Sauce Gonzalez stands under a photo of Janis Joplin at Sam's Burger Joint and Music Hall.

Sauce Gonzalez is a man of many stories. Performing on American Bandstand when he was just 20 years old. Learning how to play country music in an all-night jam session with Roy Clark. Taking the West Side Sound to the masses with Doug Sahm.

I learned some of these stories when I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sauce in late July. Not surprisingly, we ran out of time before we ran out of stories. I’ll be meeting with him again as soon as I can to hear more of his amazing stories and then sharing them with you.
Sauce’s stories will run here on The Groovy Gringa blog for the next several weeks as part of the series, “Hot Sauce.”
If you want to catch the legend in person, you can see him this Friday, Aug. 5, at Sam’s Burger Joint and Music Hall. The evening will be hosted by blues guitarist Jimmy Spacek, and will feature other greats such as Spot Barnett, Marc Benno, Catherine Denise and of course, the West Side Horns.
Here then is “Hot Sauce: Part Uno.”
Sauce and Sunny Ozuna were barely 21 when they played in Vegas. Their group, Sunny and the Sunliners, was appearing at the Golden Nugget. It was 1964.
Fats Domino used to come see us all the time. He was playing at the Flamingo and he invited us to see him,” said Sauce.
“So one night we were there and at the time they were filming “Viva las Vegas.” In walked Elvis Presley with four bodyguards. One in front and back and one on each side. He sat maybe four tables away. He was there about 45 minutes.”
Sauce and Sonny felt like they were on top of the world. When they didn’t think it could get any better, Fats invited them backstage during his intermission.
“So we go back there and he’s completely naked and they’re putting powder on him. No clothes, no underwear, nothing. Fats is talking to us like it’s no big deal. He was my idol, you know? The first song I learned to play was “Blueberry Hill” and now here he is standing in front of me stark naked. That really freaked me out. Stark naked, man!”
Welcome to Vegas.
Stay tuned for “Hot Sauce: Part Dos” and learn more about the life of Sauce Gonzalez.


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