Oklahoma City oil and gas man Albert Aguilar is the most atypical musician I’ve ever interviewed. The earth’s natural elements fuel his paycheck; music is more of a hobby for him, despite his EP and upcoming album that would suggest otherwise. I spoke with Aguilar in Dallas late last year during his first national tour alongside British artist Lee MacDougall. We sit down in the green room of Poor David’s (which I always want to call ‘Poor Richard’s’, but that’s a side effect of me being a junkie for The Office) where he hands me a Miller Light. As I set the beer down on the counter, his tour manager enters the sullen room and tries to pay Aguilar the earnings from his performance, but he refuses to accept the cash.
The tour manager places the green in Aguilar’s hand, before being chased down by the musician who tries to shove the money down the manager’s bowling shirt. Muffled, argumentative voices are overheard for a good two minutes as I begin to laugh into my tape recorder. He’s the only musician that I have ever seen refuse money.
“I feel bad, there are a lot of struggling musicians out there. Me, yeah I get paid for [performing], but…” he tells me, his eyes resting on the ground. Aguilar’s day job provides him with something few musicians have: peace of mind and a reconciled checking account. The money doesn’t matter to him. “Yeah, I just like to play,” he confesses.
The men finally settle on an amount of money that Aguilar is comfortable accepting, and he sits down to continue our interview.
Aguilar describes his music as “real and honest.” Says the musican, “I honestly feel like I have something to offer if you really want to listen.” Also, can we talk about how pretty he is? Because, damn.
What does it mean to you, living in Oklahoma City and having a family run, full time job, versus fulfilling your passion? It’s almost like you’re living two….
…separate lives, not to sound like a massive cliché.
I’m really lucky that I’m able to mesh the two together. I have this thing that I’ve done since I was 14 or 15 that I will continue to do, and the fact that I am able do it is just a bonus.
If someone were to tell you that you can either have your oil and gas company, or your music career, and you can’t do the other one ever again, which would you pick?
It would depend on which way I can support my seven-year old boy…
Say it would.
…he’s my life. Say it would? I’d choose music, music is my passion. If I could just play music and support my family without compromising anything else, of course I would choose music.
On this tour, which city has been your favorite?
What is different about Dallas audiences?
[Poor David’s] is awesome, the sound was great and it’s always good to see people that you know in the crowd. It was a good crowd in general, but there are some folks here that I hadn’t seen in a while who came out. It’s great to be in Dallas, the city’s always been supportive of what I do, people have been following me for a number of years, and I always appreciate it.
You started playing music when you were 14. What was the turning point for you when you decided that this is what you wanted to do?
Probably when I could actually play what I was hearing in my head. Am I the greatest guitar player? Absolutely not. [Editor’s note: This is debatable.] But I know my way around a fret board and it’s pretty gratifying.
What other bands from your home state influence you?
Other Lives, they’re from Stillwater, Oklahoma. They’re the most talented band I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Their music is beyond captivating.
Laura Stillo is the Arts & Entertainment Writer and Creative Social Media Producer for YouPlusDallas. Follow her on Twitter at @laurastillo.