriting and demo recording sessions with Keane in his basement studio, Keane decided that Ritchie was ready to enter the studio with a full band backing him. He was encouraged by his father to take up guitar and trumpet, and he later taught himself the drums. The songs "Come on Let's Go" and "Donna" can be heard through the radio in the action-adventure video game Mafia II (2010). His entire family was there for the experience and met many famous musicians. Ironically, the Valenzuela family spoke only English at home and Ritchie knew very little Spanish. Connie Valens poses with a poster of her brother, Ritchie, at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont on Tuesday. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Richard Steven Valenzuela was born outside of … There is a surviving color photograph of Ritchie at the drum kit. Midwest weather took its toll on the party. Connie did, but then began crying. Valens' mother Connie, who died in 1987, is buried alongside him. Ritchie was a singer, guitarist, and songwriter, best known for being one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll. Joseph Stephen Valenzuela, Concepcion Reyes, Joseph Stephen Joe Valenzuela, Concepcion Concha, Connie Valenzuela, May 13 1941 - Pacoima, Los Angeles, California, United States, Feb 3 1959 - Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo, Iowa, United States, Joseph Steven Valenzuela, Conception Reyes, Joseph Steven Valenzuela, Beatriz " Concepcion" Valenzuela (born Reyes), May 13 1941 - Pacoima, Los Angeles, California, USA, Feb 3 1959 - Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo, Iowa, USA, Joseph Steven Valenzuela, Concepcion Valenzuela (born Reyes), Ramirez, Valenzuela, Valenzuela, Morales, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States, Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States, Mission Hills, Santa Barbara County, California, United States, Richard Steven Ritchie Valens (born Valenzuela), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritchie_Valens. Copyright © Fairmont Sentinel | https://www.fairmontsentinel.com | 64 Downtown Plaza, Fairmont, MN 56031 | 507-235-3303 | Ogden Newspapers | The Nutting Company, “2019 marks 60 years since the day the music died,”, “He was a prolific song-writer. Connie Valens, younger sister of rock and roll legend Ritchie Valens visited Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont on Tuesday to discuss her … in Hollywood, California. Notable songs include “La Bamba” and “Donna.”. Connie said that last year the family was together in Pacoima, where they grew up, for the dedication of the Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway. “What brought me to Iowa was a time for a change,” she said. Maybe some nice Iowan picked him up from the ice and he didn’t remember who he was. “He was only 17. The elder Valenzuela held a number of different jobs—tree surgeon, miner, and horse trainer among them—and int… Connie, who was 8 years old at the time of the crash, now lives in Okoboji, Iowa. Lenny Kaye. That memorial was unveiled on July 17, 2003. More information is available on the website www.ritchievalens.com and on Amazon.com. In 1988, Ken Paquette, a Wisconsin fan of the 1950s era, erected a stainless-steel monument depicting a steel guitar and a set of three records bearing the names of each of the three performers. Valens was the first to capitalize on this formula which would later be adopted by such varied artists as Selena, Caifanes, Café Tacuba, Circo, El Gran Silencio, Aterciopelados, Gustavo Santaolalla and many others in the Latin Alternative scene. Ritchie Valens was born in Pacoima, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, on May 13, 1941. She said the making of the 1987 movie “La Bamba” brought the family closer and allowed them each to share each other’s pain, because they were not able to do that at the time of Ritchie’s death in 1959. 2001. Among the family was a young Ritchie, who shared a close and playful bond with his brother Bob, despite the fact that they were born to different … [6] Valens was not at school that day as he was attending his grandfather's funeral. "Donna" has been covered by artists as diverse as MxPx, Cliff Richard, the Youngbloods, Clem Snide, Cappadonna, and the Misfits. In his short eight-month career, he produced a lot of great hits.”, Today's breaking news and more in your inbox. I didn’t fit, but I fit here. She recalled being in the car with her mother when his song “Come On, Let’s Go” came on. Ritchie Valens' mother died in 1987. “He was a prolific song-writer. Pictured from left to right: Bob Morales, Irma Norton, “Donna” Fox, Mario Ramirez and Connie Valens. Rock and Roll singer Ritchie Valens poses for a photo during the filming of 'Go Johnny Go' on January 20 1959 in Los Angeles California. Valens has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6733 Hollywood Blvd. We stay in touch with her,”, “[It] was devastating for mama. It did not credit Ritchie Valens or Bob Keane. An early stereo recorder (a two-track Ampex 601-2 portable) and a pair of Neumann U-47 condenser microphones comprised the recording equipment. The show was split into two acts with Ritchie closing the first act. Richard Steven Valenzuela (May 13, 1941 – February 3, 1959), known as Ritchie Valens, was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Valens was portrayed by Gilbert Melgar in the final scene of The Buddy Holly Story and also in the film The Day the Music Died (2010). Ritchie Valens was born Richard Steven Valenzuela on May 13, 1941, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley suburb of Pacioma, California. Rock Musician. The crash killed all three passengers and pilot Roger Peterson. Family of Ritchie Valens acceptance speech 00:02:45 "La Bamba" 00:02:37 Hall of Fame Essay. The family would also like to ask Ritchie’s fans to pray and to thank them for their love, encouragement, and support. Ritchie's death left the world in shock. Son of Joseph Steven Valenzuela, 'Steve" and Concepcion Valenzuela Ritchie Valens Biography, Life, Interesting Facts. Somewhere deep inside my mind, I was waiting for him to come around the corner and ask where I’ve been,”, “What brought me to Iowa was a time for a change,”, “It’s funny; I never fit into California.