Nick Diaz talents revealed themselves early on in memories of him "carrying a tune" on a toy piano around the age of 5, and also in picking out classical songs on piano by ear at the age of 7. Signs of the music bug continued after he was enrolled in free piano lessons at Edgar Allen Poe Elementary. Growing up in a small Mexican-American residential neighborhood in southeast Houston, Tx, Poe was a magnet school situated in one of Houston's affluent neighborhoods near the museum district, a far cry from the inner city schools Nick would've been zoned to attend in his lower middle class Mexican neighborhood.
Free piano lessons didn't last very long, however, after Nick performed an advanced piece one morning in front of the class. His teacher immediately noticed and asked if he' been receiving private lessons as the free lessons weren't available to students taking private lessons. He wasn't, Nick was just progressing at a much faster pace in music than his class mates. His teacher suggested to his mother finding him private instruction that could further his talents. Not an option, Nick eventually removed himself from the class as it didn't keep his attention.
By the age of 12, Diaz discovered the electric guitar. Diaz was discovering rock n roll via his older teenage sister in Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills & Nash, AC/DC, etc. Though Nick's father wasn't very present throughout his life, he could be found picking away on an old Vega acoustic guitar from time to time as a hobbyist contributing to Nick's music bug. Nick's father also manifested a cheap crystal white Japanese Fender Stratocaster for Nick's older sister, which would eventually become Nick's starter guitar. After a fews pointers from his sister and a year later, Nick discovered the electric bass. While practicing bass, Diaz found inspiration in the music and rhythms of Sting and The Police and continues to write songs with bass in mind to this day.
Though Diaz was gravitating towards blues and classic rock in Robert Johnson, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Santana, he was also a product of his times in checking out 80's and 90's Rock in Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, White Zombie, Def Leppard and Top-40 pop radio. Already having checked out The Police, Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna a slew of other New Wave bands soon followed in his listenings as he was strongly drawn to the fearlessness these artists shared in their approach to playing and writing all kinds of different styles of music. Nick's exploration continued, eventually leading him to jazz and Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and a slew of others.
By 1996, Diaz started to play in his first band with some high school buddies (Mark Riddell, Jason Reece, Mike Santamaria) performing at various dances, football pep rallies, and small gigs at Zelda's, the all ages music venue beneath Houston's famed Fitzgerald's. Nick was immediately taken in by the energy that floated around performing at a night club like Fitzgerald's, including the nervous walk to and from the car in a bad neighborhood before and after shows.
By this time, Diaz was spending most of his days far away from the East Side of Houston while attending the college preparatory St. John's School (alma mater to director Wes Anderson) as the only full Latino student,. While kids were taking exotic summer vacations or attending summer camp, Diaz was sweating it out in his families small two and a half bedroom east side house, practicing and falling asleep with the guitar.
Being an early Stevie Ray Vaughan fan kicked the door open for Diaz, seeking out down home blues artists including hometown heroes, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Albert Collins along with Freddie King, Albert King, T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters. Diaz soon found a part time home soaking up the musician lifestyle and sneaking into blues clubs like The Big Easy, Billy Blues, Silky's, and The Hideaway where local musicians like Tony Vega, Hamilton Loomis, The Mighty Orq and Diunna Greenleaf took him under their wing teaching him how to "slow down" while playing. Local station 90.1 KPFT became a regular on Diaz's radio dial and a source for new discoveries. In 1997 Diaz won a couple local talent shows playing blues guitar at Cody's, a smooth jazz club owned by famed jazz singer Scott Gertner. The band kept rolling for Diaz all the way till he graduated St. John's in 1998 until he packed up and and headed east to the Big Easy to attend Loyola University New Orleans.
Though music wasn't the choice of major for Diaz, he continued his own personal study on guitar while befriending a number of jazz students and acquiring a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Diaz did moonlight at the clubs while in school though with regular gigs at Checkpoint Charlie's down on Frenchmen St. For a brief period Diaz and his band even held down the Midnight to four am slot every Monday at Checkpoints while also frequenting other venues such as Carrollton Station, Howlin Wolf, Cafe Negril, Lizard Lounge, El Matador, and Banks Street Bar (which was held up at gun point during one performance). Around this time Nick was hanging with a good crew of local musicians and through word of mouth found his way into famed Bourbon Street saxophonist Gary Brown's band playing lead guitar, 5 nights a week. Still unable to read music, Diaz's ear quickly got sharper while having to learn Brown's large repertoire which covered everything from smooth jazz originals, blues, rock, and pop to New Orleans standards like "What a Wonderful World" and "Mardi Gras Mambo". Diaz was heavily immersed in the sound of New Orleans checking out The Meters, Los Hombres Calientes, Jon Cleary, etc. 2003 saw Diaz travel to Bregenz, Austria for a week with Brown and band where they headlined the New Orleans Festival and were photographed for the front page of the national newspaper.
In between Brown gigs, Diaz's creative flow continued, and found him exploring another creative outlet in the original prog rock band, Sourtongue. One of the primary songwriters, the band also consisted of Josh Milligan on bass and vocals and drummer/percussionist Brian Debate. After recording their debut EP "The Farm Sessions" with Danny Kadar (Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, Iggy Pop) and some DIY touring over a year and a half, the group's curiosity about the major label music business led them to relocate to NYC, and in the summer of 2005, the band left New Orleans a month before Katrina hit. On the brink of releasing their first full length album (which they had recorded over a month period in a barn outside Pittsburgh on their way to NYC) and already performing throughout New York, the group split over personal differences in 2006. Despite the split, Diaz saw the release of their full length (Sourtongue's Mechanically Grown Society) digitally published. It was mixed at Trout Recording in Brooklyn.
With no band and newly relocated to NYC, Diaz looked to get on his feet and began working with David Fishof's Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp (Fishof was an old sports agent who at one point represented the entire NY Giants front line) where he served as a liaison between major label artists and musicians (Roger Daltrey, Kip Winger, Simon Kirke, Neal Schon, Dr John, Joe Satriani, etc) who provided lessons to fans via a "rock star" camp setting. Within a month of moving to NYC, Diaz was on a plane to L.A. helping run the camp at S.I.R. Studios and House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. Rock camp also happened with all star line-ups at NYC's Hit Factory Studios and BB King's Nightclub, and in Ohio before a Journey/Def Leppard show. A year later, Diaz left rock camp to became an assistant music manager at Vanguard Management for guitarist Craig Ross (Lenny Kravitz), producer John Siket (Dave Matthews), and Peter Murphy (Bauhaus). Another glimpse into the major label world, Diaz was working events and sessions at Edison Studios (Lenny Kravitz studio) Dreamland Studios in upstate NY and attending shows at the Highline Ballroom for Peter Murphy.
Diaz once again was moonlighting with his guitar and freelancing around NY playing for a number of artists including O.B. Savage, High and Mighty Brass Band, Ellie Perry, Katie Locke, and Hot Pants while writing for his own project Weird Old America. Talking Heads, The Walkmen, Jeff Buckley, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and various other Williamsburg indie rock also became a source of inspiration as Diaz immersed himself in New York music, past and present. Diaz's original project WOA consisted of future Coheed and Cambria bassist Matt Williams and drummer/producer Matty Amendola (son to Modern Drummer Magazine editor Billy Amendola). Over the 3 year life span the group performed regularly at The Bitter End, National Underground, and The Cutting Room. They cut a number of live videos and recorded a full length album entitled "Vaudeville", part of which they tracked at the now defunct Hit Factory Studios (Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson). The group played to a full house for their album release show at Hank's Saloon in Brooklyn. Diaz's time in NY even saw him playing short stints in the house band for a traveling dance troupe, with the off Broadway production "Love, Janis" featuring Mary Brigette Davies, and with Henry Wolfe, Meryl Streep's son.
2008 found Diaz exploring open auditions in the tri state area (one of which was for Lady Gaga) which landed him the lead guitar seat for nationally touring Pop Punk artist Just Kait. Kait shared management with Justin Timberlake (Johnny Wright) and at the time had a licensing deal with MTV. The band spent the better part of 3 years touring in venues like House of Blues, Nokia Theater, Stone Poney, Great American Music Hall and rubbing shoulders with Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, and The Jonas Brothers, while also taping live shows for MTV. Slated to sign with Universal Records, the group ended up being dropped due to unrelated legal issues between Viacom and Universal Music Group. Once everything fell apart, Diaz stepped back as he'd already been shifting energies and focus towards working on his new original group, Buenos Diaz, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their debut show co-billed with Joseph King's Deadbeat Darling, at Cameo was a total success, and Diaz was to begin recording at Dap-Tone Studios in Bushwick. Busy schedules got in the way and though the recording never happened, it served as a catalyst and as the beginning of Diaz's solo recording career.
2011 saw Diaz relocate to the Bay Area where he soon befriended and began working with Lugnut Brand Records label head Chris Lujan. This would eventually lead to the 2019 Lugnut Brand Records vinyl release by the Railroad Avenue Bullies, which featured Diaz's guitar playing. The Bay Area was inspiring but short lived as Diaz relocated back home to Texas in 2012 in search of cheaper living and a place to grow Buenos Diaz. Following a summer of touring and gigging with Houston blues/roots act The Mighty Orq, Diaz made the trip up highway 71 north landing in his now home of Austin, Tx.
Buenos Diaz became a fully realized group in Austin and since 2012 has released "The Love Balloon" (2014), a collection of songs written while living in San Francisco that touches on the the blues/soul roots Diaz grew up on, "Urbanized New Wave Texican" (2015), and expanded fuzzed out psychedelic Tex Mex rock sound coupled with stream of consciousness lyrics and modern synths that the HOUSTON PRESS said "explores places even Frank Zappa might never have imagined." 2016's self-titled "Buenos Diaz" went deeper down the psych rock rabbit hole showcasing more exploratory guitar work and desert rock sounds that WLOY coined as "great solos and riffs that any listener would like".
Diaz spent most of 2017 touring the country playing lead guitar for Texas rock legend Alejandro Escovedo, a great combination that's continued into 2020. No Depression said "Diaz's guitar work blew me away with his tone, precision, and economy of notes... it was always about the song" while working with Escovedo.
2018's "Gringo Novelas" found Diaz diving more into organic songwriting while also exploring retro cassette recording techniques that KUTX coined as "lo-if loveliness" and "analog excellence" while SXSW accepted them as an official artist. 2019's slew of single releases continued Diaz's natural songwriting exploration while SXSW accepted them as an official artist for a second year in a row. VENTS Magazine said "he's got star-power that he's just starting to tap into" while SKOPE Magazine said Diaz "is well on his way to breaking into the mainstream."
Buenos Diaz is a revolving door of exploratory musicians who find a common ground in self expression. Past and current members have included a who's who of Austin and Houston sideman and women in Jeff Olson (White Denim, Balmorhea, Suzanna Choffel), Mark Henne (Leopold and His Fiction, Black Joe Lewis) Greg Clifford (White Denim), Damien Llanes (Nick Curran, Marcia Ball), Matt Johnson (Mike Zito, Mike Stinson, Hadden Sayers), Stephen Bidwell (Black Pumas), and Nico Leophonte (Fabulous Thunderbirds) on drums. Sam Powell on keyboards (Eric Tessemer, Western Youth, Black Joe Lewis) and Mike Saint Clair (Okerrvil River, Polyphonic Spree, White Denim), Mark Riddell (Mike Stinson, Mighty Orq), Brandon Taylor, and Dana Marie Wygmans on upright bass.
With new releases queued up for the remainder of 2020 and the next year and a half, some produced by Grammy award winners, some self-produced, there's plenty more to come from Buenos Diaz.