Alejandro Escovedo's family tree includes former Santana percussionist Pete Escovedo and Pete's daughter, Sheila E (also Prince's former drummer and later a pop star). He began his music career with The Nuns
, a mid-'70s punk band based in San Francisco. He co-founded the pioneering cowpunk band Rank and File
in 1979, which moved to Austin, Texas, in 1981 after a stint in New York City. The band released Sundown on Slash Records in 1982, but shortly after, Escovedo left to form the True Believers with brother Javier.