Hailing from East Los Angeles, California, Los Lobos have been bringing Tex-Mex rockability to every man, woman, and child who ever howled to the moon for more. All the original Lobos – David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Louis PÇrez, Steve Berlin and Conrad Lozano – had been fast friends before their stylistic fusion of Latin rock, folk and blues. Being down to earth and extremely talented isn’t a given, though – Louie PÇrez tells of the real, hidden strength behind the band, and how hard they work to stay the alpha dogs of the game.
Since 1973, the boys have experimented and honed their sounds and skills, beginning as a rock band and evolving into the Latin-rock powerhouse they are today.
“For us, it’s always innovation. We don’t try to be different, but we very seldom repeat ourselves,” PÇrez explained.
With their popularly received and highly praised album The Town and the City released in 2006, Los Lobos have shown no signs of slowing down. Ranked number 10 of 30 best albums of 2006 by Metacritic.com, a Web site that compiles critic ratings, the disc features a fresh and distinctive Lobos flavor, proving we’re far from the days of “La Bamba.” And as a tribute to their musical evolution and previous years spent exploring genres such as country, folk, latin, rock and blues, there’s a little something for everyone.
“We started off just out of high school as rock and roll guys, then we put down our straps and spent 10 years exploring Mexican folkloric music,” said PÇrez.
Very few musicians have had the solid foundation and success that Los Lobos have left as a legacy to their name since they began in the early ’70s. Rock history is notoriously ridden with band breakups and feuds, but for Los Lobos, it’s nothing of the sort – this November, the band will have been together for 35 years.
“We’ve been friends forever. That’s what keeps us together,” explained PÇrez. “It gets rocky at times. We’ve gotta work our way through. That’s what’s great about a family like this, when things get tough, we all hang together. We get through it.”
The release of The Town and the City did not disappoint fans, and their cross-country tour is giving followers another reason to salivate. Next weekend, a little bit of California will come to CU for the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, and it’s time to get excited for their live show.
“There will be songs from all our records, and of course, songs from our newest record,” PÇrez said. “We do some of our favorite cover songs; we just have fun with it.”
At Wall to Wall, Los Lobos expect to see the familiar faces of Buddy Guy, Jon McLaughlin and Sonny Landreth, who were also recently featured at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. But, while Los Lobos have shared the stage with many of their favorite bands and artists – Bob Dylan is just one name on the elite list – they’ve undoubtedly remained down to earth.
“We’ve met some artists that we’d never met before but we were always fans of, and we’re surprised when they say that they’re fans of our music as well. For us, it’s an incredible compliment,” said PÇrez.
And although the touring can be difficult and draining, they stay pumped for every performance along the way.
“I have to stress that no matter how tough it gets, we stay grateful. We have great jobs,” said PÇrez enthusiastically about their months on the road.
According to PÇrez, Los Lobos were put on this planet to play music, but inspiration for it comes from many different places. Recently, they recorded with other members of rock royalty for the Tipatina’s Foundation (www.tipitinasfoundation.org) to help save the musical culture of New Orleans. Showing that they can make a difference in the world is what keeps Los Lobos in the spotlight.
“I think it’s a good thing that artists rally around a cause,” said PÇrez, “If you get a little bit of notoriety, you can always turn it around and help someone else.”
With big hearts and big dreams, the legend of Los Lobos has only grown over time. With nearly 35 years of musical expertise and multiple Grammy awards to boot, their upcoming performance is too sweet a thing to miss out on, so make sure to be there as the rock legends walk among us in CU.
Try to catch Los Lobos at Krannert Center next Friday, September 14. Tickets are currently unavailable to the general public (though some are available for students), but for more details, visit www.krannertcenter.com.