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Honoring Catupecu Machu
I’m back, still living here in Cordoba-Argentina, after a crazy year!
It’s been a while since my last column as usual, so let’s catch up on all things rock here in South America.
OK, let’s try and get the bad news out of the way first, because hopefully there’ll be a happy ending.
Back in March 2006, Gabriel Ruiz Diaz, the bass player from Catupecu Machu (a hugely popular band from BA) and Cesar Andino, the singer from Santa Fe band Cabezones were both in a car crash, one night after a Catupecu show in Buenos Aires. Cesar suffered from several fractures on both his legs, but luckily he will be able to fully recover after a few months of physical rehabilitation. Gaby on the other hand, was in a coma for several months after. They just transferred him to a different hospital where he’ll undergo specialized neurological treatment. Doctors are very hopeful that he will be all right. A special mention about the Catupecu fan base: I’ve seen thousands of kids wearing T-shirts reading things like “Gaby Hey.” Many of them also stayed outside the hospital night after night waiting for news back in March.
So over the past few months, Catupecu Machu decided to keep on playing, fronted by Gabriel’s brother, singer/guitarist Fernando, with the help of guest bass players, mainly Zeta Bosio formerly of Soda Stereo, and Diego Arnedo from Divididos for a while too.
Just last week, I saw the band at the Quilmes Rock festival here in Cordoba, they put on a very emotional and powerful set, with the aid of guitarist Esteban Serniotti from Cabezones (Hyperstatic´s album producer, by the way).
As for Cabezones, they also decided to keep themselves active through this rough period, so they released their first live CD/DVD called “Bienvenidos” in June, recorded in El Teatro on February 2006, just before the accident. Check out the photos; they had the whole stage painted in white to imitate their cover from 2005´s latest studio album “Jardin de extremidad”.
And the good news (this just in!) Cabezones will be back playing live, with Cesar of course, on December 16th in Estadio Obras in Buenos Aires!
Gustavo Cerati was the frontman of the most popular Argentinean band ever, Soda Stereo, who split up after a 14-year career in 1997, to a sold-out stadium tour across Latin America. Since then, Cerati has released solo albums; his latest (and best yet) came out May 2006, called “Ahi Vamos.” The tour brought him to Cordoba city in June to the Orfeo Superdomo, with around 8.000 fans (including me) attending the show. The band is made up of great musicians like Fernando Samalea on drums (who used to play with Cerati in Friccion back in the mid-80s) and guitarist Richard Coleman from dark pop cult-band Los 7 Delfines. The set showcased mostly all “Ahi Vamos” tracks, and a few from earlier albums, and some revamped versions of Soda Stereo´s classics like Profugos and Toma la Ruta.
In another Cerati-related news, he played in Central Park in New York City in June, to a great crowd of Latin American and Argentinean residents, that by all accounts were more than happy to see him playing live in NYC for the first time. Check out the photo!
Here in my hometown of Cordoba, it’s been quite a busy and productive year for the local bands, as most of them took the matter of being properly released into their own hands. It’s been a hard-to-break habit, as everyone jumped at the chance of releasing their albums in CD-R format in the early 00s, duplicating the art for the CD sleeves in all kinds of shapes and quality, but lately most of the bands realised it was time to give their listeners a better product to buy. The CD-duplicating companies that used to work only for the labels, now give indie bands the chance to release CD copies in smaller quantities, starting at 500 units, a much more reasonable figure for most of them.
So, 2006 has seen many bands releasing albums in proper CD format: Enhola, who released their 3rd album “Viciosa”, the self-titled Praxis debut album (good old-fashioned hard rock), Manumissio with “Humano” (prog-grunge), indie-pop a la Pavement from Ironia with “Me equivoco todos los dias,” and soon to be out ex Hyperstatic´s bassist own project Sullivan with “Fauna de Gala,” a very elegant power pop record, from what I’ve heard.
Speaking of debut albums, my band Hyperstatic just released its own! Yeah, it took some time, but it was worth it. Un rato sin hablar came out on September 13th on Pirca Records/Universal Music, all over the country, in every record store. As far as we know, it’s selling quite well here in Cordoba, and we’re planning shows in other cities to promote it. As I said, it was produced by Esteban Serniotti from Cabezones, and if you go to our official website you’ll find links to listen to some of the songs online.
Back in May we shot our first video clip for the song “Bsides,” here in town. It was lots of fun. We came up with a treatment, and had help from friends who appeared in the video. The idea was very simple, we asked them to come to the set with an object that reminded them of someone they love or or hate, and show it to the camera. In the end, most of them brought stuff from boyfriends, girlfriends, family, and pets they love!
Some of the faces appearing are members of local rock bands like Trigger and Sayon. You can of course, watch it on our own YouTube channel here! The clip is now rotating on TV in Much Music and Rock & Pop TV.
Bsides also became a number 1 single in the 97.5 Rock FM´s Top 50 Ranking in Cordoba a couple of months ago.
To give the album launch a kind of pre-boost, we played in Buenos Aires on August 19th opening for one of our favorite bands, Massacre; whom we became friends with in the past 3 years, as we’ve shared many stages. I usually talk about them, but here’s a quick reminder: 15 years of skate-punk history, 10 albums, and the respect and admiration from every other Argentinean rock band. Imagine our shock when we were introduced on stage by their singer Walas to his own crowd as the “best up-and-coming rock band in Argentina!” No kidding! The show happened in El Teatro, a great venue that looks like a rock theatre, with a 1.500 capacity.
Another big event last month was the 2nd Pepsi Music festival in Buenos Aires, in which we also played. This event is big…. really big. I mean, 10 days, 4 stages, and over 100 bands playing live. To top it all off… we got to play on the same day Iggy Pop and The Stooges headlined, on Friday 22nd Sept. I definitely can’t complain!
That day, we played at 4pm on the same stage as The Tandooris, a garage rock BA band that I highly recommend. They usually play the BA Stomp festival with some US acts once a year. Other bands worth checking out that day, Los Natas, who had to play in the pouring rain at 8pm, then Massacre, and then the great Iggy. I saw him live before, back in 1994, and all I can say is, he’s still got the rock! The Stooges sounded as punk and exciting as ever, playing classics like ‘I wanna be your dog’ and ‘TV Eye,’ to ‘Electric Chair’ from Iggy´s Skull Ring album, a song they recorded together. Mike Watt from The Minutemen played bass…!
Some of us stayed over in BA the next couple of days to check out more bands. NerdKids who are a big hype right now, who released their debut album ‘Bubbleglam’ in May, were quite entertaining. Volador G brought some Bowie-esque pop to the main stage, and as the sun was going down, my childhood heroes Los 7 Delfines rocked it out in style. Gustavo Cerati headlined that night, with an even better show than the one in Cordoba I talked about above.
In the near future, there’s the BUE fest, on November 3rd and 4th, with an indie and new rock line-up. Headlining are the Beastie Boys and Daft Punk each night, also Patti Smith, and NY retro rockers Elefant (did you know the singer Diego Garcia is from Cordoba?) Also the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio, alongside locals Vetamadre, Dios Los Cria, Los Alamos and more.
Two weeks after that, the Personal Fest, the same one I went to last year and saw Good Charlotte. This year’s is November 17 and 18th, with headliners New Order (yes they’re still alive!), and The Black Eyed Peas on each day. Other artists include: Ian Brown (ex Stone Roses singer), Madness, The Rasmus, The Bravery, and many local acts in Club Ciudad, the same venue as the Pepsi Music.
As for the rumours dept, some of them are pretty exciting and seemingly true, like The Who being supported by none other than one of my fave bands the Foo Fighters on March 17th 2007 in BA. Also Bad Religion in Feb for their 2nd visit to Argentina; Deep Purple in December; and Depeche Mode sometime next year.
All right kiddies, that’s it for me! Hope you have a great end of the year, and I’ll be back at the beginning of 2007 with more news!
Catch you soon!