The Band You've Heard About, But Never Seen
A not-so-in-depth interview the hungry homegrown hellraisers: Los Creepers
After seeing Los Creepers for the first time, I knew I wanted to set up an interview with the local boys-next-door. That is, if you grew up in Cypress Park/Lincoln Heights/ Highland Park area, where they're from. I wondered what deep, childhood traumas, memories and emotions their sometimes inane, and always outrageous musical themes and lyrics were hiding.
Published on LatinoLA: May 24, 2003
After all, the Latino foursome has reached a formidable level of local popularity with mostly young greaser and punk rockers. They also have a certain level of mystery, for, as their singer, Lucky Almader put it, " We're the band you've heard about but never see."
Interviewing Los Creepers is not an easy task -- not if you plan to have a Q&A session with them, as I did. I quickly realized I should've left my notes, questions, and any expectations at home and instead brought only my tape recorder and my sense of humor - and a case of Bud Light wouldn't have hurt.
Although it was a "dry" interview, I couldn't have asked for anything more candid, honest and real: Exactly what I wanted. "Oh, we're as real as it gets!" laughed guitarist, Alex Alvarez. He was right.
In order from most likely to start a bar room brawl (according to them) to least likely, are Frank Ibarra (bass), Herman Ibarra (drums), Alex, and Lucky, whose recent plunge into fatherhood could have something to do with his reluctance to be a peleonero. After asking standard questions such as the origin of the band, musical influences, etc., they enlightened me on a few sources of frequent inspiration, such as, "Real bad gas!" revealed Frank. Also big on the list were alcohol, hangovers and vomit, toilet daydreaming, and surfing cheeseburgers. We also touched lightly upon the consequences of real small bladders (not good when you like to drink and you're on the road).
We met outside an Eagle Rock bar just about midnight and decided to move the interview to a local burger joint that at this point was closed for the night. It was not the coziest nor comfiest place in the world, not to mention that we were almost killed by a BMW full of drunken girls that drove up onto the sidewalk in the middle of the interview. The driver asked Lucky for directions to Old Town Pasadena and he responded, "First you need to get back on the street, lady!" And with his ability to make a good time of any situation, he grabbed my tape recorder and told the ladies that they were being recorded for an episode of "Girls Gone Wild."
Los Creepers formed in 1996 and have a long and sordid past with short-lived bands preceding them, five different bass players and a lengthy history, having been friends since their days at Franklin High School in Highland Park. It was originally Herman's and Alex's idea to form the band.
"We just wanted to start our own thing and have fun," Alex said.
They have a variety of musical tastes, although Alex admits, "We mostly sound very punk." They are influenced by everything from country to rockabilly to classic rock and, as Herman said half jokingly, "We even like the tunka tunka."
The band's local following is strong and has come with what seems like an almost effortless, stress-free attitude. "Being serious, and being mad and being worried, it just takes all the fun out of it," said Herman, "It's been done before."
"All our music is real spontaneous, it just happens and if it sound good," said Frank.
Their live shows are an exhibition of this carefree approach. "We see other bands and they're all serious, but when we mess up on stage, we know it, and we just kinda look at each other and smile," said Alex.
"Yeah, and say, "?Ey, pendejo!" adds Frank.
Although being an all Latino band has had some advantages -- "It gave us a real good name" -- said Herman with his classic joker's grin, they do not define themselves, much less their music, by this stamp. Alex laughs at how they've been put on the same bill with bands such as King Chango and Todos Tus Muertos, "Just because our name starts with 'Los'. But it's cool because then more people are exposed to our music."
However, the band is proud of being the only Mexican band from L.A. playing this year's Goldenvoice's Hootenanny show, the largest 2-day rockabilly/psychobilly/punk festival and car show in Southern California. "We're actually the only L.A. band," Alex said, remembering that all the others bands this year are from Orange County. "Yeah, it's a real honor," he said.
"Yeah, we'll be the only band backstage with the whole familia making our carne asada," joked Frank.
Playing on the same bill with the Stray Cats, this year's Hootenanny headliners on Day One of the festival, is no small feat. And when asked if in their wildest dreams they'd thought they'd ever play with them, Herman answered, "We always thought the Stray Cats would be playing with us!"
Even though the interview went into several unmentionable tangents, as Herman reminded me, "Talking to us is like talking to a monkey," it's hard to find a group of guys who could be more in touch with, and accepting, the reality of acquiring international success in a punk band. "We're just working class guys," said Lucky. "We all have day jobs."
"If it happens, it happens," said Frank about someday getting signed. "That was our goal when we were younger, but not anymore."
"We just love playing music, now," Alex said, "We're like family and this is when we have our fun."
So, there were no deep dark secrets revealed, no hidden angst, and according to even Alex, their music is "Excellent toiletry." But if you're looking for a fun, high energy, loud fast-paced good time, he said, "Get your asses out and see us. And buy us a beer!"
Los Creepers will be playing the Hootenanny 2003 on the first of two-day festival, Saturday, July 5th in Hidden Valley, CA.
Please visit http://www.LosCreepers.com for more information.
Lorena is currently looking forward to a week in Mexico City. She is also looking for a used Ibanez SG series bass guitar. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.