The Blue Bandito by Netera Landar
“I am the Blue Bandito, streaming live from Chicago, performing Progressive Blues and my own breed of music that I call ‘Bandito Blues.’”
Arimo Teixeira’s voice, and the way he strums the guitar, draws you in. He allows you to appreciate the depth of his music—the message of love or seduction, or simply a repetitious rhythm.
When Arimo performed on Treet TV a few years ago, I loved the honesty and quality of his music. But I never saw his name. Then, months later, I went to hear the Blue Bandito perform. There he was! Because I knew my chat audience would be awed by his music, I invited him to be my guest. He did not disappoint!
Since that day, I have met Arimo (actually Mario Metsovaara Torrez) in real life. He was featured both at the Chicago Jam and at a Native American gallery. Knowing him now in both worlds, Arimo is the same in real life as he is in Second Life®—a man of exceptional talent and a big heart. His many fans agree.
Arimo’s journey into SL music came from a gradual thread beginning in childhood. He described how he was introduced to the musical diversity of Windy City Chicago and Milwaukee, growing up on the Illinois/Wisconsin border.
Through his father and his Mexican American family roots, Arimo learned about Spanish-style guitar. Classical, Blues, Jazz, and Rock were only a radio or television show away. He inherited his dad’s personality in being a “Cool Cat.”
“When I was four or five, I knew I wanted to be a musician. My dad was a mariachi musician from Texas. My mother was from Finland, and into Classical music. They were from the era of Elvis Presley and Lawrence Welk, and went dancing to places where you could bring kids.”
One day, little Arimo asked his parents if they could buy him a guitar. They bought a toy instrument which he couldn’t do a lot with. But that was the beginning of a life-long love affair with music. Listening to selections that his brother and sister played on the radio, before he could play himself, he could sing sixties tunes.
His older brother would wake him up at midnight to listen to a Blues DJ broadcasting from Chicago. “He’d rouse me out of bed and say, ‘Get up Boy,’ and I told him to leave me alone because I had school in the morning, but he wanted me to hear the show. The radio guy would say, ‘This is Big Bill Hill sitting on an orange crate broadcasting from my basement and I’ll be up all night long playing the Best of the Blues greats.’ He was from Oak Park, and he had been broadcasting since 1967.”
Arimo recalled that his first album, when nine years old, was Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here.” He loved the special effects that were mixed into the music.
His mother’s family believed he needed a European education. That landed him in England when he was ten. He found music everywhere, which helped him through his parents’ separation and being apart from his family. He was in choir, school musicals, and took music lessons. That’s where he learned to play English Rock, Blues, and Classical guitar.
“When I got to school they cut off all my hair. I thinkthe Boys’ school still exists, and they wear the same suits, color ties, and everything. I was one of two Americans in the entire school. There were kids from all over the world, so I was used to multi-cultural experiences because I was around it my entire life.”
“My aunt married a man in Belgium who played piano. I would travel from England to see them all by myself. Uncle Albert took me to Belgium cafes and introduced me to Gypsy Jazz.” So, a variety of genres was all a part of Arimo’s life. He also was taught culture and religion.
When he entered high school, Arimo listened to what his friends were listening to: Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Ozzy, AC/DC, Queensryche, and Black Sabbath. He preferred the Scorpions. Then his friends listened to underground metal, and hung out at biker bars. Remnants of that lifestyle can still be seen when he wears his combat boots and shorts.
Years later, Arimo studied both traditional and nontraditional Spanish guitar, including music of South America, as well as contemporary guitar styles, including Rock and Blues. So he learned unusual techniques, rhythms, and a Flamenco-like use of hands.
“I started studying Classical Guitar, because you had a choice when you got to college; either Jazz or Classical. I already had the Classical background. I had no Jazz background. What I play isn’t the traditional kind of music that you would need to study. The truth is, you need to study just as much to play Blues, as all this Fusion that I play.”
Everything he did was music, though he did gain other degrees, so he could earn a living. After graduating from college, he did sales marketing in the high fashion industry, with a friend in New York. When he wanted to change his careers, he went back to school. Using his Sociology degree, he went into a totally different direction, becoming a substance abuse counselor and a criminal therapist. Music has always been an undercurrent of passion, balancing his life through creativity. Always finding gigs and outlets, this passion connected him to a community of creative contributors.
“I was playing guitar and Anek Fuchs walked up to me in a real life music store. He told me to play what I was playing again and asked me, ‘How would you like to join a band?’ He must have been here, in Chicago, only for a few months. He invited me to Gina Stella’s home where we started practicing. Then he said he had a show and that he had to go. I asked where his show was and he said its right here, upstairs. So I went upstairs and the room had several computers. There were all these cartoon characters on the screen, dancing around. And I said, ‘what is this?’ I thought it was sensational!”
When Arimo did hop into Second Life, one of the first people he ran into was another musician. He quickly learned about the in-world opportunities. Shilow Carter, of the former Musicians’ Lair, was the first established venue owner to book
Arimo for weekly shows, having heard him perform live with Anek from Gina Stella’s home. Anek then explained about using mixers and streams,. and helped Arimo set up his computers in his own home.
“I was gigging regularly in SL, and developed a fan base very quickly. The Pocket, run by Delinda Dyrssen, became a regular gig, as well. She was also working at Treet TV and we did a live music video, as well as a talk show appearance.”
Then Arimo performed at Woodstock. Soon, he was performing regular gigs in different time zones with Penny Paperdoll, Warung Beats, Katrose Serendipity, Cheyanne Sinatra Blues Warehouse, The Roof, the A List, Prudence Hermit’s Port Dervon, and NAG Live Music, after thelate Jeanette Janus invited Arimo to be inducted into the NAG Hall of Fame. “I performed at Inspiration Island for several months. I also became a highlighted act at Music Island when Kate Miranda contacted me. I did a couple of short stints at BS’s ‘Bring A Friend & Stay Awhile.’ There have been so many venues that have come and gone over the years.” He’s jumped on stage at Cat Boucher’s MusikCircus and even was booked at a nude beach. No comment there. If he was nude, he was probably still wearing his bandana. He confessed to wearing a loincloth.
An interesting side note: Flameheart Soul, of the House of Flames, contacted Arimo to take part in her final PhD project in Psychology. She traveled the country to video tape and interview five SL musicians. Arimo was very proud to be included in her paper.
Besides catching him in-world, should you be headed toward Chicago, IM Arimo on Facebook to find out when and where he’ll be performing in a real life venue. I guarantee that you will be impressed.
To see the full issue as it is originally published with all photographs and graphics, please download Unforgettable #2. For more information, please contact Netera Landar, Editor-in-Chief, neteralandar.gmail.com.
See Issue #One for more features and profiles.