SiriusXM’s Jose Mangin loves any excuse to return to Arizona. The ambassador all-things heavy metal is the keynote speaker at this year’s Mesa Music Festival.
“It’ll be cool to see family and friends and get to talk to Arizona music fans in a cool, different setting that’s not just surrounded by heavy metal,” Mangin says via telephone from San Francisco on his way to Metallica Headquarters.
“It’s a cool festival with lots of different genres. I just want to say thank you to Arizona and to maybe even inspire Arizona kids to do something awesome with their lives.”
From Thursday, November 14, to Saturday, November 16, the Mesa Music Festival brings hundreds of bands from across the county and beyond to Downtown Mesa to learn from some of the best. From music publishers to record label executives, bands get to meet one-on-one and attend workshops led by professional who can help give them a head start in the business. Throughout the weekend, bands perform at several venues throughout downtown Mesa where industry professional can see them in action.
Besides Mangin, the other industry experts include:
- Mark “Weissguy” Weiss: World-renowned rock photographer for Circus magazine who has photographed Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few.
- Alex Gilbert, talent agent from Artery Global. Clients include Drowning Pool, Guttermouth and Taproot along with more than 250 other artists.
- Stacy Nupoff, talent buyer for Mesa Amphitheatre.
Mangin will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 14, in room 3 of the Mesa Convention Center, Building A, 263 N. Center Street. For a complete schedule, visit mesamusicfest.com.
A family thing
Mangin was born in 1977 at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He and his family lived in Phoenix, Sierra Vista and Tucson before settling in Douglas.
He was introduced to metal by older cousins when he was in kindergarten.
“They had a room in the back shack with cool metal posters,” Mangin recalls. “I thought, ‘Wow. That looks awesome. What is that?’ There was a big metal scene in Douglas.
“There were a bunch of long-haired dudes. There wasn’t anything in Douglas other than Mexican music, cowboy boots, Mexican language, and super, super Mexican dudes and chicks—then there were the in-betweens, who leaned toward rock and metal.”
His first concert was Iron Maiden and Anthrax at Compton Terrace, south of Chandler, in 1992. Mangin left school and took a bus from Douglas to Tucson, where he met his cousin and a friend. They drove to Compton Terrace, and took the same route back.
“It was a big deal,” he says with a laugh.
Mangin wanted to attend other shows, but his parents weren’t too keen on it.
“I tried to go to other metal shows,” he says. “I wanted to go to Clash of the Titans, but I couldn’t go. I was too young. I didn’t have the means to do any of that. We were very poor as well.”
To commemorate his first concert, Paul Booth’s Tattoo Parlor inked “Persistence of Time” on the back of his leg as Anthrax watched. It was during an episode of Headbangers Ball, which he has hosted since 2011.
After graduating high school with a perfect GPA, he attended University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in chemistry, thanks to a full-ride scholarship. He then headed to Tennessee to pursue a doctorate.
While at the UA, he served as music director of KAMP, the studio radio station.
“Arizona is what made me into the metal person I am today,” says Mangin, who has family in the East Valley. “I love giving credit to Arizona. I wear Arizona jewelry. I always have my stuff that I bought in Bisbee or Scottsdale. I have Native American jewelry, and turquoise jewelry. When people compliment me on my jewelry, I tell them it’s from Arizona. I’m proud—and quick—to point out where I’m from and bring it up in conversation.”
Speaking of conversations, Mangin isn’t quite sure what he’s going to discuss at the Mesa Music Festival.
“I never really prepare for anything like this,” he says with a laugh. “I just do it off the cuff. That’s always something that works for me. It doesn’t work for everybody.
“I feel like I’m going to talk about how I got to where I’m at, how important Arizona was to that mission. I’d also like to talk about how beautiful and life changing heavy metal is. It might even ease some parents’ minds in the audience about heavy metal music. ‘This guy’s positive. He went to college. He could have been a pharmacist. Now he’s a metal guy.’ I’m a metal ambassador—pushing and promoting the music in a beautiful, awesome way.”