Producer A.B. Quintanilla Shares Message for Vaccines on a Visit to GRIC

Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


Tejano superstar producer A.B. Quintanilla made a stop in the Community for a concert to impart words on how COVID-19 has affected his life.  Quintanilla has been visiting the Community for the last nine years and hopes to encourage vaccinations within the Community, which he calls his “Rez Family.”


“My Gila River Rez family, we all have decisions we have to make. I am not here to tell you to do something you don’t want to do, but from personal experience, getting vaccinated is a good thing,” said Quintanilla. “And the sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can go back to being normal again, and that’s what I want to see.



During his visit, Quintanilla shared the story of his best friend Noe “Gipper” Nieto’s tragic passing on Sept.11. Nieto was a fellow musician and accordion player for his bands The Kumbia Kings and Kumbia Kings All Starz, spanning 25 years. Reflecting on the loss, Quintanilla compared Gipper’s passing to that of his younger sister, legendary Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, in 1995.



“Recently, I lost a brother to Coronavirus. He [Nieto] opted not to get the vaccination, and unfortunately for that decision, he is no longer here with us,” said Quintanilla. “These are decisions we all have to make ourselves, you can’t be forced to do it, but I opted to do it because of the fact that I’m in contact with a lot of people with my job.”



Quintanilla talked in detail about losing Nieto. “I’m telling you from personal experience, I have seen what this virus can do,” he said. “I’m with my friend [Nieto] performing in Vegas, he comes home, quarantines, two days later he’s in the hospital. A couple days later he’s intubated, then life support and then he went just like that in the blink of an eye.”


While many remain hesitant about getting a vaccination, Quintanilla strongly encourages the Community to consider getting the shot.

For Quintanilla, the decision to vaccinate was not a question for him. Throughout his career, Quintanilla realized how often he comes into close contact with people. From musicians, fans, and in concert settings, he said he is no stranger to catching colds or eye infections from brief encounters with fans.



When Quintanilla learned of the Community’s vaccination efforts, he implored anyone considering a vaccination to take advantage of the Mobile Vaccination Unit events. He also reminded Community members that while we have vaccines easily available, countries like Mexico are not so fortunate.


“If you decide a vaccination is for you,” he said, “there are the MVUs that will answer any questions you have and also give you a vaccination.”