Wednesday , September 27 2023
Credit: Pat Cuadros

Fan EXPO Boston: Danny Trejo on his Restaurants and Record Label

Danny Trejo dropped by Fan EXPO Boston, treating fans to an informative panel on August 6. The 79-year-old actor had plenty to discuss about his career, which has grown beyond acting into culinary pursuits and music.

Trejo (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn, Predators) has been to Boston before and thinks highly of the local cuisine. He said, “I used to tease Ben Affleck about the way he said chowdah. I love chowdah. The food is unbelievable.”

Danny Trejo: Taco Expert

He’s the right person to ask about food, as he currently owns Trejo’s Tacos. His other food and beverage interests include Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts and Trejo’s Cerveza, which are thriving, too. In April, he published a new book called Trejo’s Cantina.

Trejo’s Tacos has been around since 2016, and is expanding overseas. Trejo will need those frequent flyer miles when he checks in at each location. “We have a great time in Los Angeles. We opened one in Detroit and then one in London.”

He always emphasizes that the secret to his success is simple: preparing good food. “I’ve never asked somebody, ‘Would you like to go to this restaurant? They have really shitty food!'”

Danny Trejo: “Bad Choice Kid” to Actor

Trejo left prison in 1969, but he didn’t find his way to acting for a number of years. He began with a gardening business. “I worked in a wrecking yard, and then I started working in recovery. I became a drug counselor and opened up some recovery houses.”

And he still works in recovery through Western Pacific Rehab. Being a drug counselor put him in the right place at the right time: In 1985, he visited a friend on the set of Runaway Train, where he was hired as an extra. After that, he spent five years playing nameless characters. Trejo joked that his credits included inmate #1, bad guy, mean guy, real mean guy, meaner guy, and so on.

“The first time I had a name was in a movie called Penitentiary III. I played See Veer. The next movie I did was Death Wish 4 with Charles Bronson. Wow! I thought I’d made it. It don’t get better than this, but I sure have.” 

On His Memoir

In 2022, Simon and Schuster released his memoir, Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood. Trejo said, “For 10 years, people said, ‘Write your memoir.’ First of all, I had to look up what ‘memoir’ meant.”

However, finding someone to write it with him posed quite a challenge. He didn’t think that the writers he met were a good fit for the book. “I would say something and they’d say, ‘Oh, you mean prolific.’ No, I mean a bunch! With words, very few people got how I talked.”

That is, except for actor Donal Logue. Trejo and Logue became friends while working on Reindeer Games, a film starring Ben Affleck. As they wrote a little together later on, Trejo felt that this collaboration with Logue could work. “He was the first person who ever kind of captured or wrote how I talk.”

Photo of Danny Trejo holding a microphone and speaking with the moderator
Danny Trejo’s panel at Fan EXPO Boston (Credit: Pat Cuadros)

On His Music

Beyond food and acting, Trejo loves music. One artist that he really likes is Baby Bash, whom he met 30 years ago. “I listened to him throughout the years, and then he did a song called ‘Suga, suga, how you get so fly?'”

Still, Trejo was surprised to hear his daughter singing the song one day. He visited his mother, who was also singing it. “Then I go to my grandma’s and I heard ‘Azúcar, azúcar.’ 

He started a label called Trejo’s Music in 2019. Longtime friend Baby Bash is on it, as well as artists Frankie J, Amoraa, Tara New and Cota the Barber.

Follow Danny Trejo on Twitter for his latest acting, music and culinary updates.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros frequently covers theater and television for Blogcritics Magazine. Her portfolio includes interviews with Ndaba Mandela and actors Juliette Binoche, Fran Drescher and Derek Jacobi. She's also spoken with notable voice actors Petrea Burchard, Garry Chalk, Peter Cullen and Brian Drummond.

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