I didn't do drugs, I never did do drugs. Never. I don't have any story of drugs, you know, to speak of. Never did drugs, never was interested in drugs and then I wasn't interested in the people around the drugs.
I was the first person to come into New York with a Latin American point of view which was also very much influenced by political happenings in Latin America.
What is interesting in this is the exchange of music that occurred between New Orleans and Cuba, I mean, they had ferries that would go from one port to another.
So that when I came to New York again, it was, I'm not too sure right now, but it was '74 or '75. I went to Miami in '74 and then I came to New York, I think, at the end of '74.
So I went to Miami in '74 with my family and while I was there it became obvious that we needed money and we needed to do something, because my family, we left without anything really, and we didn't have any money to begin with.
Every band had their own distinctive sound, but it was pretty much dancing music and rhythmic music with a tremendous emphasis on copying the Cuban models.
And, he'd seen me in Panama, and he talked about maybe doing something in New York so I hooked it up when I came here and I recorded in 1969 my first album with Pete Rodriguez.
I think in New York we had respect and we would pretty much fill up the places where we went, but I never got the sense that we really were Number 1 here in New York among the Latin crowds.
The grandmother, the mother, the worker, the student, the intellectual, the professional, the unemployed, everybody identified with the songs because they were descriptions of life in the city.