Salsa Con Espiritu from Erben Perez


The bassist for Marc Anthony’s band – Mr. Erben Perez – is a cool dude who has more up his sleeve than meets the eye. Groomed on rock and R&B, a friend got him listening to salsa. Serendipity nodded her head and connections were made…25 years later, he’s still plucking strings and grooving out with megastar Marc Anthony.

Erben founded his own label, Trista Records, and one of his songs has been nominated for a Grammy.

Were you always interested in piano and bass?

Yes, since the age of four I fantasized about being up on stage and performing for my classmates. My parents just couldn’t afford to buy any instruments so I would make my own with boxes and whatever string I could find. It wasn’t until I was 13 when my dad received his first credit card in the mail…he felt really bad that I was so into music and I didn’t have anything. Mind you, he didn’t know the difference between a guitar and a bass. He came home with a green hollow body bass, which he thought was a guitar, and a small amplifier.

My mom was furious. She told him that he just wasted money on something that I will never use. Well long story short, she was wrong! So I thank my dad for introducing the bass into my life. Love you Dad! 

What was the path that got you into Marc Anthony’s band?

It was in the mid- to late 80’s when I was really into playing. I have always been into rock and R&B. One day a friend turned me on to salsa! I was so intrigued by the bass style and at the time Sal Cuevas was the innovator of the sound on the bass. He was playing slap bass and funk on most of the productions that were out.

I started following and studying him. There weren’t too many bass players out there doing this stuff. I started to do salsa gigs and began to get calls from a lot of these artists who wanted that style. Well, Marc Anthony had just recorded his first CD and another well-known bassist by the name Ruben Rodriguez who recorded it was unable to do the shows Marc had. He heard about me and decided to give me a call. I went down to audition and there were two other well-known bassists there to audition for the same part.

I got the call-back. I’m still there after 25 years!

What’s the most important thing that a bass player has to keep in mind with a high-profile band?

First thing is stay humble. Be thankful for the opportunities given. Have a good attitude and be secure about yourself and your abilities. Also remember you are out there for a reason. 

What’s the biggest challenge in the band: the touring, rehearsals, etc.?

My biggest challenge has been, and still remains, that we always get tossed new music right before a TV show and concerts. We always have to be on point. It happens all the time. 

Some of your favorite songs?

Hard to say because I love them all but when we do some rock songs like “Hotel California” or “Faithfully” it brings me back to my rock days. I have lots of great memories playing great songs.

When did you form Talking Buddha, and who are the band members?

That was from a time when I wanted to get into my rock days. It was more like jam sessions. Mario Guini is now Marc’s guitarist. He decided to write some songs and just record them to see what comes out. We added a drummer, Marco Britti, and formed Talking Buddha. It was a mix of Staind, Linkin Park, Nickelback and some old-school sounds. We recorded our first CD and started gigging while Marc took his break. We were even featured on Jennifer Lopez’s Production. Marc started working and that was that. I really miss those days! I am considering forming the group again. 

Where will you be touring for the rest of 2017? 

We have been touring for the past 25 years! Marc tours every year. This year we did Mexico, Colombia and the USA. 

Any big plans for 2018?

I will continue doing what I love best and that’s making music.

Other comments?

I am currently running a record label, Trista Records, and one of the songs has been nominated for a Grammy. So you see it hasn’t been that bad!! I’m still kicking it!

For more information, visit

Photos courtesy of and with permission of the artist.

(c) Debbie Burke 2017

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