Writer, Tom Waldman

Tom Waldman, writer, Eastside HeartbeatsIn 1981, Tom Waldman and David Reyes interviewed Frankie Garcia, “Cannibal” of the 1960s vocal group Cannibal and the Headhunters.  They met Frankie to learn the history of the group, including the incredible story of how four Latino kids from the projects got to open for the Beatles on the second half of their 1965 American tour.

Much of the material Frankie provided went into Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock and Roll from Southern California the book by Waldman and Reyes that University of New Mexico Press published in 1998, with a second edition in 2009.

Almost 35 years after that interview, the musical Eastside Heartbeats, featuring a book by Waldman, opened at Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights.  Eastside Heartbeats uses the true story of Cannibal and the Headhunters opening for the Beatles as the springboard for a fictional account of the vibrant East LA music scene in 1965.  Waldman wishes that the late, great Frankie Garcia was alive to see the show.

In addition to the book, Waldman served as associate producer on the documentary Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East LA, which aired nationally on PBS in 2008.  He was interviewed on camera for the 2009 PBS documentary, Latin Music USA.

Waldman is the author of four books, including We All Want to Change the World, Rock and Politics from Elvis to Eminem (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003), and Not Much Left: The Decline of Liberalism in America (University of California Press, 2008).