He’s been a car salesman, a furniture salesman, a radio DJ, a husband, father and grandfather.
But he’s also traveled all over Texas with his Tejano Country Party Machine, playing parties, quinceañeras, wedding anniversaries and, yes, even a pet wedding.
“I played for, would you believe, a pet show,” Montez laughs, remembering the event.
“And there were two dogs getting married. And they had them dressed up as the groom and bride. And I played for that.”
And with a lifetime of memories and laughs and good times, it’s with a heavy heart that he chose to call it quits.
“It’s because I’m getting tired of it, and my wife is definitely getting tired of it.
“My wife doesn’t want to stay by herself every Saturday night while I’m out there working. It was fun, but it’s hard, hard work.”
Montez started out in radio, spinning 33 and 45 records back in 1979 at KIBL, which is now Kicker 106 here in Beeville.
Montez remembered fondly, “I had a passion for radio since I was 15 or 16 years old.
“When I was growing up, there was this radio station in Corpus called KWW, and it was border to border. You could listen to it in Mexico and in Canada.
“And this guy named Genero Tamez, he could do Shakespeare in Spanish; he was so awesome, and when I think of him it brings tears to my eyes, because I admire him so much.
He eventually made it to the radio station and got himself a part-time job.
“So, March of 1979 is when I first hit the radio, and I stayed there until 1993.
“The first thing he [Jose Andrada] taught me was how to say “meteorologist” in Spanish, and it was hard for me to do that.
“But I learned, and I learned how to do the weather.”
And in 1993, he hung up his mic and ran for public office, and about a year later, missing the music he played night after night, he decided to form Tejano Country Party Machine.
“With Tejano Country Party Machine, we went to a lot of places.
“We played in Houston, San Antonio and Corpus many times.”
But, Montez has been slowing down. Though he enjoys the business immensely, traveling every Saturday and coming home late can be a bit burdensome.
Along with other, slightly high-spirited problems.
“Having to deal with people, especially when you go to a place where you’re up against people under the influence can get interesting,” he laughed.
“I’m going to be 73 on the 25th of this month.
“A 73-year-old man DJing for a quinceañera.
“You don’t see that very often.”
But Montez has honed his craft well and has done and learned a lot during his tenure as master chief of the local DJ scene.
“Not taking anything away from the DJs out there nowadays, and I wish them well, but nobody can say that they played at the country club on Saturday afternoon and then at night played at a beer joint in Skidmore.
“Nobody can say that.
“If it’s a quinceañera, definitely you’re going to entertain the younger crowd, but what about the parents that are there?
“You have to entertain them. And what about the grandparents that went there? You have to remember them.
“And that’s what I do. And people think I do a good job at that.”
And having to deal with kids during all the graduation parties and quinceañeras still hasn’t fazed Montez one bit.
Surely, he’s seen his share of crazy, wild teens getting down on the dance floor or requesting strange new songs, but Montez always take it all with a large grin.
“I just did a quinceañera where I had more fun than they did.
“I played at a wedding where the bride wanted hip-hop.
“And we were doing the dollar dance, and there were older folks there that wanted to dance with the bride.
“How do older folks like me dance to that?”
And his humor and good nature may be why he can practically call the entire town of Beeville his friend.
“I take a lot of pride in my friends. I have a lot of friends. Everywhere I go.”
And that extends beyond the Texas border as well.
“We were going to visit my sister in Alabama one day, and we were going through Louisiana, and we stopped at this place in Hammond, La., for the night.
“I walked into the hotel and filled out the form and wrote my name and gave it to the clerk.
“And the lady said, ‘I knew that was you! I used to serve you breakfast at L&M Cafe downtown in Beeville.’
“It was her hometown and, sure enough, there was someone there that knew me.”
And what are his plans for his newly found free time?
“Well, it so happens that my daughter is making me a grandfather again,” he said.
“We have three granddaughters, and she’s expecting another in July.
Montez joked, “So I figure we’re going to be going to Houston on weekends and spoil the heck out of that baby.”
But the sadness from walking away from the business comes with it’s perks.
“My wife’s very happy. Just seeing her happy is good enough for me. And that is wonderful.
“I’m going to spend a lot of time at home and visit my friends and have a good time.”
And watching Montez talk about leaving a profession he has loved for so long is like watching two lifelong friends part ways.
“I am going to miss all the crowds, all the Saturday nights.
“All the music. The Tejano music is in my blood.”
And with tears in his eyes and a choked throat, he sat, looking down remembering all the memories he’s made as well as friend’s company he’s enjoyed and said what he will miss the most.
Ruben Montez’s final gig will be Saturday, Feb. 19, at 9 p.m. in Skidmore at Al’s Friendly Drive In, 517 County Road 619.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.