Song Of The Day 5/25/2013: Disco Tex & His Sex-O-Lettes - "Jimbo Salsa"

Joseph Montanez Jr. was a celebrity hairdresser. That is understating the matter. There's a whole back story. But for the moment, let's just go with his being a celebrity hairdresser. Everybody around him in the early '60s greatly enjoyed his company. At some point he took on the persona of Monti Rock. He claims to have been discovered by Johnny Carson in 1962, and for a good part of the next decade and a half he appeared on The Tonight Show and Merv Griffin several times. He was a flamboyant dresser, a '60s gay cult icon, and a tremendous figure in the world of entertainment.

There was just one problem: Nobody knew exactly what Monti Rock did, least of all the man himself. He didn't sing. He didn't act. He wasn't a trained comedian. He was the original professional celebrity. It got him in a lot of movies -- he played the DJ in Saturday Night Fever -- but it was more the fact of his just being there, and being a reasonably entertaining person to be around, that got him in the door. He's still around, living in Las Vegas, where for a time he did a nightly act. He didn't script it out. He didn't write it. He just showed up, answered audience questions, and by the end of his 15 minutes each night the audience loved him.

One thing he did do was take on the persona of Disco Tex, "leader" of the disco prototype band Disco Tex & His Sex-O-Lettes, a creation of superstar pop producer Bob Crewe. They had a Top 10 hit in 1975 called "Get Dancin'," arguably the first disco crossover hit in music history. Rock -- who by now was going by the name Monti Rock III -- did not sing on the track. Instead, he made a lot of exclamations, exhortations, and asides. For lack of a better word, he was the song's cheerleader. He repeated this act even more joyously on "Jimbo Salsa."

Hitch your dream to the stars, kids. It can happen to you.

Michele LaFong did a great interview with Rock, which I have repurposed below. It starts at the 23:15 mark.

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