2014-Present – Big Chief Juan “Carlos” Pardo
2014 – 2004 – Big Chief Wallace Pardo
The Renaissance Chief:
Big Chief Juan is considered a young chief, but his journey and experiences in and outside of this culture makes his approach to this culture steeped in tradition but fueled by innovation and evolution. During this interview, I came across in conversation two instances that paint the picture of this Renaissance Chief. First instance, tradition: Chief Juan masked his first year as Spy Boy for his older brother Wallace and first Chief of the Golden Comanche. Chief Wallace having permission to start his tribe from his former Chief, Eugene “Pepe” Esteban of the Golden Eagle Tribe.
Chief took Chief Wallace and then Spy Boy Juan around (to all chiefs at the time) to be introduced and given the blessing to start his tribe. Second instance, the music (2 parts): Another incredible once in a lifetime experience, Chief Juan goes on tour for 7 years with two of the musical legends in this culture. Bo Dollis, Monk Boudreaux and Lionel Batiste Jr. add that to his well-known time with “No Limit” records in its height and you see he is uniquely positioned to take this culture and its music into an evolution. Second part making this truly a rebirth, is his work collaborating with uptown and downtown Chiefs (Kentrell Watson, Jeremy Stevenson, Romeo Bougere and himself) for the album “Voices of the Nation”. That is how the flame is lite to lead the way of the rebirth. When one has been handed the tradition, and trained by the true culture barriers and they embody it, and translates it to their everyday life and become successful doing that. Then they in turn GIVE the knowledge back to the culture for its growth. That is the definition of cultural renaissance and that is the mission this Chief is on.
Q) How do you represent this culture outside of the traditional celebrations i.e. St. Joseph Night?
A) I’m performing really around the world. Wherever there is a thirst for the knowledge of the City and its culture and it’s the proper setting and respectful setting for us to be there. Then I’ll accept the date and travel and allow people to experience what we do here in our culture, the Black Masking Culture. I’ve always been in the music business in some way, shape, form or faction. From the hip hop side where I started, but my mission, on the musical side, was to just convey this music as a continuance from the road that was created for us. Obviously, the lane was open with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Big Chief Bo Dollis. Just seeing, there was so much room for growth. So many things I saw in the lane that could be done with what they had created for us to take advantage of and that is something I automatically gravitated towards. I already had been recording hip hop artist from my stint of time in Atlanta in the industry. Being home in New Orleans allowed me to totally express myself threw the culture and what I would like to think is to express the music in my own specific way and convey it in a slightly different way many others have done it.
Q) Your tribes name Golden Comanche pays homage to whom?
A) The golden part paying homage to the kinship of Golden Arrow. So, with being a new birth of a new tribe being done properly and being respectfully done with a blessing from that prior Chief (Eugene” Pepe” Esteban), my brother kept golden part to show tribal linage from Golden Arrow which is common in many names in uptown masking tribes. Comanche comes from horse riders and their knowledge and some of my Hispanic blood line, with my grandfather coming here from Panama threw Mexico and actually interacting with the Comanche of Texas and Louisiana.
Q) What positions did you hold in tribe before Big Chief?
A) I was Spy Boy originally for the tribe. From Spy Boy I did War Chief, from War Chief to First Chief and from First Chief to Big Chief.
Q) What did moving up the positions do for you?
A) Coming through the ranks the way I did, for me, it did for me what a General gets and gains in the military. I got stripes I got medals in the sense of what I put time in and I gain education at another level, it’s just like getting a bachelors and a masters. It’s the same scenario.
Q) What are your thoughts on statues coming down across America?
A) I applaud “Take ‘Em Down Nola” ……., man can we get that machine on the next phase though?
Glenn, I hope that they would take this (Black Masking Culture) as that next phase.
Continued- because that was a victory for the baby boomers. My generation G-X we can’t celebrate them statues coming down. That wasn’t our victory. We ain’t did ours, because our victory comes in economics. Feel what I’m saying. Economics. That is the battle for Generation X to win. We have yet to win our battle.
Q) What are your thoughts on the monetizing of this culture by its participants?
A) It’s going to happen to you, so might as well make it happen for you. Let me elaborate on that. We are going to be turned into a commodity in this day and age. In this area whether we like it or not. And it has been happening to us for years, it’s just now we are more informed. We are just better educated. What I do is look at everything that is being done, then I look at a lane no one is going down. Then I make that my lane.