Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees
KNOW & HEAR
WHAT: “On The Road Live” Concert featuring Los Lobos, East L.A. barrio band that draws gracefully from alternative rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.
WHERE: Auburn Events Center, nicknamed “the Fillmore of the Foothills,” 145 Elm Ave., Auburn
TICKETS: Sold out
BROADCAST: “On The Road Live,” KVMR 89.5 FM, 105.1 FM Truckee & kvmr.org (streaming)
Just another band from East L.A. will be playing the Auburn Events Center this Friday night, and KVMR 89.5 FM will be just another radio station with a live broadcast of the performance?
Wrong, in both cases.
Los Lobos are not just another band from East L.A., even if they’ve had a pair of albums with that sort of self-deprecating title.
And the Nevada City radio station KVMR will be adding to its long list of live remote broadcasting achievements when they exclusively present Los Lobos and the acclaimed, long-running (43 years and counting) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees’ sold out 8 p.m. show Friday on radio and streaming online at kvmr.org.
KVMR volunteer broadcasters Sacramento Dave and Wesley Robertson will co-host and engineer another edition of “On The Road Live” while regional guitar wizard Bob Woods will be the stringed instrument special analyst.
“I first saw Los Lobos in a club over 30 years ago in San Luis Obispo, and I‘ve been a major fan ever since,” said Robertson. “Let’s just say it … a giant of a band like Los Lobos in a club setting? It doesn’t get much better than this.”
Band aura grows
And the aura surrounding Los Lobos simply continues to glow, year after year, decade after decade, according to The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia Of Rock And Roll (Simon and Shuster, 2001):
“Since 1974, East L.A.’s Los Lobos have been exploring the artistic and commercial possibilities of American biculturalism, moving back and forth between their Chicano roots and their love of American rock & roll.
“Although the band first gained fame as part of the early-Eighties roots-rock revival, they didn’t so much strip music down as mix it up, playing norteño, blues, country, Tex-Mex, ballads, folk, and rock. They have been guests on albums by Ry Cooder, Elvis Costello, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Roomful of Blues, and Paul Simon, and their music has been featured in films such as La Bamba and Desperado.
“Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, David Hidalgo, and Louie Perez, four friends from East L.A.’s Garfield High School, formed Los Lobos (Spanish for “the Wolves”) to play weddings and bars in their neighborhood.
“Although they had previously played in straightforward American rock bands, together they decided to experiment with acoustic folk instruments and explore their Mexican heritage, playing norteño and conjunto music on instruments including the guitarron and bajo sexto.
“They got their first full-time gig in 1978, playing at a Mexican restaurant in Orange County. That year they also released their debut album, Just Another Band From East L.A.
“In 1987 Los Lobos recorded several Ritchie Valens songs for the soundtrack to the Valens biopic La Bamba. The soundtrack (Number One, 1987) went double-platinum, and the success of the title track (Number One, 1987) and “Come On, Let’s Go” (Number 21, 1987) suddenly lifted Los Lobos out of their bar-band, critics’ fave status,” said Rolling Stone.
A little irony
It’s ironic it was Valens, whose songs made Los Lobos national musical stars.
Vocalist/guitarist Hidalgo and drummer Perez met in high school and bonded over their mutual affinity for obscure and non-Hispanic music acts such as Fairport Convention, Randy Newman and Ry Cooder, recalled Perez.
“We’re looking at each other, ‘You like this stuff? I thought I was the only weird one.’ So I went over to his house, once a day for about a year, which we spent listening to records, playing guitars and starting to write songs,” said Perez.
Since all that post-La Bamba-ing about, their work has gone all over the map — from a Walt Disney tribute album to original album after original that just build upon the band’s hard-working, hard-playing reputation.
KVMR’s Robertson once drew Hidalgo’s attention when he started a “Test Me, Test Me, Why Don’t You Arrest Me?” audience dance at a Los Lobos concert based on a line from the Grateful Dead’s “Bertha,” and it led to Wesley getting a half hour backstage audience and interview with the Los Lobos original.
This Friday? Well, you’ll never know what’ll happen at the place many fans call “the Fillmore of the Foothills.”
Hey, it’s “On The Road Live.”
A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 180 volunteer “citizen-broadcasters.” On-demand listening of shows is now available at archive.kvmr.org. Complete program listings are available at kvmr.org
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