RIP Octavio Hernández, Tijuana Journalist and Underground Icon

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On Monday May 25, Octavio Hernández, known to friends and acquaintances as “Bibliorock”, passed away from respiratory arrest, according to his family. The news broke on Facebook. He was 55 years-old.

Hernández was an emblematic figure of the Tijuana music scene, having moved to the city over 30 years ago and taking on a center stage role during historic events. He did El Arca de Neón radio show on the Fusión 102.5FM station, where he focused on the local scene, having then-upstart bands as guests, including Tijuana No!, Nona Delichas, Nósis, and many more. He was a scene booster like few others, bringing some of those bands to play Mexico City for the first time on the La Frontera Aquí festival in the 90s. He was also editor of the TijuaNEO magazine, and a journalist who contributed to L.A. newspaper La Opinión, and magazines including L.A. Weekly, Pulse Latino, Círculo Mixup, La Olla Express, Retila, and others. He is author of two books: “Tijuana-Mesopotamia: Crónicas y Otros Latidos”, and “Cornucopia: Periodismo Sonoro y Anexos”.

He’s survived by his life partner Rosalba Velasco. At the time of his death, Bibliorock was raising funds for Rosalba, since she suffers a rare condition. The crowdsourcing project is still going and Velasco could use your help. Click here to donate.

Tijuana music is mourning the loss of one of their own, and Mexican journalism will miss a tireless figure that did so much to ensure his scene was heard. Unsurprisingly, many of the people he touched, musicians and friends who were guests on his radio show or who saw him around concerts, have been sharing their memories and thoughts on Octavio. Here are a few of them.

Un minuto de sonido…

Octavio Hernandez
(1959 – 2015)

Octavio Hernandez took Tijuana’s alternative music scene and put it on the map at a national scale. He dedicated his life to promoting Tijuana’s local alternative scene. His love for the Tijuana underground was unconditional and he was very persistent, never taking no for an answer. “Este es el año !!!,” he used to tell us with lots of enthusiasm.

Personally, without Octavio my life would’ve been much different as a young man growing up in Tijuana. In the early 90s when I was 20 years-old he booked us – Mexican Jumping Frijoles – to open shows for legendary bands like Tijuana No, La Lupita, Santa Sabina, Cuca and Seguridad Social (just to mention a few). These were some of our first gigs! Imagine that, I’m 20 years-old, I start a band with my friends and we start playing Tijuana, Ensenada and Mexicali as the opening act of some of Mexico’s finest in front of thousands of people. And just to top it off, he would always play our songs on his legendary radio show “El Arca de Neon.” Thank you Tavo!

I will always be grateful for his support, friendship, knowledge and for his passion for musical culture. Everybody has a story about Octavio, he was the kind of guy that would mingle, interact with everyone and wrap you with that music passion. Its really hard to accept we lost our Afro man! Maestro de Maestros ese Maestro!

– Alfonso Nakamura
Mexican Jumping Frijoles.


Mi querido Octarock Aka Bibliorock:

Some of the first memories I have with the Doctor/Medico/Galeno (as we use to call each other dearly) are from my adolescence, when I used to go to rock shows in Tijuana at places like El Rio Rita, Mexitlan and Iguanas with a fake ID (I really remember this last one as I got to see Nirvana there the only time they played Tijuana). I remember I would always see Octavio at the shows and wanted to touch his microphone-shaped Afro which he always wore with pride. I always admired his guts to get in front of thousands of people to introduce some of the biggest bands that ever stepped foot in Tijuana, without knowing that one day we would become friends.

I have dozens of stories and adventures with Octavio but this moment I want to share a very specific one from 1994 at Lollapalooza San Diego. A bunch of friends and I carpooled to the show and settled close to the stage to see The Breeders, but half-way through their first song Kim Deal yelled “FUCK U SAN DIEGO” and left the stage while the crowd booed and started throwing things. I guess she got hit with something. As things started slowing down, we chilled in the middle of the mosh pit area waiting for George Clinton and the P Funk All stars to take the stage. Soon enough, the great Mr. Clinton emerged from a spaceship on stage and we all got up and started dancing, when out of nowhere Mr. Octarock himself showed up, very happy to see us and bearing a joint that made everyone forget the Kim Deal incident. We all formed a circle and took turns dancing in the middle until it was Octavio’s turn and he got a little shy. We pushed him inside the circle and he surprised us again with some of the best air guitar moves I have ever seen. At that very moment, I realized I was looking at a great rock & roll spirit materialized as a Tijuana Legend – our Maestro Octavio Hernandez.

Have a good trip Doctor! To your mothership… in your Arca de Neon.

Salvador Ricalde. (Dj Chucuchu)