Tuesday, 05 May 2009 19:50
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Mazz's Joe López breaks his silence 

Love him or hate him, Joe Lopez, formerly of Grupo Mazz, will go down in history as one of the greatest, most popular - and controversial - singers in Tejano music. The serious criminal charges, his guilty verdict and the aftermath of broken families, has supporters and detractors on all sides. In this exclusive interview, correspondent Ramon Hernandez gets 'an update from Lopez'

By Ramón Hernández

After two and a half years of being prohibited to speak to any form of media by numerous

lawyers, Joe López was finally allowed to break his silence and grant his first and only interview in this exclusive story.

For Pt. 2 go here: Mazz's Joe Lopez: solitude, forgiveness, reflection

The fact is that López has wanted to speak since day one. However, his defense attorneys had also prevented him from speaking on his own behalf in court.

The Grammy Award winning former lead singer for Mazz whose hits include “Amor Con Amor,” “No Te Olvidare,” “Lo Hare Por Ti,” “¿Qué Esperabas?” and “A Las Escondidas,” who was sentenced to 32 ½ years on October 31, 2006 for the alleged rape of his 13-year-old niece, was now able to talk.

(Photos courtesy Ramon Hernandez)

"I have always wanted everyone to hear my side of the story,” López disclosed.

The no-contact visit took place with the Tejano megastar locked within the confines of a three-by-four foot holding cell at a facility south of Rosharon, Texas. The only other person allowed to participate was Christina Hernández, president of the Justice for Joe López movement.

López seemed to be in fine spirits as his face lit up and he flashed that famous killer smile that once melted the hearts of many women, but gone was his mustache, beard, his long golden locks of Greek God hair and he was no longer bejeweled.

However, his now smooth pale face had nay a wrinkle and the baby blue eyes that send women swooning and falling at his feet still had a twinkle and sparkled as though spotlights were hitting his face; and it was all, as he said, because he had found the peace of the Lord.

“Yo andaba mal y Diosito me dijo ‘you’re going too fast,’ ” López said without hesitating one second to launch into our conversation as though he did not want to waste one minute of precious interview time.

“God said, ‘stop it,’ but never in my dreams, did I expect to be in here,” he added. Simply put, it was a wake-up call.

López then started to recount much information that cannot be shared with the public since it is for inclusion in a book that Christina is publishing.

The book, which has a working title of “Justice for Joe” will exonerate López and detail all the facts that will prove his innocence with never-before seen documents. It will also expose why López was set up, wrongfully charged and convicted. The book will expose important behind the scenes shocking facts. Another reason for losing the case is there was much evidence that was inadmissible in court because the alleged victim was not eighteen.

Days gone by,...

“They stopped my life,” the 58-year-old inmate said.

There is an appeal in progress and this cannot be hampered so this article will solely focus on what can be legally divulged. What can be disclosed is that López did not have to go to prison because he was initially offered four months in jail followed by probation. The result is that he fired his lawyers for even fathoming the thought of such a deal.

“Imagine that. If I had indeed done that and was offered only four months, I would have kissed his feet and hugged the judge, but I didn’t do anything. So why should I admit to a crime I did not commit in exchange for a light sentence? Ni lo mande Dios,” López said as he shook his head in disbelief.”

Instead, López is behind bars with 30 more years left to do, but as he firmly stated, “I have faith and as they say, the truth shall set you free.”

So what keeps the 1980s and ‘90s Tejano Music Awards Male Vocalist and Male Entertainer of the Year from going crazy from all his emotional torment?

“My friends, my fans and God,” he answered. “Little Joe just sent me $100 and has written a few letters. Marco Antonio Solís also wrote telling me that if this had happened in Mexico, he would have done something on my behalf and Luis Sílva, que en paz descanze y Dios lo tenga en sus brazos, he was helping me in looking for due royalties."

Joe did express disappointment that his longtime bandmate Jimmy González had not written him.

Then there’s the moral support of his children: Joey and Jenny, his mother Benita, his sister Alma and brothers Raúl, Lorenzo, Saúl and Ernie to keep him going plus Judy López, who is most vocal as the family’s voice. In addition, he receives a sack full of fan mail per week.

“On the average, I receive 20 letters a day and I answer each and every one of them. Check out my hand!” As he put his arm up to the window, one could not help but notice calluses and blisters from so much writing had replaced the rings he once wore. His wrists were also bare of a watch and bracelets, but he was wearing a necklace.

“See this crucifix? When I got to Huntsville, some of the Chicano prisoners asked me if I needed anything, I said, ‘yes, I would like a crucifix’ and they made this for me. If you notice the chain the crucifix is


on, it used to hold the rubber plug from a kitchen sink.

In return López delights inmates within ear reach with their three most requested songs. “And those are ‘La Diferencia,’ ‘Porque Eres Mia’ and ‘Estupido Romantico,’ he said. “They are very respectfully with me and even ask me to sign autographs for their parents, their kids and their friends. Then, changing mood, his face turned solemn as he calculated his next few words.

“You know? I used to be a lost sheep. I remember one night when I was at Freddie Recording Studios when Freddie Martínez asked me if I would record a Christian song and I said, ‘no’ because I had no interest in doing so.”

Once behind bars, the music icon started asking God, “¿Por Qué Dios Mio, Por Qué?” Then he made a 180-degree turn. Proudly holding up a stack of hand-written song lyrics, he said, “Would you believe I have now written over 100 gospel songs, of Christian tunes that mention or praise God? And the first thing I do when I wake up each morning is to get on my knees and pray 25 minutes. I read the Bible two hours each afternoon and again, before going to sleep.”

The result is that López is now able to quote scripture and sees some parallels to his life. “I can relate to Job and what happened to him,” the living legend said. “And I can also relate to some parts of Joseph and King David’s lives.”

As he mentioned King David, one could remember when López was regally attired in purple velvet outfits plus shiny and glittery costumes as he seemed to hold court onstage before his legion of adoring fans. The fact he has been humbled by God was evident when he proudly tugged on his white shirt and said, “When the inmates that work in the laundry found out you were coming to interview me, they wanted me to look my best. So they bleached, starched and ironed my uniform real good.”

And sure enough, his uniform on down to his white sneakers looked sparkling white, as though radiating a new pureness in his spirit in what was a contrasting image of his heyday.

This is part one of a two-part exclusive report and in part two, his fans will be made privy to his life behind bars and what’s being done to set this innocent man free.

Pt. 2: Mazz's Joe Lopez: solitude, forgiveness, reflection

Meanwhile, fans wishing to write the Grammy Award winning vocalist can write to José Manuel López 1399866, Ramsey Unit W-1-6, 1100 FM 655, Rosharon, Texas 77583.

 

IF you write to Joe Lopez, please mention you read his story here. Check back for Pt II.
Comments, questions? Leave us a message or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

MORE:
Photo gallery coming
Tragedy In April rocks Rio Grande Valley
Lopez's brother: 'Joe Lopez is not doing good'
Mazz's Jimmy Gonzalez back in hospital for weekend observation
Mazz' s Jimmy Gonzalez is out of hospital; back home resting
Mazz's Jimmy Gonzalez back in hospital for weekend observation
Tears, anger, fear and sadness in Brownsville

 

MORE COMMENTS:

Rebecca Sotomayor Perez at 12:33am May 6:
OK, I was finally able to read it on the blackberry. I don't know what to think guilty or wrongly convicted the only thing I know for sure is that God is good no matter what!

Sylvia G. Croley at 1:13pm May 5
Just read it. Your are truly great at the writing, must admit! Sad story, but your delivery is AWESOME. Just don't ever leave SA !!! Let The Sun Shine...Let The Sun Shine...Music is the Sound of Life...and you're a Super Star at delivering the news. I'm passing "you" around to my friends on FB, Twitter,etc. hope you don't mind !! Ta, Ta, and good-night,
John Boy !! Later, Ramiro, Sweet Dreams...
Peace

Angelo Margarita at 11:41pm May 5
Who, pray tell, is Joe Lopez?

Robin Flores at 12:25am May 6
"Behind the music"...good update on the Blue Eyed Devil

Manuel Godina at 12:30am May 6
Wow great to hear from Joe. Thanks for the story...