An Interview with Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band is, at its heart, a duo, husband-and-wife team Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis. Over the years, they have released multiple albums, received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and been named by People magazine as the #1 Cool Kids Album of the Year.
At the time of this interview in July, Diaz was recording vocals for the group’s upcoming album Lishy Lou and Lucky Too, to be released October 1st. Gaddis was kind enough to answer questions for the both of them. Her responses below have been edited for clarity and/or length.
You have traveled and performed at or for different libraries, including those in San Mateo County. How have libraries or librarians been an influence in your life or your music career?
Lucky and I LOVE the library! We were both library kids. Lucky has told me heaps of stories about hiding away in the library for hours as a kid reading stories about magic and Harry Houdini. Personally, the library was THE place to go for me as a child. I was raised in a really small town and the library was the only place [to] see wild, delightful ideas that I had never been exposed to before. My mom used to only allow me 10 books at a time that I had to keep on the fireplace hearth when we got home. I would beg and plead for more. Literally, I wanted to live among the books. [Lucky and I] both thirst for knowledge and love words and pictures and art and creation. The library is the epicenter for this. They are SO important. Oh, goodness--I get excited just thinking about all those delicious books!
How did you hear about and get involved with Tricycle Music Fest and what motivates you to return to this event?
We feel so lucky (pun intended!) that we get to be involved with Tricycle Music Fest. It is one of our favorite events EVER! Honestly, I have no idea how we got involved [but it] has always been easy and a joy. [Festival organizer] Christy Burgess Estrovitz has championed for us for a long time and her kindness is OUTSTANDING! We have grown to think of her, her family, the family at San Mateo Library, and the community there as our friends who we get the honor of performing for.
Band names are usually memorable or intriguing in some way. Is there a story behind yours?
I wish we had a secret reason for the name “Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.” When the band started out, I (Alisha) wasn't really as involved as I am now (I was touring as a stand-up comic), but the more I did [music] shows, the more I fell in love with it all! Also, when we started, Lucky and I [were] merely dating, then we got engaged, and now we are married! Now, we really are a FAMILY jam band!
You released an album, ¡Fantastico!, sung entirely in Spanish. Do you have plans to continue releasing Spanish-language albums or having English and Spanish songs appear together on the same album?
¡Si! [Yes!] We have had such a positive response from ¡Fantastico! and are grateful that people are already asking for more. Lucky is a fluent Spanish speaker--both of his parents are from Mexico, and I am getting better and better (so he tells me!). Our home is becoming truly bilingual and we believe that reflects so many families in the U.S. Actually, one of the very reasons we did the Spanish-language album was because of a conversation with a gorgeous family at an American Sabor [exhibition that the San Francisco Public Library] had us play at in 2011. We sang our first Spanish-language song [there], “Tres Ratones.” Afterwards, th[is] family rushed up and thanked us for not watering down or changing the integrity of our music because it was in Spanish. It was just our music--in Spanish. That really affected and stuck with us. With ¡Fantastico¡ we did what we [normally] do--only in a different language. And this is only the beginning!
Is there anything else you would like to add that I have not asked you?
We are super thankful to have the opportunity to come rock out with you all-- and in even more locations [too]. Since Lucky is from the Bay Area, he feels as if this is a homecoming of sorts and you all sure make us feel welcome. We can't wait to share our new songs from Lishy Lou and Lucky Too right before the official release [of the album]! YAHOO!
Watch the video of the toe-tapping song “Say What?” by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band:
- Saturday, September 28th at 11 am, Half Moon Bay Library (San Mateo County)
- Saturday, September 28th at 3 pm, Potrero Branch Library (San Francisco)
- Sunday, September 29th at 1:30 pm for 2 sets at Pacifica Fog Fest (San Mateo County)
Jessica Chung is a MLIS student and an intern for the San Mateo County Library.