SUbrosa Union is an American reggae rock band from Austin, Texas formed in 2000. The band comprises Michael Anaya, Chris Paulos, and Paul Valenzuela. Originally from El Paso, Texas the trio relocated to Austin in 2005.
To date, SUbrosa Union aka SU has released three studio albums. The band released its debut album Looking Forward in 2007 and then played the “Operation Looking Forward” tour for Armed Forces Entertainment. In 2008, SU released their SUn City album, containing live and prereleased tracks which had gained notoriety during their border city playing days. In 2010, SU released One Night Stand, produced by Mike Cosgrove of Alien Ant Farm. In June 2013 the band released their independent “Rise from the Ashes” 5 track EP rich with new addictive SU styled tunes.
SUbrosa Union started out as simply Subrosa in 1999 in a garage on the East side of El Paso. The “Union” was added by Michael during a little get-together at his father’s home in Laredo, Texas. Michael noted there were a couple of other bands with the title “Subrosa” and had no desire to change the title of the band’s name; he noted the Italian wall art entitled “Union” in his father’s home and suggested adding the “Union” to Subrosa. and while a play on words; “sabrosa” a Spanish word which means “full of flavor, delicious-tasting” and “sub-rosa”, meaning “under the rose” – an ancient symbol denoting a secret – the band’s name was playfully incorporated by the trio. As stated by the bandmates, “we are a ‘tasty secret’, which makes our vibe flavorfully delicious… to the ears, to the eyes and definitely to the mood.” As the naming conflicts led them to add “Union” to their name later on, enlarging the “U” in Subrosa, added to the moniker of “SUbrosa Union” or “SU”.
This three-piece rock outfit, have resided in Austin, Texas since 2005 to escape El Paso’s hard-rock and death-metal scenes. Co-founders Michael Anaya (lead guitarist/vocalist), Chris Paulos (bassist) and Paul Valenzuela (drummer) met during a 1999 Incubus and Deftones concert, where as Michael states “we were so psyched and impressed that he and the others decided that night to form a band”. The three clicked instantly as songwriting soulmates, influenced by Carlos Santana, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sublime, 311 and Elvis Presley as well as the sounds of reggae, hip-hop and alternative music. SUbrosa Union is whatever you want them to be; creating saucy concoctions from their recipes of their melting pot border roots.
Although the trio could not gain access to the larger more popular venues in their early days, they became a hot commodity for their live high energy performances and catchy addictive tunes. SUbrosa Union gained popularity through their self-released EPs and local radio play for their reggae rock anthem, “Sweet Mexicana” one of the first songs they wrote together. While they were working locally, producer R. W. Rushing, who has worked with numerous up-and-coming Austin bands, overheard their music; impressed with what he heard, he subsequently provided SUbrosa Union the opportunity to create their first full-length album; Mastering their independently released freshman album Looking Forward in Austin. Their album received attention and accolades from Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE).
In early 2008 Subrosa Union was profiled in Austin Music with their recent release Looking Forward. Pete Lansing stated “The band’s El Paso roots bring an undeniable border influence, a fresh addition to the world of reggae/rock crossovers. The Santana-does-reggae “Rising Up,” and cumbia driven rhythms and half-Spanish lyrics of “Caramelo” showcase the bands creative peaks.” Lansing went on to state, “24/7 4:20 Everyday” though highly predictable, has the potential to be the quintessential Spring Break anthem, obsessively played over and over by massive throngs of college kids on beaches everywhere.
In 2008 SU was signed by Armed Forces Entertainment to complete two major overseas tours for the troops. After being in the Middle East (Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and a US Navy guided missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf) the trio headed onto Korea, Japan, Okinawa and Guam.
SU also shared the Pollstar pages being introduced as “New Artists” and profiled for their Armed Forces Entertainment overseas tours.
April 2009, SUbrosa Union received a call from a Pittsburgh, PA detective who knew of their contribution to the troops; asking them if they would be interested in performing at a benefit for three police officers who had died in the line of duty earlier that year. SU headlined the “Musical Memorial Tour for the Fallen Heroes”, benefiting the families of Pittsburgh Police Officers], Paul Sciullo II, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly.
Noting SU’s continued desire to contribute and share their support; SUbrosa Union performed on Saturday, May 9, 2009, at the Beverly Hilton. Noche de Niños kicked off another star-studded evening, featuring the artist Jewel. The event also featured appearances by:
• Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor • Jennifer Lopez • Annette Bening & Warren Beatty • Dancing with the Stars • Raphael Saadiq, soul artist • Emily Bear, child prodigy pianist • Tim Callobre, guitarist/pianist/composer • Subrosa Union
Noche de Niños was inspired by a former patient, eleven-year-old Dustin Meraz, who was suffering from a terminal cancer. Dustin’s wish before dying was simply to have his life make a difference for other seriously ill children, and inspire grown-ups to have the courage to care about and provide support to kids in need. Therefore, at each Noche de Niños we honor one or more individuals who have shown that Courage to Care for our patients and sick kids around the world. This year we honored actress, author, and children’s advocate Jamie Lee Curtis as well as long-time Children’s Hospital Los Angeles trustees and Corporate Philanthropists Megan and Rick Hernandez.
In 2009 SUbrosa Union added guitarist Marc Martell to their lineup, Riding the internet waves and catching the popularity rays SUbrosa Union is fast becoming a mainstream rock n reggae band. Playing official and unofficial South by Southwest showcases for the past 5 years the band has grown roots in the Austin music scene. SUbrosa Union has definitely found their identity in the blazing music street scene of Austin, Texas. Playing to the masses of college students, weekend party-goers and even mainstream Hollywood enjoying the torrential vibe of downtown “6th Street” music. Finding their niche and so-called local notoriety, the band still recognizes that they’ve come a long way and yet have still more crossroads to entertain.