By Francisco H. Ciriza
At a point in their career when it would seem easy to rest on past accomplishments, Saul Hernandez, Alfonso Andre, and Cesar "Vampiro" Lopez of Mexico City's Jaguares continue to forge ahead. Instead of safely turning itself into an outfit content to stick to previously successful formulas, Jaguares, chooses to continue to grow and experiment with band line-ups, sounds, musical styles, and songwriting approaches.
Additionally, in an effort to continue to increase its stature and visibility, the band has remained quite active between recording and touring. Most recently, the band was seen playing tunes from its most recent BMG Latin release, "Cuando La Sangre Galopa" on Showtime's series about a Mexican-American family, "Resurrection Blvd". This past June, the band's fans once again demonstrated their allegiance to their heroes at record-breaking in-store appearances attended by 3,000 fans in Los Angeles, 2,000 in San Jose, and thousands more in Chicago, Dallas, and San Diego.
Recently, drummer and found-ing member, Alfonso Andre, took a moment out of the band's hectic schedule to speak to La Prensa San Diego offering insights to the band's inner-workings, the dedication to its craft, and strong work ethic which is perhaps unequaled in today's world of contemporary music.
Although groundbreaking and highly successful, the band's last album, "Bajo El Azul de Tu Misterio," left the band feeling it had something to prove its next time out, "A lot of people told us that our last record was a bit too much pop and mellow. But that was another project and now we've moved on. We've always enjoyed taking different paths. We have varied tastes. We like pop music, we like heavier rock and this record allowed us to take yet another road," explains Andre.
That road lead the veteran rockers to approach their next recording endeavor as a personal challenge, which, according to Andre is not unlike any other new project for the band, "What we set out to do with each new record is leave behind the last one and treat the new one as it as if it were our first record. We try to stray from past tendencies and formulas and come up with fresh ideas." Along with the positive attitude and renewed vision for each new disc, the band members looked to increase their involvement, "In this case, we took on the roles of producers. It's the first time we've done the entire package by ourselves. We have basically produced past projects, but we've always had someone else to act as a mediator or a third party with an objective view to assist us with making decisions. However, this is the first time that we've done it completely by ourselves. It was great to have been able to [produce the record]. And we're very happy with the results. It's a record that is much more raw."
The new sounds achieved on the
band's latest opus can at least partly be attributed to the efforts
of yet another creative voice, accomplished veteran guitarist,
"Vampiro" Lopez. "Basically all of the songs in
the band's history have come from Saul," says Andre, "this
record is not an exception. However, many of the arrangements
on this record came about from a collaboration of the three of
us. When we were rehearsing the songs Saul had brought, putting
songs together and finalizing arrangements, Vampiro was able to
offer his ideas. Vampiro would play something then Saul would
play something then I'd play something and then we'd have a song
with all of our ideas in it. That's how many of the songs were
completed this time. We liked working this way very much. It was
very positive for us. It's a way of working in a much more collective
Joining the "collective" on this tour are bassist, Chucho Marchan, and percussionist, Leonardo Munoz. These two talented musicians round out what may one day be known as the Mexican equivalent to Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones. Its appeal both north and south of the border are unprecedented in the world of Rock en Espanol as they easily sell out arenas in Mexico and have already sold out upcoming shows in Las Vegas and Universal City's Universal Amphitheater. Further evidence of the band's prominence is its inclusion as co-headliners on two benefit concert bills on behalf of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic in December alongside Elton John, Sting, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Jaguares perform at San Diego's Civic Theater, November 10, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $18.00-$63.00 and are available through Ticketmaster or by calling (619) 220-8497.