So I’m in cloudy, chilly Lima Peru in the dead of winter. Now you’d think I”d be depressed about this fact, being a warm blooded guy who bitches about the cold, but I’m not. I’m happy as hell to be here (ok, ok I did cheat a little bit with a little fun in the sun in the beach town of Mancora on the north coast).
Lima's beach in winter
Lima is huge (over 8.5 million souls) and in many spots (like Miraflores), very modern. There are so many gringos here in Miraflores I thought I was in Delaware or Maine .. actually, that’s unfair, I’ve never been to those places (does Rhode Island count?), but you get the picture. Peru is a major tourist draw and for good reason. It’s August, so there are lots of people from North America, Europe and all over the world visiting.
But mostly I’m fired up about being in Lima because this town has such a legendary rock and punk history. Now I’m not going to get into details about the surf/punk band Los Saicos in the 1960s, who some say was the very first punk band ever. Not yet. But, never fear my fearless one, I will.
What I will get into now is the legendary 80s punk band Narcosis. I was able to catch up with George “Pelo” Madueño, the drummer (and now very successful musician and producer) for “Narcosis” last week.
Now if you don’t know about Narcosis or the 80s punk scene in Lima, well join the club.
I’m still learning as I go along here (and not being able to read Spanish fluently doesn’t help with my research) but here is what I’ve learned so far in speaking with George and others in the punk scene here.
Narcosis and Leusemia were two of the first punk bands in Peru in the 1980s, what some consider to be the 2nd wave of punk in Lima (thanks to above mentioned pioneers Los Saicos in the 1960s).
George AKA "Pelo"
Due to space, time, knowledge and reader attention restraints, here is a ridiculously oversimplified explanation of what was happening at the time.
There were lots of social issues in Lima in the 1980s. The Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path)were at their peak, spreading terrorism and fear. The Peruvian government at the time, one of the most corrupt ever, used this as an excuse to kill countless peasants in the countryside and basically it was a very dark period for the country.
Out of this sprung Punk music including the band Narcosis. Narcosis was short lived having been only active for a little over a year and only put out one tape (back then it was a tape not CD youngsters). But that tape was so good, so influential, that Narcosis is still asked to play together today in parts of Peru.They do so from time to time.
I had first heard of Narcosis when in Medellin, where the band played just a few years ago (their only tour outside of Peru). Uncharacteristically (at least in my recent experiences there) things got out of hand, the police came in riot gear and got aggressive with the crowd and one person was actually killed. Beyond this, I don’t know many details.
But suffice it to say that Narcosis still is, amazingly when you consider how short of a time they were actually together, a very influential punk band, in Latin Ameria and beyond.
Now rather than me tell you all about it, I thought I’d try something new and post a little raw (unedited) video clip of my interview with George for you to see.
I’ve also posted a you tube video so you can get a taste of this band’s music. This one is called “Sucio Policia” (Dirty Police).
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Thanks to George (Pelo) for taking the time for the interview and for graciously agreeing to be interviewed in English.
And stay tuned, just getting started here in Lima, Peru.. and I think I actually saw a glimpse of the sun yesterday. Things are looking up.