Calexico, a Tucson collective of musicians focused around Joey Burns and John Convertino, forged an eclectic identity through their exploration of Southwestern culture. Composer Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Westerns as well as Portuguese fado, Afro-Peruvian music, and '50s and '60s jazz, country, and surf music all factored into Calexico's music. Burns studied classical music at the University of California, Irvine, before starting his rock career, and Calexico formed after Burns met John Convertino in Los Angeles in 1990. At the time, Convertino had been playing with Howe Gelb's experimental rock group Giant Sand after serving as their upright bassist for a European tour. Burns and Convertino found their voice as a duo during a Giant Sand break, moved to Tucson in 1994, and began collecting instruments from the Chicago Music Store.