Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dirt City Graphic

My interest in Mexican rock started as a young kid listening to my older sisters play their Frankie y Los Matadores & Los Babys albums. Los Babys were a freakishly undersized group of  musicians who were once referred to as "The Mexican Beatles" Never mind, that to call their music rock & roll would be a stretch. A 1979 article on Los Apson, in Creem magazine (written by Fast Freddie) set me off in search of Mexican garage punk. That's how I found out about punk band, Tijuana No! (w/ Julieta Venegas) Then in the 1980's I discovered Caifanes and the floodgates opened up.  
I let the topics for this blog come to me, sometimes all it takes is a conversation, or I'll hear a song or watch a few videos. In this case, my interest in Mexican rock was re-awakened by a link sent to me by Capt. America of Wig Wam Bam rockzine. It led me to a website review of a compilation album featuring Mexican rock bands, complete with music streaming and downloads. I'll pay if forward.

Years ago, while clicking through the channels I stumbled upon Gloria Trevi on some Mexican cable station. La Trevi was in her raspy, anguished prime, pouring her heart and soul into songs about zapatos viejos (old shoes), loose hair and mental illness. The audience shrieked with delight as she walked like an Egyptian, whipping her hair and pounding her chest. Gloria followed this with a series of pelvic thrusts and vulgar squats, the shrieks grew louder, then she dropped to her knees and started to sob. With mascara and tears streaking down her face, she crawled across the stage singing "No estoy loca, solo estoy desesperada" (I'm not crazy, I'm just desperate)  She rose to her knees again, then did a series of hair whips before collapsing onto the stage floor. At the end, emotionally spent, Gloria smiled and blew kisses to the audience, Gloria Trevi..ladies and gentlemen..a big round of applause for Gloria Trevi. Now that's rock and roll, Gloria was a bizarre combination of Cindy Lauper and a young Madonna. She was excessive in ways that those two never dreamed of, yet she was deemed a healthy role models for young girls.

Who could follow that? I thought as the announcer introduced the next act: "El idolo del rock Mexicano" Cesar Costa!  He greeted the crowd the way a third world dictator would, by waving both his arms above his head. He had the look of a guy who had just set fire to a bad of dogshit and was about to watch someone try and stomp it out. He started snapping his fingers and doing a lazy version of the twist as he half-assed his way into a melody of American hit songs from the 1950's. The crowd was going apeshit, he was getting more screams than La Trevi... my mouth dropped open...they're joking right? It was no joke, a middle-aged woman got up and started doing the twist, then another and another. I watched in amazement, Cesar Costa resembled a Latin Barry Manilow more than a rocker, he was no more "El Idolo del rock" than Sammy Davis Jr. However, he was pleasant and flashed a toothy smile. The audience wanted to go home feeling good, and he gave them what they wanted...Cesar Costa...Ladies and Gentlemen...let's hear it for Cesar Costa!