By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
When Dominique Hinojosa made his 2020 New Year’s resolutions, at the top of the list was writing a new song.
On January 3, he started that project with the support of musicians within his circle of friends. The result is the single “Save the Day,” with former Dokken and Ted Nugent drummer “Wild” Mick Brown under the name Ceasar’s Fall.
“My last (original) song was 2018,” says Hinojosa, who performs under the name Cabo Dom and Sons of Kaos for covers. “Before that, it was 20 years ago.”
For “Save the Day,” the Cave Creek musician worked with bassist Chris Catero (Marty Friedman, Bourbon Ballet); fellow guitarist Brian Buzard and singer Bobby Sisk from Drop Diezel.
“Chris and Bobby worked on the melodies and Chris wrote the lyrics,” Hinojosa says. “He asked what the song was about, and I said what’s going on this year and all the uncertainty—without being political about it. No one really knows everything—that’s the only thing we know for sure when you have doctors arguing with each other.”
Hinojosa grew up in the 1980s San Diego-LA Sunset Strip music scene, which inspired him to learn guitar and start the band Stallion. When Nirvana and grunge music became prevalent, Hinojosa quit playing guitar for nearly 20 years.
“Out of the gates, I put together this great band,” Hinojosa says about Stallion. “It was easy to write originals back then, but after 20 years off, I needed to be inspired.”
While working for 24 Hour Fitness, Hinojosa moved to Scottsdale to open several clubs in the state. In the Valley, he met Brown and asked, innocently, if he could jam with him. Much to Hinojosa’s surprise, Brown said yes.
“I ran into Mick at a blues bar and introduced myself,” Hinojosa says. “I know this sounds silly, but I asked him if he ever jams while he’s in town. He gave me his number, but he said he was on tour with Lynch Mob and Ted Nugent.
“I gave him a call after the tour and he answered the phone, which, looking back, I can’t believe he did that. He set up a bass player, and through that relationship I’ve been able to play with a lot of musicians. Mick really helped me get my name out there and inspired me to make my own band.”
Hinojosa began managing Brown, and the two formed Bourbon Ballet. Brown’s original band and Hinojosa’s act, the Sons of Kaos, performed their first show at Ramona Main Stage in San Diego.
Also on Hinojosa’s resume is a stint booking local/support bands for BLK Live in Scottsdale. He hit the stage with Don Dokken and Brown during the singer’s solo set at BLK Live.
Brown and Catero have been constants in Hinojosa’s life since he moved to the Valley. The trio, along with vocalist Tony Noyes, recorded the 2018 song “Suicide Love.” (The song and “Save the Day” are part of a trilogy that Hinojosa hopes to finish in 2021.)
It was only natural to ask Brown and Catero to help him again. The process started with scratch tracks on Hinojosa’s iPad. He took those recordings to Brown to “get the juices flowing.”
“He changed some things around, like a couple licks and placement,” says Hinojosa, who worked with Ratt guitarist Jordan Ziff of Scottsdale to hone his skills.
“It got to the point where we were satisfied with it in January. We brought it to Chris, and Chris changed the chorus and verse around. We stuck with that.”
There was still one missing piece: the lick for the breakdown with the drums. Hinojosa sent it back to Buzard, who had an immediate idea.
“After the bass was done and we were done with the guitar, Brian added a layer on top of mine,” he says. “I like that sound, like Guns N’ Roses, of two different guitar players playing different parts, but it sounds great together. He layered his own licks on top of mine.”
Problems related to COVID-19 delayed the project, but, still, the missing link was the vocals. In July, Catero recommended Sisk, who laid down the vocals.
Hinojosa peppers his conversation with references to the Mark Wahlberg film “Rock Star.” He jokes that he was fired from his own San Diego band, like Wahlberg’s character, Chris “Izzy” Cole.
“Save the Day” hearkens Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. Kennedy appears in “Rock Star.”
“I think the single is cool,” Hinojosa says. “If I was to label it, I would say it sounds like Steel Dragon from ‘Rock Star,’ with Bobby (Sisk’s) voice. It’s kind of Steel Dragon meets Slash with Myles Kennedy. We have the two-guitar player thing. It’s heavy, but I’m really happy with the way it came out. It inspired me to do more.
“I’ve had a lot of great feedback from musicians and friends who are really hard critics. They said they didn’t like the last song as much as this one. I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it. That’s the biggest thing. I’m really lucky to be surrounded by great musicians.”
Dominique Hinojosa, cabodomrock.com, ceasarsfall.hearnow.com.