Ritchie Valens

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Celebrating the Music and Life of Ritchie Valens

In The News, Ritchie Valens

By Alex Garcia, Sun Contributing Writer | Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2017

His younger sister, Connie Valens, says even more important is that Valens, a Pacoima native, remains a part of the community where he grew up.

“He left a legacy that, if you’re young and have your dreams and are willing to sacrifice, you can make them come true,” she said over the phone from Iowa, where she moved some years ago. “And family comes first.”

Valens’ family — sisters Connie and Irma Norton, and brothers Bob Morales and Mario Ramirez — will share some of that legacy with the San Fernando Valley community Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, as they celebrate “Come On Let’s Go Rock ’n’ Roll Day” to commemorate Valens’ 76th birthday with a series of events.

Last year the Los Angeles City Council proclaimed a day of honor for the iconic Latino rock star and his family, who keep his memory alive through their nonprofit Ritchie Valens Foundation.

They want to annually honor the anniversary of his birth. This year they are doing it through a series of events that will culminate on Saturday with a “sock hop” dance at San Fernando High School, Valen’s alma mater. The money raised would benefit the school’s ASB Music Program.

Success At A Young Age

Ritchie Valens was born on May 13, 1941 and learned to play guitar after getting a few lessons from his uncle and cousins, Connie remembered.

“He heard songs and taught himself to play. He joined the (school) band, somebody saw him and offered him a record deal,” she said.

His career lasted barely eight months but he had several hits, most notably “La Bamba,” an old Mexican folk tune that he turned into a rock & roll classic.

Connie, who was in elementary school at the time, remembers those days fondly.

“We heard his songs on the radio. He would come home excited from the concerts with sacks of pictures, publicity pictures he had to sign,” she said. “My sister and I would sell them at school for a nickel each. We were pretty popular.”

On Feb. 3, 1959 — what many dubbed “The Day the Music Died” — Valens was killed in a plane crash in Iowa. The accident also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

The 1987 biographical movie about Valens, titled “La Bamba,” renewed interest in the musician, who was later inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

A Father Figure

While new generations may only know about Valens through his music and the movie, Connie remembers him as the older brother who took care of them.

“He was a father figure,” she said.” Mom was a single mother. The summer before he went on tours, mama went to work and Ritchie was there to take care of us. He made sure we ate, made sure we didn’t get into trouble.”

He was also trying to get his family out of poverty, a message Connie hopes to convey to San Fernando High School students during two special assemblies on Friday, which will feature the Alley Cats, a nationally touring a cappella Doo-Wop group.

“I want to tell them that they can pave their own way. They don’t have to sit around and have someone pave it for them,” Connie said.

“Kids nowadays get lazy. We want them to see that with a little hard work and determination and enthusiasm — tienen que tener ganas. They have to have a will, a desire to step forward.”

“Ritchie had a purpose, to free his family from a life of poverty. Nobody has to live in poverty. You can be poor, but not live in poverty — but you have to want to do it. I want to give them a little nudge in that direction,” she added.

Connie believes it’s an easy message for the San Fernando High School students to grasp, some of whom may share some of the same circumstances that her family endured.

“First of all, Ritchie is a local kid. He was somebody who grew up in the same circumstances that they’re growing up, with a single parent family,” Connie said.

“He could have been their peer. He was taking classes in the same classrooms, he lived there in San Fernando. I hope that’s something motivational, that they can see a little bit of themselves in Ritchie — being Hispanic, coming from broken homes.

“There’s a way out. You need to find what is inside of you and shape it into something for your future. I want it to be personal for them. They, too, can live their dream.”

The Celebration

Apart from the school assemblies, there are other events to acknowledge the second annual Ritchie Valens Day in Los Angeles on Friday. Connie, her brothers and sister will appear at a “meet and greet” to debut “Ritchie Valens Soy Capitan” Cola at the Rocket Fizz Candy and Soda Pop Shop, located at 3524 W. Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank, at 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday evening they return to San Fernando High School for the family-friendly sock hop in the school’s gym.

Everyone is encouraged to wear 1950s attire. The music will be courtesy of John Mueller of Winter Dance Party and Ritchie’s brother Mario Ramirez, whose group The Backyard Blues Band will play Valens’ hits.

Sal Rodriquez, a drummer of the rock group War, will be the guest emcee.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Connie, herself a San Fernando High graduate.

She said that when they were thinking of a way to honor her brother, they immediately thought of the school.

“What better venue than San Fernando High School? We wanted to involve the entire community and give a little bit back too,” she said.

San Fernando High students will be admitted to the dance free with school ID. Tickets for the sock hop are only available the day of the event, cash only at the door. Adults are $15, while couples pay $25. Kids under 18 are free with parent. For more information, visit www.RitchieValens.com.

72dpiRitchieValens_PhotoCourtesyOf_Hi-Tone_Five_Corporation_RV104-J

Celebrate Ritchie Valens Day

Press Releases, Ritchie Valens
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High-Tone Five Corp.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 – LA Weekly – by Johnny Whiteside

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May 13 was officially proclaimed Ritchie Valens Day last year by Los Angeles City Council, and this year, his family and supporters have mounted a series of events over the weekend that are the perfect occasion to revisit Valens’ superb stack of records — songs equally tender and muscular, impressively diverse in style, strikingly well-written and, most importantly, a hell of a lot of fun to listen tohttp://www.laweekly.com/music/celebrate-ritchie-valens-day-with-events-in-the-san-fernando-valley-this-weekend-8208343.

Valens’ incandescent rock & roll testimony remains as influential and high impact today as anything in the historical big beat canon. “Ooh, My Head” and “That’s My Little Suzie” are stone killer rave-ups driven and defined by Valens’ knockout combination of simplicity and soul. And the boy had funk; get a load of the bluesy growl on “I Was Framed,” and his knock-down, tore-up instrumental workout “Fast Freight,” all dazzlingly persuasive glimpses into a stunning artistic range the young musician, just 17 when he died, was only beginning to explore.

“Ritchie was my idol,” says fellow local rocker Chris Montez, whose 1963 U.K. tour featured The Beatles as his opening act. “After I had heard ‘La Bamba’ and ‘Donna,’ I bought his album and tried to sing just like him. Before Ritchie I never knew rock & roll was open for Mexican-Americans because there were no others, so he really opened the door for me.”

Recording with New Orleans studio potentates Rene Hall and Earl Palmer and (who else?) bassist Carol Kaye, his records exerted an influence across the full spectrum, but most critically in East L.A., where an entire game-changing tribe of equally driven teen players broke out with their own singular soul-rock strut just a few years after Valens’ death.

Apart from all that incredible music, Valens’ also left behind a fiercely loyal family who have worked hard to preserve his legacy. “He was a big brother,” his sister Connie Lemos says. “He teased you, he chased you, and he watched over you. But, since my mom worked, he was also a father figure; he fed us, he entertained us, watched over us.

Valens always tried to take care of his family, especially after his recording career really gave him the means to do so. “When he bought us the house, we all drove up, parked outside and I couldn’t believe it,” Lemos remembers. “It was monumental, for people in our position. I said, ‘We are going to live here? It’s like a castle!’ That was the happiest day in my Mom’s life, but it also was the saddest, because she really couldn’t live there after he died. She’d rather have him alive, with us.”

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Hi-Tone Five Corp.

“Every song was different,” Lemos says. “Ritchie expressed himself in so many ways, and he always wrote from his own life. ‘Donna,’ of course, and ‘That’s My Little Suzie’ which was about a friend of ours who had a clubfoot, so when she walked she really did ‘rock to the left and rock to the right.’ Mom used to always tell us, ‘Come on, Let’s go!’ And after he had a dream where he was on a flying carpet, he wrote ‘In a Turkish Town.’ All of his feelings, emotions came out in the songs.”

The weekend’s events include two special student assemblies on Friday featuring a cappella doo-wop group The Alley Cats at Valens’ alma mater, San Fernando High School on Friday, followed by a meet-and-greet with siblings Connie Lemos, Irma Norton, Bob Morales and Mario Ramirez Friday night at Burbank’s Rocket Fizz (also a launch party for the estate’s newly introduced Richie Valens Soy Capitan Cola). On Saturday, an open-to-the-public sock hop hits San Fernando High, free for anyone 17 and under, headlined by Ritchie’s younger brother Mario Ramirez and his Backyard Blues Band, with proceeds going to the school’s music program.

Even almost 60 years later, Valens’ loss remains incalculably painful to his siblings. “Ritchie’s career moved so quickly,” Lemos says. “It was like he was on the straight-away and all he had to do was just hang on.”

An unbearable “what if?” hangs over Valens’ death to this day. The only reason he got on the plane, a tiny Beechcraft Bonanza that made an ill-advised takeoff in bad weather, was that he persuaded Holly’s guitarist, Tommy Allsup, to wager his seat in a coin toss. (Allsup passed away Jan. 11, 2017.)

“Mom never forgave herself for signing his guardianship over to [Del-Fi Records head] Bob Keane,” says Lemos. “[Keane] was supposed to be there. Ritchie wasn’t supposed to be making those decisions.”

A pause.

“She always said Ritchie played so hard, she thought he’d make the guitar cry.”

Richie Valens Soy Capitan™Cola launch with Valens siblings Connie Lemos, Irma Norton, Bob Morales, Mario Ramirez, at Rocket Fizz, 3524 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, Friday, May 12, 6:30-8 p.m. (818) 846-7632.

Mario Ramirez & Backyard Blues Band, John Mueller at San Fernando High School Auditorium, 11133 O’Melveny Avenue, San Fernando, Saturday, 5-9 p.m.; $15 general admission, $25 per couple, 17 and under free accompanied by parent. (818) 898-7255. Tickets available via BrownPaperTickets.com.

Read Ritchie Valens article by Johnny Whiteside in LA Weekly.com

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C3 Entertainment Inc. Bridges Classic Entertainment Such as The Three Stooges with Contemporary Brands

C3 Entertainment, Chef Jason Santos, In The News, Michael Grandinetti, Motor Marc, Rainbow Valley Fire Department, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, The Three Stooges, Winter Dance Party

Retail Merchandiser, March 10, 20017  by: Tim O’Connor

Three Stooges fans really are wise guys. When the calendar rolls over to any of The Boys’ birthdays, fans call the offices of C3 Entertainment, the brand owner of The Three Stooges, to wish them a happy birthday.C3 2 Info

Ani Khachoian, executive vice president of licensing, merchandising and distribution, pictured with The Three Stooges® Pillow Fighters by Throwboy.

Ani Khachoian, executive vice president of licensing, merchandising and distribution, pictured with The Three Stooges® Pillowfighters by Throwboy.

Sometimes they even call to ask if The Boys are still alive. The staff just laughs and enjoys the calls as if they were one of the Stooges’ famous bits. “It’s actually a good sign, especially if it’s a younger person calling because it reinforces their contemporary relevance,” Marketing and Social Media Manager Andrea DeLesDernier says.

The Three Stooges silly slapstick comedy remains just as popular today among longtime fans and all generations. Even after 20 years with the company, Ani Khachoian, executive vice president of licensing, merchandising and distribution, still finds herself surprised by some of the requests she receives. She’s been asked to sign off on everything from clearances for a Three Stooges-themed birthday cake to rap lyrics. “I’ve seen throughout the years younger generations and more women become fans,” Khachoian says.

Maintaining Legacy

C3 Entertainment is the company charged with introducing The Three Stooges’ laughs and nyuks to each new generation. The Three Stooges founded the company as Comedy III Productions Inc. in 1959 to handle their licensing and productions.

Six decades later, C3 continues to evolve. The licensing of Stooges’ materials still makes up the bulk of its business, but in the last five years, the company has added other brands as well as content distribution. “You won’t find a lot of licensing agencies that also do content distribution and productions,” Khachoian says.

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Painting of The Three Stooges by Motor Marc Art

C3’s library of more than a thousand hours of content consists of many Three Stooges titles, which include 156 cartoon episodes, to feature films in many genres, including faith-based, romantic comedies and cult horror movies, military and historical documentaries and educational programs for children. Khachoian says content distribution was a natural evolution for the company with the rise of streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon. But its distribution is not limited to digital; C3 distributes content globally for cable and network broadcasts and home entertainment products. C3 also produces TV specials and feature films for theatrical distribution on a worldwide basis.

Content distribution is only a part of the expansion going on at C3. The Three Stooges have long been intertwined with the company’s lineage, but C3 also represents other brands and personalities that span generations. Some of these brands include pioneering rock ‘n’ rollers Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, famously known as “The Big Bopper.”

C3 is also developing a licensing program for John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party, a traveling tribute show commemorating the 1959 tour of musical legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper that ended tragically when the three musicians and their pilot were killed in a plane crash, widely referred to as “The Day The Music Died.”

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“The Three Little Stooges,” a new family movie coming soon.

The acts may be considered oldies rock, but Khachoian says Valens, The Big Bopper, and Holly are still appreciated by listeners, and their timeless music continues to inspire today’s biggest artists. “[Valens] was the first Latino rock star, so there’s nothing old about that,” she says. Valens especially resonates with a younger cross-cultural audience.

cover art by Jon Pinto for The Three Stooges® comic book series from American Mythology.

Cover art by Jon Pinto for The Three Stooges® comic book series from American Mythology.

The company represents modern talent and brands as well. Celebrity Chef Jason Santos, who operates three restaurants in Boston; Magician Michael Grandinetti, a staple on CW’s Masters of Illusion; and world-renowned artist, Marc Lacourciere, better known as Motor Marc, are among C3’s more contemporary personalities. Recent additions to the company’s brand roster include National Day Calendar and the Rainbow Valley Fire Department education series for children.

Brands come to C3 both through existing relationships and C3’s recognition as a top global licensor. “We pick and choose who we want to represent and our brands all have broad and enduring appeal,” Khachoian says.

Serving Clients

The diversity of its brands sets C3 apart from most other licensing companies. Where others might focus on brands in a specific entertainment field, C3 represents brands across a wide spectrum. “It’s fun and challenging because it’s a little bit of everything,” Khachoian says.

The range of its brands enables the company to touch multiple industries, but it also leaves few opportunities for overlap and cross-promotion. Each brand must be handled on its own merits and C3 challenges itself to be creative in finding licensees and other opportunities.

“There isn’t a rock I’ve left unturned,” Khachoian says. “I go everywhere. I reach out to everybody. Licensing is one of those things where the sky is the limit. Whatever you can think of, you can license.” As an example, Motor Marc’s artwork will appear on collectible rifles. Ritchie Valens’ name and likeness appear on Soy Capitan Cola released in the first quarter of 2017. Then there is The Three Stooges evergreen brand. “How many classic comedy brands can you think of that have

Rainbow Valley Fire Department, a 3D animated series for kids.

Rainbow Valley Fire Department, a 3D animated series for kids.

products at market in virtually every category?” Khachoian says.

As popular as The Three Stooges brand is, C3 knows it must produce new Three Stooges content to keep the classic comedy trio relevant to modern audiences.

The company is working on the next new Three Stooges feature film that will reunite Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso, who played Moe, Larry and Curly in 2012’s The Three Stooges Movie and is currently scheduled to begin production in 2018.

For younger fans, C3 is working on The Three Little Stooges, a movie featuring 12-year old versions of Larry, Moe and Curly. The film is slated to begin production this year. “Having new productions is vital to help drive demand for our licensing programs,” Khachoian says.

Continuing she says, “We have worked very hard to achieve this marketplace success with The Three Stooges brand and expand the multigenerational fan base for the brand and we are very proud of our accomplishments.”

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C3 Entertainment Licenses Ritchie Valens Brand To Rocket Fizz For Bottled Soft Drink

C3 Entertainment, Ritchie Valens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GLENDALE, CA – February 2, 2017 – C3 Entertainment, Inc. is excited to announce a license with Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shops to produce a Ritchie Valens soft drink called Soy CapitanTM Cola for sale in all Rocket Fizz stores and other select outlets. http://rocketfizz.com/ritchie-valens-soy-capitan-cola/

In stores now, you can enjoy a bottle of Ritchie Valens’ Soy CapitanTM Cola around the country in 28 states and over 120 locations. The bottle features classic imagery of Ritchie Valens with one of his electric guitars.

According to the Valens family, cola was Ritchie’s favorite soft drink flavor. He could often be found sipping a cola with friends at the popular Southern California diner, Bob’s Big Boy.

Ritchie Valens rose to fame in the late 1950s as the first Latino rock star and a pioneer of rock ’n’ roll with hits such as “Come On, Let’s Go” and “Donna.” The lyrics from his iconic version of  “La Bamba,” which fused elements of a traditional Mexican folk tune with rock ’n’ roll, inspired the name of the soft drink – “Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan…”RitchieValensSoyCapitanColaad1Original

“Ritchie Valens is a legendary artist who still resonates today,” said Ani Khachoian, Executive Vice President of Licensing, Merchandising and Distribution for C3. Rocket Fizz and its nostalgia-packed stores are the perfect place for old and new fans to celebrate the legacy of Ritchie Valens.”

“We are thrilled and honored to be bottling this collectible cola. As a true rock ’n’ roll icon, Valens is a natural fit for our stores,” said Robert Powells, President and Co-Founder of the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shops.

More about Ritchie Valens: Valens began recording for Del-Fi Records in 1958. In a career spanning only eight months, he recorded three albums of over 30 songs and released nine singles including five chart-toppers with “Donna” peaking at #2 on the Billboard pop chart in 1958.

Ritchie Valens along with legendary musicians Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper died in a tragic plane crash on February 3, 1959, during their Winter Dance Party tour; a day referred to as the day the music died.

Since his untimely death at the age of 17, his music has gained in popularity and influenced generations of musicians. Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana are both cited as influenced by Valens’ guitar playing. Artists from Led Zeppelin to Los Lobos have recorded his music.

Valens who was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, is remembered with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a major motion picture, La Bamba, a U.S. Postage Stamp, and now a namesake soft drink.

About C3 Entertainment, Inc.:

C3 Entertainment, Inc. is a diversified Entertainment and Media company engaged in motion picture, television, digital and home entertainment production and worldwide
distribution, as well as licensing and brand management of world famous classic brands and personalities. For more information, please visit www.c3entertainment.com.

About Rocket Fizz:
Rocket Fizz is the largest soda pop and candy shop franchise company in America with over 100 stores in 28 states. Each store is packed with over 500 different glass bottled fun soda pops, 1000’s of crazy and retro candies, and toys, gag gifts, and other unique and awesome nostalgic products for everyone. For more information and a list of
Rocket Fizz store locations, visit www.rocketfizz.com.

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Ritchie ValensTM and Soy CapitanTM are trademarks of Hi-Tone Five Corp. Officially licensed by C3 Entertainment, Inc.

Ritchie Valens Soy Capitan Cola is bottled and distributed by the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shops, LLC

©2017 C3 Entertainment, Inc.

Contact:

Contact: Andrea DeLesDernier

(818) 956-1337 Ext 217

adelesdernier@c3entertainment.com

1415 Gardena Avenue, Glendale, California 91204 · Telephone 818.956.1337 · Facsimile 818.241.0122

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Facebook Live Event for #TheDayTheMusicDied Day 2/3/17 1pm CST

C3 Entertainment, In The News, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper

Hellooo Baby! National Day Calendar will be having a special Facebook Live Event on 2/3/17 at 1pm CST honoring #TheDayTheMusicDied Day. Join us to celebrate rock ‘n’ roll legends Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly. The Official Winter Dance Party Tribute band, John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party, will be represented too! There will be trivia and prizes! Come On, Let’s Go to: https://www.facebook.com/NationalDayCalendar/ 

C3 is also launching a new beverage: Ritchie Valens Soy Capitan Cola now available nationwide at Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shops.

Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party are C3 Brand Clients. For Licensing and Advertising inquiries contact Licensing@C3Entertainment.com.

ritchie valens

The Big Bopper

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Ritchie Valens’ Image Reborn With New Licensing Deal

C3 Entertainment, Press Releases, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, Winter Dance Party

 

Billboard – 8/26/2016 by  –

Valens’ branded La Bamba Cola, limited edition guitars and video games part of merchandising strategy to bring Latino rock-n-roll pioneer to young audiences

La Bamba Cola, on-line video games and limited-edition guitars are some of the products planned to bring revive the popularity of Ritchie Valens. The new licensing and merchandising deal by Southern California-based C3 Entertainment marks the first time that the image of the teenage Latino rock pioneer — who died with Buddy Holly in a 1959 plane crash — will be promoted through an official licensing initiative sanctioned by Valens’ family.

“More than a retro endeavor, the multicultural aspect of Valens’ licensing program is pivotal,” Ani Khachoian, C3 Entertainment’s Executive Vice President of Licensing, Merchandising and Distribution, told Billboard via email. “We want to make sure every fan has the opportunity to rediscover this rock ’n’ roll icon, and that we introduce Valens to new audiences. He was a talented, positive young man, who worked hard. It’s a wonderful legacy for young people.”

C3 also represents the legacy of The Big Bopper, who died in the snowy crash with Valens and Holly while on their Winter Dance Party tour. In addition, C3 created the licensing program for John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party, a current touring tribute show featuring Mueller — who starred in The Buddy Holly Story stage musical — performing as Holly, with other artists paying homage to Valens and the Big Bopper.

Valens, best known for his hit “La Bamba,” signed to Del-Fi Records in 1958 and recorded two albums, releasing singles that included “Donna,” which reached no. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. The 1978 movie La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips with music performed by Los Lobos, brought Valens’ story to new audiences; the soundtrack album sold 2 million copies in the United States.

C3’s Khachoian says that a La Bamba Cola beverage is set to be manufactured and distributed by the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shops chain. Online games, clothing and collectibles are also in the works. “We’re passionate about securing limited-edition guitars – Valens played several different models of guitars,” Khachoian adds. “We are also positioning him for advertising and live events.”

Read article on Billboard