Alvarez and the late Edgar Allan Poe.
Photo by Tessa Vanderhorst
like an acid trip, musician/entrepreneur Mike Alvarez
is unique and unpredictable. Although he once described
himself as "lazy", he is anything but.
The founder of NRT Entertainment Group (music company
Not Records Tapes and documentary and film company NRTEG),
Alvarez has fronted, organized and played in a whole bunch
of bands in a whole bunch of towns with a whole bunch
of whoever happens to be on hand to play whatever.
And through it all, he has remained a true disciple of
pure independent rock n' roll.
than lazy, Alvarez would be more correctly described as
selfless. He had devoted many years of his many
lives to keeping alive the legend of Roky
Erickson, co-founder of the seminal psychedelic band
13th Floor Elevators. Alvarez co-produced the
documentary about Erickson Demon
Angel, A Day and Night with Roky Erickson and several
music recordings with Erickson
(Under Ground, Process)
in Hammond, Indiana, just outside of Chicago and raised
on the Texas-Mexico border, Alvarez grew up knowing two
things: hard work and music. He has combined
them all his life.
hooked up with members of the Austin punk scene during
his University of Texas college days, forming a band known
as Max and the Makeups.
Max and the Makeups would tour the Southwest for four
years, opening for top acts such as Snakefinger, Joe King
Carrasco, Oingo Boingo and many others. The group
soon headlined their own major city venues and spent many
hours in the recording studio. Beginning in 2010, Fullerton
punk label Puke
n Vomit Records began releasing these studio sessions
with the release of the 4-song EP. In 2016, Puke
is released a full-length album of the group's studio
1983, Alvarez unveiled the first Woodshock
music festival to be held in the hills outside of Austin,
at the amazing Hurlbut Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas.
The festival would become the world's premiere alternative
music festival for its time between 1983 and 1987.
Woodshock was originally conceived by Chris Wing and possibly
others in 1981. A concert was held in the Austin
city limits. Woodshock 81' was Max and the Makeups'
first ever public performance.
1984, Alvarez founded Not Records Tapes and began to crank
out recordings of dozens of unknown or little known punk
and psychedelic bands. In the summer of 1984 alone
he produced and/or recorded tracks for some 20 bands,
some of which immediately went on to become major-label
acts (Daniel Johnston, The True Believers with Alejandro
1988, Alvarez left Texas to take a job as in-house producer
Recording Studios in Los Angeles. Although the
job turned out to be short-term, he found a support group
of Texas transplants and hooked up with the Sony Corporation,
where he honed television production skills and began
developing his film production techniques as a result
of Sony being located on The American Film Institute campus.
Sony enabled Mike to study business at Pepperdine University,
graduating with a BS in Business Management in 1994.
Located hard by the Pacific Ocean, where the evolving
young man also studied surfing in what little spare time
he allowed himself. In 2015, Alvarez began serving
as a guest lecturer, at Pepperdine, teaching young students
audio recording and production techniques. His racquetball
skills were also demonstrated to all comers, few of whom
he sleep? No, he did not. Time flew by as
he tried heroically to balance his many passions.
What suffered in the end was his own career as a musician,
since he rarely had time to devote to songwriting or playing
lives today in Hollywood, California. Older and doubtless
wiser, he devotes more time to songwriting, recording
and touring new releases despite his hectic life as a
Hollywood-based entertainment entrepreneur. No doubt,
the internet today has allowed him to carry out his various
missions on a grander scale, and what with film, television
production, writing and recording music, maintaining various
web sites and in general breathing life anew into independent
music and film, Alvarez keeps up a pace that few could
hope to sustain. Fueled by his love of his passions,
he presses on unstintingly.