Los Lobos are not the only active East Los Angeles Chicano rock band. The Blazers have been around for awhile, and more recently, Los Fabulocos featuring Kid Ramos have been bringing their brand of Cali-Mex to audiences everywhere. Los Fabulocos, featuring two former Blazers, are coming to the East Coast for the first time, including two local gigs with the Nighthawks—-a free Friday night show at the Wheaton Triangle, and a Saturday night gig at Jammin’ Java.
This party-rock band led by singer/accordionist Jesus Cuevas and guitarist Kid Ramos play danceable conjunto blended with East L.A. garage-rock instrumentals, blues, ‘50s rock ballads, old-school country, rancheras, and more with nods to Doug Sahm, Lloyd Price, Clifton Chenier, and Rockin’ Dopsie along the way. Cuevas’ sweet-voiced melodies on some songs may remind folks of the Texas Tornados—-not to mention, of course, Los Lobos.
I asked the band some questions via e-mail that were answered by Jesus Cuevas, bass player James Barrios and drummer Mike Molina. The latter two answered together.
Washington City Paper: When did the band form?
Barrios and Molina: Molina and Cuevas formed the band in 2004. Barrios joined in 2005 and Ramos joined in 2007.
WCP: Did Cuevas and Molina want more creative control than they might have had in the Blazers?
Cuevas: No, I left the Blazers cause I wanted to play more accordion and do my thing. The Blazers were a great band and I learned alot playing with Big Manny but it was time for me to move on.
WCP:Do you have originals (in Spanish and English)?
Barrios and Molina: Yes, on our upcoming record, we have recorded our first original ranchera, written by Cuevas. The new CD DOS is scheduled for release in mid-November on the Delta Groove Record label.
WCP: Have you all been into classic cancions, Doug Sahm, Lloyd Price, Clifton Chenier, norteno for years and years, or did you discover certain artists or genres more recently?
Barrios and Molina: Yes, these great artists have influenced us for many years. All of the band members have very diverse musical backgrounds and influences which make its way into the recording process.
WCP: Do any of you listen to Los Tigres del Norte, or banda or Jenni Rivera or other popular Texas and Mexico and California regional artists? That genre of music ?
Barrios and Molina: Alegres de Teran, Flaco Jimenez, and other great San Antonio artists are our primary source of inspiration when it comes to the conjunto style.
Cuevas: Most of the stuff we listen to is pretty old.
WCP: When did Kid Ramos join? Did he bring a blues-rock influence or was that already there?
Barrios and Molina: Kid Ramos joined the band in 2007. He has brought a definite blues influence to the band. You can not have a Blues Guitarist of the Year nominee in your band and not have the blues make your way into the band.
Cuevas: We had the influences, Kid just took it up a notch.
WCP: Do you play mostly to blues-rock “roots” audiences and on ocassion to Chicano crowds?
Barrios & Molina: Los Fabulocos plays to all types of crowds. Everything from a V.F.W. Post in East L.A., to a blues club in Oslo, Norway. We do not limit ourselves to one particular audience, rather attempt to entertain “LIVE” music lovers of all ages and races.
Cuevas: We play for a variety of audiences usually in the same show.
Los Fabulocos featuring Kid Ramos will appear with the Nighthawks on Friday August 27th from 7 p.m. to 9p.m. for free at the Wheaton Triangle Concert Series at Wheaton Triangle Park (at Grandview Avenue & Reedie Drive in downtown Wheaton. One block from the Wheaton Metro).
Los Fabulocos featuring Kid Ramos will appear with the Nighthawks on Saturday night August 28th at 8 p.m. at Jammin Java, 227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, VA. $20. Phone: (703) 255-1566