Little Willie G of Thee Midniters Fame is Ready to Party on the Plaza

Categories: Latino scene

Keepin' it old school!
As a vocalist for the legendary East Los Angeles band Thee Midniters, Willie Garcia, better known as Little Willie G, crooned all their 1960s hits including "Sad Girl" and "Land of a Thousand Dances." He will be performing a spectrum of songs including what he likes to call those 'neighborhood classics' in helping to kick off the Segerstrom Center's Off Center Festival tonight alongside Grammy-nominated group La Santa Cecilia!

Before coming to Costa Mesa for the free Party on the Plaza show, there's more Thee Midniters OC history than just Emigdio Vasquez's Lemon Street Murals in Fullerton that are immortally emblazoned with their song title "The Town I Live In" on the overhead bridge.

"When we first started out, the only things that were really available to us aside from family parties were the battle of the bands that were staged around East Los Angeles, West LA and Buena Park," Little Willie G tells the Weekly. "That's where we went toe-to-toe with a band called the Spats. Their singers were a couple of guys who became the Righteous Brothers."

In those days, the group was called Benny and the Midniters before morphing into Thee Midniters. "Benny Ceballos was the congero, band leader and had a pick up truck to carry the equipment," the singer reminisces with a laugh. Soon the Chicano Soul band would find acclaim under its new name with rolas like "Chicano Power," "Whittier Boulevard," and "That's All." The prolific run is cemented now in a commemorative box set and greatest hits album.

Life after Thee Midniters continued on into the 1970s for Little Willie G. He was performing with a group called God's Children when Malo, another prolific band from that era, approached him after the gig with an offer. "Doug Tracy and Pablo Tellez asked me if I might consider coming up to San Francisco to see if the chemistry would work," the singer says. "I agreed and walked right into a recording project called Ascension."

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