Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, here's a few tracks from L.A. bands playing...punk mariachi? How is such a thing possible? One style is electric, fast 2/4 or 4/4 beats, hard drumming, modern, angry and cynical, and originally sung in English; the other is seemingly the complete opposite: acoustic, slow, in 3/4 time, no drums, traditional, and sentimental. You may be a rock'n'roller, but if you've grown up in Los Angeles, you're part Mexican, even if you're not. (Like how Lenny Bruce said that everyone in New York is Jewish, even if you're not.)
L.A. rock has pretty much always been influenced by Mexican folk music. Apart from actual Latino acts (Richie Valens, El Chicano, Los Lobos, etc), non-Latino rockers have sported south-of-the-border influences since at least the days of The Champs' "Tequila" and beach-party bands like The Surfaris, whose "Latin Beat" is one of my faves; Dick Dale plays a mean mariachi trumpet when he isn't guitar shredding. And it's gone from the '60s (Love's "Alone Again Or"), the '70s (War), the '80s (The Minutemen's "Corona") right up to this loco bunch:
Punk Mariachi! - A MusicForManiacs Mix (6 songs)
- Carne Asada "Cielito Lindo": White punks on jokes; this is their (piss-)take on the most famous mariachi standard, "Ay Ay Ay;" from their album "Full Contact Mariachi." Muy silly!
- Mariachi El Bronx: "Litigation," & "Clown Powder;" two from actual hardcore band The Bronx (Angelenos despite their name) who made a sincere transformation into mariachi, replacing electric guitars with horns; even tho they've retained drums and English lyrics, it's still hard to believe that these moving songs are by the same guys I saw convincingly play Black Flag in the Darby Crash/Germs bio-pic "What We Do Is Secret."
- Los Super Elegantes "Por Que te Vas": this co-ed crew was the first band I heard use the term "punk mariachi," but in a tongue-in-cheek way, I'd say - it's more like bilingual indie pop. Mi mucho gusto this tune.
- Metalachi "Breaking The Law": I wrote about these heavy metal pranksters back in 2010.
- Mariachi Rock-o "Ben": This isn't rock, this isn't even really mariachi; it is pure kitsch; from their ridiculous album "Sonidos de Jalisco," featuring remakes of classics by Bowie, John Lennon, the Eagles, Marvin Gaye, and this cover of Michael Jackson's touching ode to a killer rat.