Tex-Mex rock is alive and well after more than 33 years thanks to the original sounds of Los Lobos. The group recently released their new CD, "The Town And the City", that includes a return to the experimental sound that earned them three Grammys. Founding members Louie Perez and David Hidalgo talked with VOA's Larry London about their journey.
What is it that compels a band of musicians to remain together for more than three decades? I asked that question to two of the men responsible for starting Los Lobos in East Los Angeles, David Hidalgo and Louie Perez.
"The core of it is friendship. We have been friends since high school, and I think [there is] something [special] about this band that we all believe in and that is why we stick with it."
"As much as we might complain about getting up early, flying, and being away from home, we still have the best job in the world, really. You cannot beat it. Being able to go around the world with your friends, you stay a kid all your life … that is a good gig [job]."
With 15 albums and three Grammys, the band has secured a place in rock history. Did the first Grammy in 1987 change their lives?
"After I won the Grammy, my youngest [child] was just an infant. I got home and I walked in the door, and my mother-in-law was watching my son. She looked at me and said, "Congratulations! We are out of diapers". So I was at the market pushing a cart [shopping for diapers] and the family is the equalizer.
What exactly does Los Lobos mean?
“It is 'the wolves.' And the full title of the band was Los Lobos Del Este De Los Angeles (just another band from East L.A.) but it was too much for the marquee."
Los Lobos is well received all around the world and Hidalgo is looking forward to playing for international audiences.
"It has been good, you know. We are starting to go more often. We kind of laid off of going overseas for quite a few years, and I think it kind of was not good for us, actually. So, we have been going back, trying to go at least once a year, trying to rebuild the audience over there (overseas). It seems to be working."
And after all the years of success, what was the highlight?
"Being able to travel around the world -- for guys from East L.A. that never went anywhere, and to discover there [are] a lot more similarities than differences. I think that is really, it was a real awakening for me."
Perez says the new CD "The Town And The City" is very personal.
"The idea of the song (is)sort of (a) progression, (it) is of remembrances about our childhood and our parents. It is dedicated to our parents. We have been a band for 33 years this coming November. We are kind of getting to be older guys now. That funny thing starts to kick in when you start to think about how things used to be … how things are a lot nicer when they are simpler. So this record is about our experiences growing up, and seeing our parents work hard to try and provide for us. The kind of thing that happens everywhere all over the world."