July 10th, 2010 – Castilla, Sin Armas (Disarm) / Medellin, Colombia
This was my first time being on stage with Los Suziox as they played live and what a trip it was. The view from the stage of the crazed fans, the circle pit and the rain pouring down the whole time was pretty intense.
Everyone was yelling out for their favorite song in the brief pauses between performances, but Andres and the gang kept things moving pretty fast, ripping through 10 or so songs, including some of my favorites like “Revoluccion” (Revolution), “Armas Silenciosas” (Silent Arms) and this little ditty “Perfeccion” (Perfection) which I recorded with my flip cam.
I have some great High Def video from the evening which I shot with my Sony HD cam so I hope to have even more video of the evening up pretty soon, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this excellent punk band from Medellin, Colombia… Los Suziox!
I’ve dug deeper in the punk scene of Medellin, Colombia for a couple reasons. 1) I’m in love with Medellin and as a result am more familiar with the city and the scene there 2) There is a damn good punk scene in Medellin.
As many of you may have read before, I am very high on a band there called “Los Suziox” which roughly translated means “The Dirty”. While in Medellin last month I went by lead singer, Andres’ house and saw first hand the music studio he had ingeniously installed in his house. I tell you, the heights people go to get their music heard in Latin America puts many musicians (and people) to shame in the U.S.
So much talent in the U.S. can’t make a meeting on time, or return an email promptly but the punk bands in Latin America are killing themselves against impossible circumstances to simply be able to play their music and have it heard.
Well, I believe, Los Suziox time has come. Their music is too original, the lyrics too powerful and the melodies too infectious for their music not to be heard by a wider audience. It’s time for Medellin, Colombia to let their best kept secret out of the bag and share Los Suziox with the rest of the world.
Here is an exclusive interview and segment on Los Suziox. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Back in February, I almost canceled a long planned trip to Uruguay from Argentina. I’m sure glad I didn’t. There is some really good punk music down in Uruguay with bands like “Rudos Wild”, “Los Ultimos de Los Ramones” (Last of the Ramones), “Buitres” and “Rameres Punk” playing some kick ass punk music down south.
The guys from a band that has been around for a while called “Trotsky Vengeran” were especially entertaining for me to interview, maybe because they spoke some English, and I could understand almost all their answers, but probably more because they are some genuinely funny and entertaining dudes.
After the interview, they loaded me up on CDs and DVDs and when I got back to the states I found myself listening more and more to their music on my i-pod. They have some really great stuff from soccer themed sing alongs to rowdy, short and sweet punk anthems.
They guys have toured most of Latin America with offers to tour even more but now they have families and responsibility so they prefer to stay home in Uruguay. But who knows, maybe someday we can coax them up north to the U.S. because I tell you their music really translates well and I think they are first class musicians.
Check the segment below and see for yourself.
(Special thanks to Camila from “Rameres Punk” and Cabeza from “Los Ultimos de Los Ramones” for helping us line up the interview).
MONTEVIDEO, URAGUAY – Final Night In South America
Birthday Boy: Peyo from Rudos Wild
My month long trip to South America was coming to a close. My laundry, too much, too dirty and me tan,but not TOO tan, very relaxed and maybe, just maybe, getting better at speaking Spanish. Clocking in at 30 days on the dot almost, this had been my longest trip ever, a test of sorts really, to see how I’d fare on a trip this far away for this long.
Pros: I was relaxed, I was tan, I had lost 5 lbs (thanks I believe to the natural South American food and a stricter work out regime) and I had made numerous friends and been turned on to the Chile/Argentina/Uruguay punk, rockabilly & psychobilly scenes.
Cons: First, I got sick as a dog in Chile, THEN I threw my back out in Argentina (again) at the gym and could barely move for 3 days, and, ouch, still hurts to think about, in a moment of vulnerability (and temporary stupidity) was robbed of all my video & photo equipment, passport, etc.
Then to top it all off, there was a devastating earthquake in Chile just two days prior to me going back, thus forcing me to reroute my return trip home and canceling a planned interview with Chilean psychobilly band the Vodoo Zombies.
CONCLUSION: It was a great trip.. my only regret being the lost footage and photos (and the earthquake of course).
Camilo of Rudos Wild sporting a classic punk rock stance!
So how would I spend my final day in the deep south of South America? By hitting a punkabilly concert of course!
The one good thing about rerouting my trip meant I had an extra night in Montevideo, meaning I could now attend the much anticipated Rudos Wild concert Sunday night. So I threw on my Rudos Wild T-shirt that bass player Leonardo had given me the previous day and headed over to the Decibelios club.
Leonardo of Rudos Wild sporting a Tennessee whiskey t-shirt!
The concert was also a celebration of lead singer’s Peyo’s birthday, who I think was turning 29, so I knew this would probably be equal parts party and concert. It was a Sunday night so the crowd was a bit smaller than normal, but those who were out were a rowdy, dedicated bunch.
The Rudos Wild fans showed up to support and wish Peyo “Feliz Cumple Anos” (yes, I am aware the little squiggly tilde thing goes over the “n” in anos, but I don’t know how to do it, so happy anus Peyo, which is basically what it means without the tilde).
Sancho of Rudos Wild sporting no shirt
About half way through the set, Peyo had some problems with his guitar but like a true punk and in true DIY fashion, the guys kept going with 2 guitars and Peyo singing lead.They played equal parts covers of Johnny Cash and Social Distortion along with their own unique Spanish songs which range from hardcore to punkabilly to straight up punk. They ended the set with a nice Roots Radicals cover from Rancid which the couple of skinheads in the crowd really got into.
Peyo sans Guitar sporting a Viva Las Vegas shirt
After the concert I hung around outside and shared in some more beer and took some photos with the band and their friends.
After the concert with Rudos Wild & friends (me sporting my new Rudos Wild shirt)
But alas I had to get up early and pack and get ready to head back to the states (and my harsh reality?) so I bid adieu. The guys insisted on helping me get a taxi and stuffed my hands full of Rudos Wild Stickers, a copy of their soon to be released CD (which I can’t wait to listen to) and gave hugs all around.
On the way back to the hotel I couldn’t help but wonder how it was Peyo’s birthday but I was the one who ended up with all the presents.
Because I didn’t have my normal HDTV camera, this video was recorded with my little panasonic digital still camera, hardly ideal sound or lighting. So please bear in mind when viewing the video.
No camera, No Computer.. what to do? No choice but to calmly carry on and make the best of a changing situation. That changing situation got much easier thanks to a few folks in Montevideo’s punk scene, namely Camila from Rameras Punk, Cabeza from El Ultimo de los Ramones and the guys from Rudos Wild.
With Camila From All Girl Punk Band "Rameras Punk"
Early in the day, I head over to Clash City Rockers club to do the interview with Rudos Wild. Once again, Leonardo from Rudos agreed to let me use his camcorder.
Clash City Rockers Bar in Montevideo, Uruguay
Clash City Rockers is a great punk club, complete with punk memorabilia all over the walls including a signed Misfits poster from when the band visited Montevideo a few years back. This was the middle of the day, but I could tell from speaking with the owner Marcos and just by looking around this place was probably packed with punks on the weekend nights.
Marcos from Clash City Rockers
I went later that night and can testify, if you find yourself in Montevideo, finding a better place to let loose and hear some good punk or rockabilly music in Montevideo can’t be had.
The interview with Rudos Wild was raucous and fun, just as expected and I had a little time left on the camera so I went ahead and interviewed Marcos on the punk scene in Montevideo as well. I find punk bar owners are great interviewees to get a handle on the local punk scenes. They tend to see the scene as a whole and offer a broad historical perspective.
With Rudos Wild Post Interview
After Rudos Wild, I headed back to my apartment in Pocitos neighborhood where Camila and Cabeza met me. Cabeza had a Canon XL Camera that I had never used but we finally figured it out and we were able to knock out 3 big interviews in a row including the guys from Trotsky Vengaran (Trotsky’s Revenge), Buitres and finally Camila and Cabeza themselves.
Hearing bands like Trotsky Vengaran talk about the sacrifice and difficulty of playing in a small country like Uruguay made me appreciate the punk scene there even more.
With Trotsky Vengaran
Thanks to the DIY ethic of punk music and some really cool people, we were able to salvage the trip and I was able to document the punk scene in Montevideo despite losing the equipment to robbery just a few days earlier. In some ways, the challenge of the trip made it more rewarding and more fulfilling. Somehow, shooting with someone else’s borrowed camera under less than ideal conditions made me rethink the project and appreciate it more. I mean if people were willing to go to this much trouble to help out, the project must be worthwhile right?
Cabeza let us use his camera for interviews
Thanks again to everyone who helped out in Montevideo. Can’t wait to get back there soon. Next stop, Rudos Wild live in concert! Stay Tuned!
My final night in Buenos Aires could not have ended better than a concert with legendary punks “Dos Minutos”, complete with a backstage interview with lead singer “El Mosco”.
I had a little lost in translation mishap where I went to meet the band at the rehearsal space in downtown only to learn they had left for the concert in Palermo already. I finally, through the help of my translator, rockabilly queen Anita, was able to get over to the venue the Niceto Club and get backstage before their show began.
El Mosca On Stage
Backstage, things were quite different than rehearsal on Wednesday. The guys appeared to be drinking mostly water instead of beer and they seemed really focused on the show ahead.
Lead singer, El Mosca agreed to be interviewed and we went to a hidden spot backstage for some relative quiet, just as one of the first opening acts was winding up their set.
Backstage with El Mosca
El Mosca is a veteran punk and he filled me in on the long (since the 1980s!) and colorful history of Dos Minutos, including their 3 tours in the U.S. (which included stops at the legendary and now shuttered CBGBs), as well as the punk scene in general in Argentina.
Rockabilly queen Anita provided a couple moments of translation but El Mosca largely understood my English and at this point I was understanding Argentine Spanish much better so we were able to go back and forth pretty conversationally, which was refreshing.
Within 2 minutes of meeting him (pun completely intended) you can tell El Mosca is a pro and a really good guy. He graciously offered me to shoot whatever video I wanted of the show, so long as I bought him some beer next time he’s in NYC. I of course agreed.
One of the Opening Acts for Dos Minutos
The opening bands were pretty decent and by the time Dos Minutos hit the stage, the venue at Niceto Club was jam packed. I am bad at estimating crowds but I’d estimate over a thousand were in attendance and the venue was tightly run with no alcohol being served on the main level, so the crowd, enthusiastic and rowdy, was not drunk. Many bore 2 Minutos shirts, others Ramones, Rancid, Casualties, Manu Chau, etc.
I decided upon a perch on the 2nd floor balcony to shoot the videos and photos of the concert and man am I glad I did, I would have gotten destroyed! The entire 1st half of the ground floor was a pit of moshing, sweating, jumping, surfing bodies that moved all over the place. One thing about crowds in Latin America (and Latin crowds in the U.S.) is their enthusiasm.
When they really like a band, the let it show. They chant, they sing every word to every song and thy don’t let up until the concert is over usually chanting otra, otra, otra (another, another, another).
This hometown crowd loved Dos Minutos and I’m thankful I was able to witness it and get to know these guys just a little before heading on to the next part of my journey, Uruguay.
I’ll leave you with a short flipcam video from the concert and you can view more pics in the photo gallery. A featured segment on Dos Minutos will appear here in March or April, so stay tuned. Keep fighting! Keep rocking!
Their guitarist Martin invited me to their rehearsal last night at Vadar Studios in a neighborhood about a 15 minute taxi ride from my apartment in Recoleta. The problem was none of these guys spoke any English, and my “un poco” Spanish has been suffering a setback amid the strong and unique Argentine accent.
Sergio from Comando Suicida
No matter. We can’t let a little thing like language get in the way from the task at hand, documenting the punk scene in Argentina. Comando Suicida is legendary and very influential on the Buenos Aires punk scene, having been around since the early 80s. Their frontman and spiritual leader is Sergio, who is the lone remaining original member.
I had no problem spotting Martin, Sergio and the rest of the band at the appointed place on the corner right outside the studio as these guys are pretty big physically and pretty hard core with tats all over.
Once rehearsal got going these guys never let up. They rocked for a solid hour playing Oi! punk music in Spanish with hardly a rest in between. While I didn’t know any of the songs a couple were so catchy I felt I had heard them before.
After rehearsal, Sergio agreed to be interviewed and we all shared a beer, took some photos, exchanged stickers and patches. The owner of the studio graciously made me a DVD copy of a documentary on Buenos Aires punk which I can’t wait to see when I get back to the states.
Maybe by then my Spanish will have improved. Interviewing Sergio without the help of a translator was my toughest interview to date, but we got through it and covered some good territory that should be good for the documentary. I’d be lying if I said the language barrier isn’t frustrating but I just refuse to let it stop me.
On the way back to the apartment, I took some pics of a carnival celebration Argentina style. While tiny compared to Brasil, it was really fun and I have to say, I felt a bit primitive listening to the chants and observing the dances, just like I do when I listen to punk music. I think this is going to impact my line of questioning in the future, as I’d like to explore the link between indigenous music and culture and punk music. They both impact me similiarly. There must be some connection.
Stay tuned. We’re just getting warmed up here in Argentina.
Any Relationship to Punk Music?
The front man and original member of the band since it’s inception on the Buenos Aires punk scene is Sergio,
When I was down in Colombia for the big Casualties show back in December, I knew I’d get treated too some great punk music, what I didn’t know was that much of that music would be local talent singing in Spanish. Medellin Colombia has a rich, rich punk history due in no small part to their, ahem, “colorful” history in the 80s and 90s with Pablo Escobar’s drug empire, corrupt governments, the paramilitary and the guerrillas and the violence that ensued that gave Medellin the dubious distinction of the most violent city in the world in the 1990s.
I didn’t visit Colombia then and my first visit back in 2005 or 2006 was just after things had settled down and were markedly safer. I had done lots of research, had lots of Colombian-American friends who encouraged me to go but nonetheless was still very nervous my first visit.
Now I go often and don’t think twice, partly because I’ve been so many times and never had an issue and partly because I’ve traveled to so many more sketchier, more dangerous spots (Recife, Brazil or Lima, Peru anyone?) that Colombia seems tame by comparison. Colombia is a beautiful and relatively safe country these days and while it still has the occasional governmental scandal, it has one of the largest middle classes in Latin America. Medellin is one of the safest cities in all of Latin America and my favorite. The climate is excellent, the people (Paisas) are incredibly warm and friendly and trust me they know how to have a good time. Oh and need I mention again the excellent punk scene?
Tailgating before the Casualties show in Medellin, I met a band I had heard a little about even before I arrived called “Los Suziox”. Luckily for me and my rapidly deteriorating Spanish, they had a friend in from Toronto, Canada (Rony) who spoke English and served as my interpreter. We agreed to meet up later in the week so I could hear and video them practicing a set. Boy am I glad I did.
These guys are the real deal. If they were in the U.S. singing in English they would be touring constantly and putting out CDs every year or so. As it is, they do tour Latin America and have quite a following there and have put a few CDs as I understand it (I have one and it’s excellent).
This is not the first time I’ve heard some good music during my travels. Latin America has a much more international influence than the U.S. and they take their cues from Europe as well as the Americas. Even dance music, which I pretty much despise in the U.S., is absolutely tolerable and sometimes likeable in South America.
I’ll admit it may have something to do with the fact that I’m away from home, hyper sensitive to my new surroundings and stimuli but I think it’s more than that. I think the music in Latin America is less, they put out less music so it’s easier to find good stuff and the good stuff gets played more often. Also, they are not so into the “flavor of the month” (or week) as we are in the U.S. Different generations will play the classics as if they were their very own and it doesn’t seem to get stale like so much of the classic rock here in the U.S. (to me at least). I also hear old pop songs from the U.S. I haven’t heard in YEARS and I admit I like it as it triggers memories and forces me to think back where I was when I heard that song.. not just the same Led Zep, Who, AC/DC songs like they play on classic stations in the U.S. but songs that maybe barely cracked the top 40 over 20 years ago but you remember them, just barely and that is like tickling your brain, it feels good to try and remember.
But alas, back to Los Suziox. Below is a video of them performing “Armas Silenciosas” (Silent Arms?) at the studio in Medellin. I know its hard to hear a song for the first time and be hooked but listen to it the whole way through and see if you are hooked instantaneously on this melody like I was. I’ve been listening on my i-pod ever since getting back. It’s one of those songs I just play over and over and over. Take a look and a listen and let me know what you think (to hear more music or this song with a fuller sound quality you can visit their page at www.myspace.com/lxzx and visit their player).
The crowd goes NUTZ as the Casualties take the stage for the first time in Bogota, Colombia to perform “Carry on the Flag” and “We Are All We Have” from their latest CD. More video coming soon.. stay tuned!