After Avándaro: the black
hole of mexican rock
The black hole of mexican rock
From the time of Gustavo
Díaz Ordaz's government (1964-1970), to Luis Echeverría
Álvarez (1970-1976), José López Portillo
(1976-1982) and part of the reign of Miguel de la .Madrid Hurtado
(1982-1988), the rock scene endured big troubles, although in
Carlos Salinas de Gortari's régime, the situation was
liberalized, in part because he was of the generation of the
What were the reasons? In the first place, the authoritarianism,
followed by the Student Movement of 1968, the slaughter of June
10, 1971, and the Avándaro festival. Worst of all was
that it let slip a major opportunity for the global success of
Mexican rock, with its corresponding foreign currencies.
But the biggest obstacle that existed for rock was the fact that
rock groups didn't get as much radio exposure as other types
of Mexican music and foreign groups.
But the biggest obstacle that
existed for rock was the fact that rock groups didn't get as
much radio exposure as other types of Mexican music and foreign
groups. To mention the monstrosities that invaded us and are
now part of the memories of those generations: Raphael, Hermanas
Jiménez, Rocío Durcal, Roberto Carlos, Roberto
Jordan, Tom Lopaka, Julio Iglesias, Lupita D'Alessio, Leo Dan,
el Pirulí, Juan Gabriel, Camilo Sesto, Mocedades, Rigo
Tovar, Mike Laure (those last two were both former rockers),
Terrícolas, Pasteles Verdes, Angeles Negros, José
José, Fito Girón, Napoleón, the rockeros
who played covers, the folkloric groups and the Disco music.
And even this way, these soloists
and groups didn't have it easy, much less the rockers. Music
Orbe, in a "checkup" of the five means of popularization
of the professional recordings in 1975, affirms that radio exposure
accounted for only 22% of the Mexican music industry's sales.
The big winners were the disco groups (Disco Tex and his Sex-o-Lettes,
the Sound of Philadelphia, Barry White, Minnie Ripperton, Frankie
Valli and others).
Juan Gabriel was a hero to the nation and a zero to the rock
scene. The aforementioned Mr Loco won the World Festival Yamaha
of Tokyo with the song "Lucky Man."
Following is a breakdown of
the year's fifty biggest hits by country:
The USA led the charge with
Mexico followed with 11,
Argentina with five,
Spain with five,
Brazil with four,
England with two,
Italy with two, France with two,
Puerto Rico with one and finally,
Venezuela with one.
After Juan Gabriel, Lupita D'Alessio
was in 14th place, with "Mundo De Juguete." And by
the good grace of the radio programmers, at number 63 was the
song "Que Buena Esta Elena" (How good is Elena) by
los Hermanos Banda Salud!
TThe depth of the black hole
varied according to region, since in Guadalajara, Jalisco,
the rhythms were different, as demonstrated in an article called
"Guadalajara en la onda", written by Angel Rodríguez
and published in December 1973 in the magazine Dimension.
"Because of the Fiestas
de Octubre in this city, there has been a lot of rock activity
here. In several places there have been free concerts. Let us
take a look at some concerts that I saw: in the Plaza de la Liberación
the following groups played: Central Chicago, Alpaguijo, The
Zonicos, Gente Extraña y Los Almas; in the Auditorio there
were El Fuego and Mario y su Desafinado 4; in the Mirador Independencia
the group Atmosfera 73 played; in the Concha Acústica
the Festival Musical Guadalajara 73 happened over two days with
the following groups: 39.4, Spiders, Toncho Pilatos and Stone
Facade, all playing for an entry fee of 10 pesos. Before, in
this same place, Las Cucarachas, the masked group, played, with
El Fuego y Los Jinetes; in the Jardín del Carmen, Toncho
Pilatos performed; in the Plaza de los Paraguas, the 39.4; in
the Jardín Aranzazú, Las Cucarachas; in the Condominio
Guadalajara, The Stone Facade; in the Plaza de la Bandera, the
group Revolución 33 and in the Gimnasio Mexico 68, the
group La Gente Extraña.
As you see, there were some
groups that played multiple shows and that without a doubt is
due to the quality of their music. The following bands have regular
paying gigs: La Solemnidad plays in the Casino Harlequin of Independencia
23, in San Pedro Tlaquepaque, and only occasionally turns over
the stage to some other group, as they did recently for the Superbanda
Frugal; Los Nobles are in the Teocali; in El Campanario, Los
Barones; another time the Guadalajara Theater presented The Spiders
and The Stone Facade; the Guich's, Las Líneas Blancas
and Free Love have arrived at the Forum; at the Pantera Rosa
de Chapala, Frankie, Alfredo and Paris, Cierco and later in that
same place La Vida, Opus and Vaquero. 39.4 cancelled their performance
in the Centro Internacional de la Amistad due to the mourning
for unfortunate events in this city.
Regarding tours, Pedro El Askil has traveled to Tepatitlán
twice; The Stone Facade went to Morelia, where they played at
a party organized by the society of students of the Prepa 2,
along with a local group, La Diligencia; to Noschistlán
went Toncho Pilatos and La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata.
Lucifer teather in Guadalajara
news: in the Forum there was the first concert in the series
that had been announced for every Saturday night, and its inauguration
was horrible; there was little attendance for the performance
by Los Spiders and Pedro El Askil. They had planned to have La
Revolución, Enigma and Arbol from México City at
the first concert (not at the Forum, but a Saturday concert)
, but an agreement could not be reached either way.
And speaking of records, by
this time the first album by Toncho Pilatos should be available
in stores on the Polydor label; I am sure it will spread the
wave of Toncho, with the band accompanied by the violins of the
Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán. Meanwhile, also on Polydor,
young 25 year-old tapatío Alvaros Dávila's EP was
released; the four songs contained on the disk were all written
by Alvaro, from the lyrics to the music or the other way around,
and the titles are "De dónde vengo a donde voy",
"Recuerdos", "Mi vida ya va a cambiar" and
"El mundo en sus manos está". As I write this
"Mi vida ya va a cambiar" occupies seventh place in
the Hit Parade of Radio Juventud, alongside several purely American
songs. On other stations, "De dónde vengo a donde
voy" is getting more airplay. Tony and Tucky of Los Spiders
went recently to Laredo, Texas, to upgrade the instrumental equipment
for their group, and they continue not to perform in Spanish,
for how much longer?
Commercial news: Los Jinetes debuted their new song "Adiós,
Adiós, Amor" at the Concha Acústica, in Agua
Azul, where they played for the third time. This group has already
finished recording its first LP which will be released very soon.
There are already eight members in this group; if you don't remember
their names, here they are again: Jaime Enciso (voice); Jaime
Roque (trumpet); Salvador Chitica (sax); José (sax); J.
Luis Limón (organ); Sergio Peiró (guitar); Juan
Lomelí (drums) and José Ma. Lomelí (bass).
Meanwhile, Elbert Moguel of
Los Strwck plans to release the song "Un sueño"
in the United States, Europe and Latin America. For Elbert Moguel
it is the greatest opportunity of their life to have international
And now some good news for
the youth of Guadalajara: Lucifer is again organizing concerts.
On November 11 they opened their new local and Toncho Pilatos
played the first show, then Los Spiders the following week, and
they plan to continue the concerts every Sunday like before.
I hope that all the audiences will behave themselves and not
get out of hand, which is why Lucifer closed last time."
México Ciy the
scene developed in a different way, demonstrated by the following
article by Ricardo Morales in Dimension magazine in 1973.
"This column starts with the details of a weekend filled
with modern music, beginning with Sunday the 7th, which saw several
parties in different parts of the city.
The show that had the biggest lineup was in Lago Como 55, with
Javier and Baby Bátiz, Three Souls in my Mind, Náhuatl
and Mayita. Very good atmosphere, although attendance was a little
sluggish. It is logical that there weren't a lot of people, because
that club is not yet well established. We hope that saloon stays
Also on the same night, at none other than "Santana"
at Lago Chalco 77, Los Dug Dug's appeared for the last time in
the capital before thier upcoming tour, with Tequila and Medusa
also on the bill. Of course the Dug Dug´s triumphed at
their farewell. They leave for a two month tour of the northern
republic, where they are regarded as very famous idols.
Before leaving, they released a single with two songs: "Brillo
De Sol" and "No te asustes (es sólo vivir)".
Hopefully this will become a big hit, since "Smog"
was only moderately successful.
In Xochimilco, there was a party, with only the group Nahuales
playing. In the Siempre lo Mismo, as always, there was a good
atmosphere for a performance by Three Souls in my Mind. Before
them, El Perón made their refuge in the Avenida Ocho".
On the other hand, in Tijuana,
Baja California, we print an extract by Omar Foglio Almada
from Formation of Agents and Cultural Practice in Daily Life:
Rock in Tijuana.
"In spite of having a
diversity of musicians, groups, promoters and rock clubs since
the fifties, the city of Tijuana doesn't figure in the North
Nmerican version of rock history, and in that of the Federal
District it is scarcely mentioned. Maybe because the conditions
to participate in this historical slope are not characteristic
of the Tijuanian context.
Javier Batiz and the Famous Finks
In December of 1957, a young
12 year-old "tijuanense" began his music career. In
a nightclub on Avenida Revolución, a young boy named Javier
Bátiz developed a style and a sound unknown in other parts
of the republic.
Less than ten years later Javier Bátiz, like many other
musicians of the Avenida Revolución, moved to Mexico City
and transformed the way rock music was played and heard in Mexico.
While the Federal District hummed with the melodies of The Tijuana
Five, The Tj's, The Graveyard and later, Los Dug Dug's, El Ritual
and Peace and Love, Tijuana remained an ideal place for the rockers'
In this city you could listen
to live rock 24 hours a day. There were musicians in the nightclubs
who played long hours; managers and owners of these clubs who
coordinated, hired and publicized the rockers; and youths who
enjoyed night after night of music in the Avenida Revolución.
The tijuanense rock of the
fifties, sixties and first part of the seventies made possible
in great measure a daily interaction among the musicians, managers
and the public. These people created a series of extremely specific
relationships around the performance and appreciation of rock
music in places like the Mike's Bar, Blue Note, Oscar's, Tequila,
But not only that, while the
rockers of the Avenida Revolución perfected their musical
abilities, they built their music as an entire project of life
in intimate relationship with the street. Then, there were musicians
that imagined working in the "Revu" until the death;
others that remained only long enough to graduate to a "professional
career" with the goal of stardom; thusly, the rockers gave
sense to their lives from their occupation.
However the rocker's trade in Tijuana suffered a serious transformation
starting in the seventies when the managers of the nightclubs
displaced the musicians in exchange for Disco music. Most of
them abandoned the city and the few that remained abandoned rock
as a source of work. The conditions for the creation of a tijuanense
rocker were altered."
In Monterrey, Nuevo León, nothing was easy, La Tribu, Los Brillos,
Los Clicks and El Amor were the most populars groups, but they
can find work in that city, only the saturdays and sundays in